Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wow! It's been a while! / How to Run A Craft Show

It's been a few months to be exact. So what have I been up to? Lots of crafting, selling at lots of different events and lots on working my real job. I've even started running my own events! The first one took place last weekend at the Glass House in Pomona. More information will come on that tomorrow, I need to get the pics off my camera. The reason for my post tonight is because people have started asking me, "How do you run a craft show?" so I thought I would put some information online for people to access.

Please note that this is how I do it, it doesn't mean it's the right way, it's just the way that works for me. Also, notice that the title DOESN'T say "How to Run a SUCCESSFUL Craft Show". The success your show has will result in how much you put into it.

I recommend trying to run a few really small one's first (that's what I did) before you run a really big one. Try getting a couple (maybe 5) local people together at one person's house and have each person set up a table in the front/back yard. We had a meeting before hand to discuss ideas and show everyone our products, and that way we could all meet once before :). Everyone does their help with the promotion and on the day of you post signs (like a garage sale) on busy streets directing people to the house. The group I did this with did it a few times and we traded houses each time. They are a lot of fun and a great way to get your feet wet. Just remember, location is key. You don't want to make people drive too far out of the way to get to you.

For running a bigger craft show (some of these will work for smaller one's too):

1. Select your date and times. Make sure you are flexible on this, just in case it doesn't work for the venue.

2. Secure a venue. Same thing as the small one, location is key. You want somewhere easily accessible with LOTS of parking. Try local Churches/schools. A lot of time they will rent large rooms at a low cost. Use the connections that you have to help with this.

3. Figure out how many vendors you can fit and how big each person's space will be.

4. Figure out what your space fee is going to be. I have added a little extra to mine for "just in case" reasons and to help with future events.

5. Do you want the event to be juried or not? I suggest juried. It's how all of the big shows are done and that way you can limit the amount of one type of product you have. Ex: You don't want 10 jewelry vendors and only 2 with purses. You want a good mix of all the products you can offer.

6. Do you want to have a raffle? What about goody bags for the first so many people that come in the doors? What are you going to do for promotion to help people get there? Can people only sell items that are handmade or is mass produced OK too? Ask around in the Etsy forums for what people have/haven't liked about one's they have sold at.

6. Get your application together. I copied mine off of past events I have been apart of and added/subtracted as necessary to make it the way I wanted.

7. Start getting your vendors. I post in the Etsy forums, in my local Etsy team, on Craigslist and I find other local vendors by the "Shop Local" feature on Etsy. You can also go to other craft shows and talk to vendors that are set up there.

8. Go through all of the applications you have received and select the vendors you would like to have participate and contact all of them to let them know.

9. Make sure you stay in contact with your vendors for the duration of the time before the show. This is really important. How much would you trust someone that you never heard from and had given money to?

10. Work on all of your promotion/advertising.

11. Try going in the night before and marking off the space that each person is going to set up in. If not, go in super early the morning of the show.

12. Make sure everything you can is taken care of before your vendors start arriving so that all they have to do is load in and set up.

13. Have a great time! If you aren't having fun, you can't expect that everyone else will too. Remember to be prepared, it will cut back on your stress level and make things easier for you in the long run.

I think that covers everything. If there is something I forget, or realize as I go along I will leave it in a comment below.

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