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Topic: Fine Art & Craft Fairs....  (Read 1922 times)
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warmsoul
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« on: July 07, 2004 06:25:42 PM »

i'm wondering about any of you all out there who enter craft fairs. i've been looking into getting into that whole scene. In my research, there seems to be a very big distinction between local craft fairs and the "big" kind that cost hundreds to enter. I know that the competition is fierce and that one must be careful. Do any of you have any experience/suggestions as to getting my *stuff* together to start down  this road? Do any of you professionally copyright or patent your ideas to kepp others from stealing them? About how much startup did you need to get all that stuff going, like the tent, entry fees, tables and displays?

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Mr. Twigg
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« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2004 08:58:16 PM »

Hi Warmsoul
 Yes it can be well worth your while for the right show. Do your homework and research the promoters of the show you are considering. Take a look at your wares, are they topnotch? Is there a niche for your product? I sell rustic and fine rustic furniture at differing venues and do well. Sometimes I don't do as well as I thought I would but one has to be known and establish a good reputation. My thoughts on copyrights are; they are only as good as what you can pay a lawyer to protect. As for patents, most "craft" items are easily reproduced and actually may be exempt from legal protection. Again, how much can you pay a lawyer? As for startup costs, try a big wharehouse store for an "E-Z up" shelter, I got mine for $60.00, Salvation Army card tables were $5.00 each and the table cloths another few bucks. It depends on what you sell and how you want to display it. Use the proceeds from one show for the booth fees for the next untill you can book things a couple of months in advance. Success does not come easily but it will if you plan your work and then work your plan, (sounds cheesy) but hey, it's worked for me. Three years ago I had a few hand tools and no shop, no truck, and no job. Desperation is the true mother of invention. Today I have a modest shop, several thousand dollars of woodworking tools, a good (used) truck several consignment retailers and I do the show circuit in the summer. I believe it was Thomas Jefferson who said " Good luck is when hard work meets oppourtunity"  Best wishes !
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warmsoul
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« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2004 04:53:16 AM »

thanks, mr. twigg, did you start off at small shows and work your way up into the larger ones or did you save up until you could enter one really large one and catapult it from there? Did you start out taking credit cards? or did you just deal with cash and checks until you could get further and take more methods of payment?
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Mr. Twigg
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« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2004 09:42:25 AM »

Hello again warmsoul, Yeah I started out doing every rinky-dink craft show I could find, even tried "flea markets" (Buyers there are too cheap!) I even borrowed a few power tools from my father in law to make assembly a bit easier. I accepted checks with phone numbers and asked for ID too. (Hey the stores do it.) Have'nt taken a bad check yet. I want to take credit cards but to do that at shows a merchant account is needed. I accept cards on my website via Paypal. Basically I "Bootstrapped" my whole busisness building it from practally nothing. There is no "Catapulting" into big shows. I'd roll profits from one show into the booth fees and anything else I needed for the next. When starting from nothing it's the only way to go. Build your busisness a little at a time. This eases your financial risk too. Why invest a lot of money in something you don't enjoy? That last statement sums it up for me, if you are'nt having fun, why bother ?
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