You heard about a great craft show in your town that you want to attend. What do you do next? The following steps apply for local shows as well as out of town shows.
First, contact the host/promoter and request an application for a booth. Be sure you ask how much the booth will cost and what is provided with that fee. For some small, local shows, you won’t have to fill out an application, but for some of the bigger ones, you’ll not only have the application, but you’ll also have to provide a sample of your product for the hosts to assess in terms of sellability.
Believe it or not, for some shows, HOW you fill out your application means just as much as what you are selling. Take note of the following suggestions for your craft show application:
• Read all of the fine print before starting.
• Complete the application form in its entirety. For very popular shows, promoters use a simple rule to make the first cuts from possible vendors: any omitted information automatically disqualifies the application.
• Be sure to meet all deadlines.
• Some shows require applications more than a year in advance; other shows ask for applications only a few months in advance. Know what requirements the shows of your choice ask for.
• If at all possible, type up your applications. If this is not possible, be sure that the application is very clear and readable.
• If you need special arrangements, be sure to negotiate this upfront. Do you need electricity or special lighting or special access? Do you prefer to have a particular location or table arrangement? Will your displays conform to the show’s expectations, requirements and limitations?
• If you will be doing demonstrations, will all your equipment and tools meet show requirements or not? Do you need to be in a corner?
• Consider whether or not this is a juried show? A juried show is one that will have items judged in terms of their uniqueness and quality. Sometimes, juried shows will charge a fee of $5 to $50 for this service or requirement.
• Are there additional costs besides the booth rental, such as required advertising expenses, parking fees, electricity fees, tables and chairs, insurance requirements, and the like? This can be important in terms of budgeting.
• Find out if there are there any restrictions as to the type of merchandise allowed, such as a requirement that all merchandise be hand-crafted by the artist.
• Some craft shows provide promotional items to their exhibitors including brochures and/or postcards. This can be a HUGE benefit to you.
• A timetable is very important to know prior to showing up at the event site. Know what time you can begin setting up your booth when you have to be ready and fully set up in your booth, and what time you can take down your booth.
• If you must provide slides or pictures to the event promoter, be sure each one is clearly labeled and numbered. It should be obvious to anyone not familiar with you, your slides and your work, which way is up, so to speak.
After you fill out your application, fair promoters may ask for a deposit on your booth. If you are approved, the deposit will be applied to your booth rental. If you are not approved, the deposit will be refunded. Generally, the remainder of the fee will be due upon your acceptance into the show.
Include this deposit with your application. Deposits are usually accepted in the form of a check or money order. DO NOT SEND CASH! Too many things can happen with cold, hard, green stuff. Have a record of what you’ve paid and when you’ve paid it.
You will need to think about where you will stay while at the show. Many craft shows are multiple day events. Even if they aren’t, they usually start early, so it’s a good idea to get to the location a day ahead of time to allow yourself the freedom to take your time getting set up.
Call for hotels and secure the best rate you can. Many professional crafters have their own recreational vehicles that provide lodging as well as storage for your product and supplies.
You will need to make sure you have enough inventory on hand for the show. We’ll cover this subject specifically in a separate chapter, but it’s important to have enough products to sell.
Plan for your booth display and have all items ready for transport. It might help you to draw out how you want your booth to look and then plan way ahead of time to make sure you have what it takes to make that vision become reality. Do a dress rehearsal if you have to.
It might help to devise a checklist for you to refer to often when planning to attend a craft show. On your checklist, detail what needs to be accomplished and when it will need to be completed. Keep it at hand at all times. Pre-planning is a must to insure less stressful and more productive ventures!
Once you get to the show, you’ll need to check in with the promoter and begin setting up your space. This is where we feel the need to tell you not only how to design your booth space, but how to be a good neighbor at the show as well.
We hope you enjoy this full craft fair guide to sell your crafts at craft fairs, this is the Part Six, find the full parts here: