Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How To Plan Your Own Craft Fair

Today we have a guest post from one of the co-leaders of the team, Jess from Knot by Gran'ma who is currently planning not one but TWO local craft fairs in the Hudson Valley.

This year I have been pretty fortunate to start wearing another hat in the fine arts and craft fair (and even non-arts) world. My opportunity to organize shows and events seems to be snowballing into something that is just about a part time job. Needless to say, I drink quite a bit of coffee these days.

I’m sure there are books out there for putting together arts and craft shows, but I’ve been learning as I go. It’s been a wonderful learning experience and is also helping my business grow. I’m able to connect more with other artists and shoppers, and see what other people are looking for in craft shows. There’s opportunities to network at every step of the process. I get to implement others’ “show wish list” into a fair. As an artists, I remember shows that were set up with both the artists and buyers in mind, so getting that information as feedback from everyone is really important to throwing a great show.

Growing your contacts list for a show is also a wonderful tool in putting together an art or craft fair. Your show will only be as strong as your vendors. If you have top notch artisans selling their pieces, you will draw in happy buyers. I’ve been using an email newsletter list that artists and other types of vendors can sign up for. This enables me to easily let everyone know that I have a show coming up in the future and am looking for vendors whenever an opportunity may arise. I like to keep this separate from a buyers’ list, which I use my own business lists , which I use to let my buyers know about shows.

The hardest part (for me) is the PR end of things. I tend to have no budget (which hopefully won’t be an issue in the near future). The trick is finding places you can get your show’s call for vendors and actual show date up and available to the public. This is also a great list to grow… places to add your press releases, flyers, or event to calendars. It’s imperative that people can find you to sell and to shop. Here’s an example of the flyer for the next show that I have in planning. All of the information for both groups is included on this particular flyer. I like to use these kinds of flyers for online posting and getting into public places that give you permission to hang them.

In the meanwhile, you’ll find yourself making list after list after list of things to do, contacting your vendors, setting up spaces, and pulling all of the information together. You want to know exactly what you’re going to do on the day of the show, keeping your stress minimal. This was all very overwhelming at first, but now that I’ve got a few shows under my belt, I feel more confident with each one I do. It’s also over before you know it, and you can go home to relax.

Jess from Knot by Gran'ma 

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