Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Dos and Don'ts of Craft Shows

After four straight weekends of doing craft shows, it's nice to finally have a break. No waking up early to rush across town. No acrobatic feats of assembling my display, followed by frantic wheeling and dealing (on a good day), or (on a bad one) long stretches of sitting alone amidst my stuff. I can eat when I want, pee when I want, and my cheeks don't hurt from smiling all day. It was fun, for the most part. I made a lot of new contacts and got valuable feedback. I took advantage of the time I had with my stuff to draw up some new designs and think about new directions I want to take kokoleo. Also, just for fun, I wrote up some dos and don'ts of craft shows based on things I did or didn't do right and things I saw others doing. Feel free to add your own dos and don'ts in the comments section. Who knows? Maybe we'll help some crafty newbie's first show go a little more smoothly.


The Dos and Don'ts of Craft Shows

In the weeks and days before the show:

  • Do help promote the event. Advertise it on your blog, your website, print out cards to hand to people, post about it on message boards, etc.
  • Don’t rely on the organizer to bring the crowd.

  • Do pack your items so that they can be set up quickly.
  • Don’t forget to pack a box of the essentials: tape, a sewing kit (or whatever your craft requires), scissors, markers and pens, price tags, food, water, phone, camera, $1 bills.

  • Do pack your car, get gas, and print out MapQuest (Google Maps, etc.) directions ahead of time.
  • Don’t leave a light on in your car overnight night so that your battery is dead in the morning.


The day of the show:

  • Do get there on time, or early if you volunteered to help set up.
  • Don’t arrive a half-hour before the doors open.

  • Do set up right away.
  • Don’t bug the organizer with your drama or problems (unless it’s something serious).

  • Do introduce yourself to your neighbor.
  • Don’t be passive-aggressive about marking your territory – you’ll be sitting next to this person for the next few hours.

  • Do keep your stuff within the space allotted.
  • Don’t make your display all wobbly and precarious.

  • Do help your neighbor if he or she needs it.
  • Don’t try to set up a tent all by yourself.

  • Do eat something.
  • Don’t eat stinky tuna fish sandwiches or fast food.

  • Do invite your friends and family.
  • Don’t let them hang out with you too long if they’re not there to help.

  • Do check out other people’s work when you get a chance, but scoot out of the way when real customers arrive. Even better, talk about how awesome their stuff is to the potential customer.
  • Don’t sit in the same place the whole time talking only to people who come to you and only talking about how awesome you are.

  • Do keep it on the down low if you’re raking in the dough.
  • Don’t bitch about it loudly if you’re not.

  • Do offer to trade with vendors who seem to like your stuff (if you like their stuff too).
  • Don’t hold it against them if they say no thank you (and don’t think it’s because your stuff sucks and you’re a loser.)

  • Do spend the cash, if you have it, on someone’s work you really like – it may be gone soon.
  • Don’t forget to get business cards of shops/people you want to remember.

  • Do give fellow crafters and loyal customers a discount.
  • Don’t shout it from the rooftops in front of those paying full price.

  • Do take pictures if that’s something you like to do. Later they can help drum up interest in the event and promote fellow crafters.
  • Don’t forget to ask first. Some people hate getting their picture taken. But some love it. Also, make sure to tell them how you’ll be using the pictures – on your blog, website, on Flickr, etc. so they can see them if they want to.

  • Do continue to spruce up your display throughout the event. Fill in the holes left by things that have sold.
  • Don’t start taking your booth apart before closing. Resist the urge.

  • Do dismantle quickly at closing.
  • Don’t dawdle or make anyone wait for you to leave.

  • Do offer to help other people, if you can.
  • Don’t expect people to help you, but take them up if they offer.

  • Do thank the organizer on the way out if you get a chance.
  • Don't leave anything behind. Don't pack your keys away with your products. Don't leave a light on in your car and make your battery die. Just get in your car and go! You've had a long day.

4 comments:

sugarcreekstuff said...

Great do's and don'ts. I'll add one. If you admire another vendors sign, display, etc.. tell them how much you like it and then ask politely if you can steal their idea, then tweak it enough so it isn't exactly the same. I got a great sign idea this way and then another vendor liked mine and asked to steal my sign idea.

KB said...

The camaraderie among vendors is my favorite part. Michelle Caplan and Christine of Twospace told me all about Propay and helped get me over my fear of taking credit cards. Then, at the next show I did, my vendor neighbor asked how to take credit cards and I told her everything I had just learned the week before.

I'm sure, however, that there are some people out there who don't take too kindly to helping out their "competition". Steer clear of those.

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