Craft Shows

To Charge, or Not to Charge!

That is a great question.

Many vendors in the past have always debated the need for credit card processing for art & craft shows.  For many years it was such a challenge to find easy to use and affordable processing.  You had to find a “vendor” card processing company that offered a wireless or cell phone authorization process.  Usually you also needed the dreaded “knucklebuster” to imprint the cards.  If you had all of this you paid a fairly hefty monthly or annual fee and then had a big processing fee with every purchase.  HASSLE!
Fortunately for us, the credit card companies and processing companies finally got “smart”.  Now all the old fashioned hassle is gone and cards are easily charged on your “smart” phone with a super fast and easy swipe of the card.  And a bonus – usually the processing company will give you the card swiper for FREE.  Annual fees or monthly fees are gone or incredibly affordable and NO MORE KNUCKLEBUSTERS!
So now the question of “To Charge or Not to Charge” has an easy answer – YES!    
Yes, we do accept all major credit cards!
If you do art & craft shows and haven’t jumped on board the credit card train, here are a few easy processing companies that can get you started.
 Square Up
 
PayPal
 
Intuit
 
Propay

 

How to Find your Show!

In past blogs we have mentioned displays and ideas, set up tips, selling tips and marketing ideas, but we haven’t actually done a list of places to find shows.  So this month I am compiling a list of websites that I frequently use to find shows in Florida.  Hopefully some of these sites will help you find shows in your area.  Please feel free to add any other sites you think of in the comments section.

 

www.artfestival.com

 www.festivalnet.com

www.sunshineartist.com

www.zapplication.org

 www.tnteventsinc.com

 www.bluartfestivals.com

Another great way to find shows in your area is to search the Chamber of Commerce and City websites for local towns/cities and check their event calendars.  Many times I found events in areas I wanted to sell in that haven’t been posted on any of the larger festival websites.  And then there is always my old faithful “google” search.  I just search places I want to go with festivals or craft shows and usually find a few local events that way as well.

Hope some of these websites work for you and see you at the next show!

 

Happy Show Season!!!

Cheri @ GypSea Blue

 



 

 “Do a Craft Show without Breaking the Bank 

 

Straight from the Etsy Blog! By pawandclawdesigns, Published: March 3, 2008

Almost every crafter or artist has toyed with the idea of doing a craft show or market. However, there’s always that lingering question you have to ask yourself: “Will it be worth it, financially?”
You might fear that you’ll buy all the booth displays, pack up all your work, travel several hours, get a motel and pay a huge booth fee, only to have poor or even nonexistent sales. You’ll end up with less money than when you began.
I’m here to tell you: do not fear! I began selling at a large weekly event in 2006, and it was surprisingly affordable for me to get a booth set up for under $200, and to secure a booth for as little as $10 per day. I quite often make at least $100, get many leads for custom orders, and hand out about a thousand business cards per season with minimal effort.
Below are a few of the things I’ve learned, from experience, and some great advice from other Etsians.
Start Planning Now
Start now, so you won’t feel rushed. Keep your eyes open for display ideas year round, even if you only sell at shows during the summer. Stash them in your basement until it’s time to use them.
Browse the Clearance Section/Yard Sales/Trash
I found an EZ-UP style tent for $30 in the clearance section of a sporting goods store. As a bonus, it’s pale beige, with green edging, which makes me easy to find in a sea of bright blue and white. If a potential buyer says “I’ll stop back later,” I can say, “Look for the beige tent!”
I also found cheap cloth clamps for my table, and a cooler to hold my lunch. I picked up light-weight folding tables for $12 dollars each in the hardware section of that store-that-must-not-be-named, and while I was there, I picked up four mesh trash cans to hang my earrings on, and a few cans of black spray paint for my “found” displays.
Next, I hit the local church rummage sales and thrift shops and got ten yards each of black and silver crushed velveteen to cover my tables for only a dollar. I also picked up a few cup holders and a jewelry display, which cost me a mere fifty cents each. Yes, my display d├ęcor was less than three bucks!
I also picked up a few large picture frames at the local dump, which I stapled plastic screen into to hang the earrings from as well. Finally, I stopped by the local liquidation store and talked to the manager. I asked her to please save the displays that they were going to thrown away when they became empty. (The jewelry they get comes with new displays each time.) I was able to pick up level T-Bars and a bracelet stand for NOTHING! I was also given a few light weight shirt racks and towel displays, which I gave to fellow craft show vendors, in exchange for them watching my booth when, um, nature called.
 
Check Out Weekday Shows
If you don’t work a regular “day job,” you might be able to find lower priced shows that take place during the weekdays. Some of the shows in my area are as low as $20 per day, compared to $250 or more for a Saturday show. Sure, the traffic will be less, but for the price, you can still move quite a bit of product and hand out lots of business cards.
Sell Local
Some of the major expenses of selling at shows are travel, food and lodging. By selling local, you can avoid all these expenses. Another benefit? Many shows organizers will allow you to set up the day before a show. (Do this only if the show space is secure. An hour or so of time saved in the early morning is not worth losing a large amount of inventory to theft.)
Pack your own food and drink; four dollar bottled water will eat up your budget quickly.
Team Up
Some shows will allow booths to be shared by two vendors. The biggest advantage in this is double the manpower for half the price, as you split your booth and travel costs. (Just make sure your items work well together.) For example, your handmade evening bags would work very well with your pal’s handmade crystal jewelry, and this could help increase both your sales. However, baby “burp” cloths, with cute hand-sewn animal embroidery, not so much. Pair these with your sister’s knitted baby hats and booties.
Be Flexible
A lot of times, 20-30 minutes after a show starts, the organizers will start selling off the unsold or “no-show” spots. If they show picks up late, this might be a great chance to get a prime spot. If your booth happens to be in the middle of a mud puddle, now is a GREAT time to take advantage of an abandoned space closer to the “action.”
Have Fun
Above all, make sure you have fun. No matter how much planning you do, things will very often not go as planned. Embrace the excitement, and sometimes, the chaos. Sure, you may have had a different plan in your trial run at home, but if the wind is blowing your displays down, you’ll have to change your plans.
Above all, be enthusiastic about your work. Confidence in your work will make a much better impression than a picture perfect display. When you count your money at the end of a day at a show, you can be that much happier that getting there didn’t cost an arm and a leg.

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Happy Holidays everyone!

 Here is the link if you want to read more about the post.

http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2008/penny-wise-product-pushing-do-a-craft-show-without-breaking/

By pawandclawdesigns, Published: March 3, 2008

 

 

 


 


 

 

Getting Ready for Fall Craft Show Season


Now that summer is here it’s time to start thinking about the Fall!  Fall Show Season that it.  Application deadlines are looming in the near future and now is that time to plan and budget for a successful fall season.
For those of us who do shows on a regular basis, I am sure you have a routine and order to your application process.  But for any of the first timers out there, here is a simple and easy way to get started this fall.
First – choose your shows carefully.  If you haven’t been to a show and know the crowd, maybe it’s best to start with a smaller, local show.  I would suggest an entry fee under $50 to $60 until you are positive it will be a good show for you.  And for newbies, I suggest staying away from juried shows until you know your booth is great enough to pass a few hard critics you might run into.  Remember, you need to make a profit after all the entry expenses, so starting small is best.
Next step is to request or download the entry form/application.  Some shows require you register/apply online, but many of them still use the good old fashion USPS!  Some shows I have applied to have filled up very early, so the sooner the better for applications.  If you really want to do a show but the deadline has already passed, I would say call the contact and ask about a waiting list.  But, be prepared to have a location that is may not be ideal.
When filling out your application be sure to print clearly and be very specific when describing your product; some shows limit the number of vendors per category, so make your descriptions fantastic!  Be sure to read all of the rules for the show. Some rules make catch you off guard and might change your mind about participating. Be sure to check on things like required insurance, tax rules and regulations, show set up times, etc….  And finally, I usually keep a copy of these rules in a binder with my application (and take to the show) in case I need to reference them later.
Be sure if you are sending a cd or pictures with your application that you read the required instructions for the show and don’t send something you may need back in the future.  Not all shows return your entry pictures or cd’s.  Lastly, when you send in your check and application always include a business card with the application. Also, I always print out the envelope with my printer. It just looks more professional than a written envelope.
I hope some of these tips help you get ready for a Fantastic Fall Season!





5 comments:

  1. I never thought of #3, and #1 I did my first show and brought WAY too much stuff(so I thought) You can never have too much stuff. Everyone wanted to see what else I had that wasn't out and that alone brought folks to my booth. Thank you for posting. Very helpful!

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  2. anxious to get into the craft show circuit- my crafts are geared towards the holidays so i am wondering if i should even try to get into anything this summer......or if it's even too late to sign up! any comments??? :) trish

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    1. Trish - Good summer shows are a bit harder to do and get into now; but in the fall, it is perfect for Holiday themed items. I would stock up and go for it in the fall. Best of Luck!~

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  3. Thanks for the great tips. Does anyone have a favorite show they'd recommend? I've taken the last 2 years off from shows and I'm thinking about trying some new ones this fall, and I'd love some feedback from fellow artists who've done them.

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