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« on: July 30, 2009 11:47:34 AM »

Hi,  I can't believe it, but I've been accepted in a juried craft show.  My space is 10 X 10 and may include a tent with electricity provided.  This is my first craft show, so any ideas or tips would be appreciated.  I've got lots of work to do.  The show is Sept 11 (evening) and 12 (all day).  The show is part of a total celebration thingy with a BBQ cook-off, bands, kid activities.  My family is helping me get ready.

How much inventory do you think I should have?  Do you think Christmas or Halloween items would be good in September?  Any tips for an attractive set-up?  I may have a show special, of some sort.  This may sound corny, but would free gift wrapping be a good idea?  I'm thinking of a combo of "nice" things that are sorta pricey and then some more regular things.  I don't really have a specialty, but lately I've been working more with wire bracelets.  I like to use semi-precious stones and also, glass pearls.  I tend to lean towards earthy type tones or carnelian colors.  I try to stretch out to other colors.  (Recently, I made a yellow/orange bracelet and necklace.)  Some of my bracelets are rather time-consuming, so I may also promote special orders.

I'm thinking about how much to spend to get ready.  I'm going in a few min to talk with my local bead store ladies for their thoughts.

thanks.  Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.  My daughter is supposed to help me learn how to post photos.

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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2009 08:16:11 PM »

It doesn't look like anyone has answered you - that sucks! A juried show for your first one? That's brave! I've been doing shows for years (off & on) and just yesterday was accepted for a juried show!
There is a section here in the community that discusses shows do's and don'ts, don't recall the exact name of the thread but it shouldn't be too hard to find. Look under the heading Crafty Business.

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« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2009 09:30:28 AM »

thanks.  I remember seeing something on here, but didn't know where.

Brave - well, maybe it's crazy!  It's a local show and I knew it was a long shot, but wow!  I"m thinking about displays.  I don't have much time to get ready.


Diane B.
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« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2009 10:31:22 AM »

First, congrats!

There's a bunch of ideas for displays, etc., and for craft shows in general on this page of my site if you want to check it out:
And this page covers doing crafts as a "business" which you might also be interested in:
(My site is primarily about polymer clay but the info on those particular pages would be relevant for most any art/craft.)

Most of the suggestions I'd have would be on those pages, but:

Do you think Christmas or Halloween items would be good in September?

They could be okay by September but don't think I'd do them in the summer, unless perhaps you wanted to have a notebook containing photos of the kinds of Christmas and Halloween things you do and hand out contact cards to anyone interested in knowing where you'll be selling closer to those times or who wanted to order something directly from you (at the show, or later).  You should have cards available at the level of show you're doing anyway, and/or at least labels with that info on bags you give with your items.
This may sound corny, but would free gift wrapping be a good idea?

I'd worry about that taking too much time and space unless you had some elves in the back working on it.  For smaller items, a nice drawstring bag or other "nice" containers are good especially for "higher" end items.  You could give those away (perhaps with any items exceeding a certain price), or you could have them available for an extra charge.  There should be more on those things on the pages above.

I'm thinking of a combo of "nice" things that are sorta pricey and then some more regular things

That can be tricky if you're doing higher-end items.  If the show is mainly oriented toward "art" items rather than craft items, then you may not want to come across as someone in the "craft" crowd... stupid, but people do judge by these things and the prices they pay will reflect that.  You could handle the "regular" things in a particular way though, so as to separate those from the "nicer" things or just not to mix in really small-price items unless they're separated in a bowl or something or are elements of the larger items that people could buy and use however they wanted.

I may have a show special, of some sort.

Not sure what you mean by that... could you elaborate more?

Good luck!

Diane B.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2009 10:33:22 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2009 11:18:06 AM »

Diane,  thanks for the great link and ideas.  I've read part of it, but will go back to the glassattic site.

Show special:  I mean something like 10 or 20% off purchase of something.  OR  Discount on special order, day of show.  It seems like I've seen something like show specials at other craft shows. (and boat shows)  Today's Show Special: Huh?

I'm not sure, but I'm just churning (brainstorming) around some ideas.

I went to a yard sale today and bought some sort of stand.  I think it might have been a computer stand part or maybe a cassette/dvd stand, but anyway, it works great as a jewelry display item.

Just a bit about my upcoming show:  20 crafters were accepted in the show.  This is one part of a much larger event:  national BBQ cook-off, kids entertainment area, live music, city downtown celebration on Friday evening and Saturday, and general social event.  This event has been going on for 10 yrs or more and attracts lots of people.  The organizer told me that there will be either 2-3 other jewelry booths, in addition to other types of crafts.  In the past, the local university craft center is there, along with jewerly, clay, wood and others.

thanks.  I'm glad to have located this section of crafters, as adviced on the jewelry section.

Where did I put my pliers this time???
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« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2009 08:21:01 PM »

Congrats on your first show!!!

RE: gift wrapping - it definitely takes too long and typically you will not have room for it.  Trust me, 10x10 fills up really fast.  Definitely the idea of little organza bags or something like that.  You can get them for very little money on e-bay.  You have a bit of time, so you might want to think about some sort of striking shopping bag, to attract other customers to your booth - especially if you have a business name and/or logo.  Check Nashville Wraps ( http://www.nashvillewraps.com/ ) for cute bags and custom imprinting.  If you cannot afford the imprinting (as I haven't been able to yet), you can print your information on large mailing labels and stick them to the bags.

Branding is important - you might want to invest in a banner, business cards, bags etc with a common theme including your company name - this will allow you to create a recognizable brand over time.  A logo is not strictly necessary, but is very helpful.  My jewelry company does not have a logo, but the design and font for the company name are distinctive. (I'd show you, but right now I am selling locally only, no etsy yet, so no pics of the name.  Cheesy )

Show special - yes that is a common practice,  but I've never felt a need to do it.  If you have a compelling enough booth, the customers will come.  I did do a drawing for a pair of earrings one show, but that's it.  If you really want to do a show special, I'd suggest something that offers some sort of immediate benefit, as people are typically more interested in a benefit they can experience now, rather than, say, waiting for a special order.  You could offer a small trinket with a purchase of a certain dollar amount?  I don't know what kind of jewelry you are making - what would coordinate with your jewelry?  A small brooch?  A keychain?  Maybe a better quality of gift bag - a velvet-type one with a purchase of at least $?

RE: mix of types of items.  There's an old saying "Begin as you mean to go on" - if you are trying to develop a high-quality brand, you don't want it diluted with lower quality items.  You may have fewer sales, if you have only high-quality items, but look at this show as a marketing opportunity in addition to a sales opportunity.  If your customers expect high-quality from you, they will be willing to pay the price for it.

I have found at art shows that seasonal items do not sell so well.  Save the Christmas items for Holiday shows and bazaars.  Keep in mind the type of show you will be at. 

Display - if you have a Michael's near you, in their jewelry section they actually have a couple types of standing necklace displays for a fairly good price.  These stands make a HUGE difference in the sale of your items.  You can also check the following for display items:
http://www.portlandstorefixtures.com/ (they sometimes have deals on used items)

Yes, displays are expensive.  But they are worth it.  I got a foot display a few months ago, and putting anklets on it has increased my sale of anklets dramatically.

Cover your tables with cloth, but make sure it is a solid color cloth.  I've used white black and royal blue at different shows.  Consistency is important - one color for all tables.  Displays do not have to be all the same color, but looks better if they are.  Contrast between display and cloths are a good idea (i.e.: white displays with black cloths, gray displays with blue cloth, etc.)

Earrings - an easy way to display earrings is to make a wooden frame (mine is 12"x12") then attach window screen.  You can then hang the pairs of earrings through the mesh.

Components - if you are using gemstones, precious metals, etc. - MAKE SURE to state that on your tags/packaging.  Most people assume you are making costume jewelry rather than semi-precious unless you tell them.
Amount of inventory is a harder question - are you going to set up on etsy?  If so you can just put your excess inventory on there.  Also, if you plan to do other shows, it will not hurt to have excess.  However, be very careful not to overcrowd your booth.  This is a very easy mistake to make - trust me.  I know for my first few shows, I was SO excited to be participating and to share with everyone the beautiful stuff I had made, I put out probably 3x what I should have.  So, what I would suggest is take a bunch of stuff, and put out just enough to make it look classy and not overcrowded - think jewelry store window display.

Ok...have I bored you yet? 

Good luck!

Diane B.
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« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2009 10:23:23 AM »

Wow, great info from spotnik.  I'd just add one thing about the last thing she said... i.e., don't overcrowd your table, but DO keep extras under the table to replace things as they're sold in case sales really pick up!

Diane B.

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(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
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