|Options: Printable view |
Artist and Crafter Responses to 'How to spot retail' and 'How to advertise better'. Part 1/3
By Louis Marquette
- a CraftLister.com Craft Expert about page personal website
based on 8 ratings
Viewed 6860 times
Printed 3 times
Artists & Crafters, PLEASE TAKE 1 MINUTE TO QUICKLY REPLY NOW WITH YOUR IDEAS ON: event advertising, both the promoter's best options and things you can do to help, and your ideas on removing retail from juried events.
Event Advertising is critical for vendors' success. Most promoters at least try and so most failures are due to inexperience, advertising nievete, lack of funds to do more, and/or poor fund placement - Not will-full neglect to advertise. As such, knowledge of where to spend dollars first, where to not consider unless you are high up on the money hill, and where to find FREE advertising opportunities is CRITICAL.
Few promoters have answered my pleas for advertising tips to share, and so I am looking for YOU, vendors, to tell me what YOU have gleamed from talking with promoters over the years as far as what advertising methods work best, not at all, etc. The gist of their advice is: Street signs early and plentifully, as these are the best drawers; mailings to past visitor list w/ coupons; handouts for vendors at other shows w/ coupons; newspaper ads the 2 weeks before w/ coupons; your idea here!
Vendors have already told me they post newspaper ads for events they will be doing, they mail to their own mailing list a quarterly show list and even offer prior customer special deals and at-show coupons. What else can vendors do? Any improvements to these mentioned methods?
Retail at Juried Shows is a still growing and already pandemic problem. All but the top 10% of shows have it in some form today. Besides the face that there are so many more sources and products available for 'crafters' to find to resell from, the quality and appearance of import retail items has been increasing.
I have asked before for tips on identifying non-hand-made products in your category, PLEASE send them to me NOW! Reply by email, right this second! Not a single person replied to my prior requests. WHY? Is this not seen as critical? Promoters will be jurying YOUR shows for this year soon and I'd like this to get into their hands. I will be preparing a list of categories, with identification techniques for each to share with all promoters. IF YOU DO NOT WANT PROMOTERS LETTING IN CHINA MADE POTTERY, JEWELRY, WOOD, ETC. UNKNOWINGLY THAN YOU HAD BEST HELP ME GIVE THEM THE INFO THEY NEED TO MAKE THE DECISIONS YOU WANT THEM TO MAKE AND THAT THEY TRY AND STRUGGLE TO MAKE CORRECTLY. Import companies and sending their 'crafter' clients instructions on how to get past jurying. Instructions are needed for our juries now!
Other advice for promoters includes assigning crafters in each category to go around before the show starts to identify retail. I say do not wait for a promoter to ask you - Walk around after you setup with pen and paper and jot down all spot numbers you know or suspect of retail and for each record what items or all, your confidence level in your call, brief reasons, things the promoter can look for, etc. Ask the promoter to look into those vendors and their questionable items before the doors open to the public. Remind them why it is in THEIR best interest!
Promotion: radio spots targeted at the demographic of attendees is a huge bonus. And it doesn't need to be expensive. You can call and get time on almost any morning radio show if you're willing to comp a few tickets, or can get vendors to create a giveaway basket. Free publicity for just the hassle of getting up early.
Regarding retail: It's pretty easy to tell, in the soap business, which are handcrafters and which are mass manufacturing. I've been to shows where they promised I'd be the only soap vendor, only to be put across the hall from someone like Lush or Bath and Body. When promoters make a promise like that, and then so blatantly break their word, there's no point in complaining, you just cross any event from those promoters of the list of possibilities.
I've also found that the small religious affiliated shows will almost always be chock-full of imports in jewelry, and other mass manufacture items. I'm going to assume that smaller shows have more trouble filling their spots, or that they just don't care.
I've yet to see a real juried show where there were imports, but I've seen a fair amount of \"juried\" shows where the jury fee was really the fee to get a booth. How crafters can tell the difference without going to the trouble of setting up at a show, that I don't know.
The easiest way for a juried event to locate and deal with vendors selling retail items, would be to ask a trusted return vendor to take a walk around. Most true crafters can recognize a handmade product from a retail, manufactured product from a mile away.
Even an organizer can do this fairly easily. Walk around, look at the tables, are there catalogs? It is simple to tell a catalog made by a crafter themselves, as opposed to a catalog that has been printed professionally.
In response to your questions regarding promoter advertising, the most efficient advertising I have seen is done by Country Folk Art. They advertise on TV during \"Good Morning, America\" and \"Regis and Kelly Live\". They run these adds often. Let me tell you, these adds jump right out at you because it is extremely rare to see a craft show advertised on TV. This seems to have been very effective as I have had a number of my husband's male co-workers ask me if I would be at the show at the fairgrounds that they just saw on TV. I know this takes money, but it seems to work for them. The key, in my opinion, it getting those adds on when your prime targets are sitting around having their morning coffee watching TV.
I recently served on the jury of a very large event in my area. I can't tell you how I spot b/s in my area because no one makes what I do. But jewelry is another story. We have two (2) jurors who are jewelers. They are very familiar with many websites selling jewelry wholesale and have many, many catalogues. I could never tell which jewelry was b/s, unless the price is crazy. On one occassion, the price of this person's jewelry kind of gave me a warning signal. The stuff was way, way, underpriced. It ended up to not be b/s, but I question any product that is priced so low that they could not possibly make a profit. Members of the jury, myself included, will be checking each and every booth to make us as sure as we can reasonably be that b/s is not being displayed.
Re: show advertising. Beside all the ususal newspaper, lawn signs, etc, people (customers) will pick-up and take home with them anything that looks interesting including small, almost postcard sized ads off other Shows in the area.
ou design your ad so that 4 of them fit onto an 8 1/2\" x 11\" sheet of WHITE paper, make a 'Master Copy', then take it to Office Max/Depot and copy it onto COLORED paper for @$0.07c/Copy. Then use their paper cutter. You get FOUR 4 1/4\" x 5 1/2\" handouts for every copy you make.
Re non-handmade stuff. I've seen first hand that the best way is to asssemble before the show @2crafters from each category that need professional scrutiny. To avoid problems, this MUST be noted on the original application so that there are no surprises or 'we-gotcha's' that could be ugly at the show.
event promoters who do not want retail in the arts and crafts area should specify: No mass produced items, No imports, Items must be unique and made by the person who is running the booth.
There must be someone who checks the booths at the fair and ejects those who are in violations of the rules. At the fair I attended last weekend, I saw vendors taking mass-produced items from imported boxes and had no qualms about it. They didn\\'t hide the boxes at all. The problem is promoters do not enforce the rules.
The last show I did, this past weekend, was put on by a promoter who KNOWS how to advertise and gets the people to her shows in large numbers! She uses ALL of the booth fees for a show, about $15,000 for the last one, and applies it to advertising. TV, radio, newspapers and signs. Her profit is the door, so it behooves her to bring in the people. All of us profit that way!! I will always do her shows because I make GOOD money at them. She also juries and allows NO manufactured items. She chooses artists and crafters carefully and closes categories before there is a glut of any one product type. Her name is Noreen of Creative Crafters Showcase out of Monument, CO. She could teach others how to do it right!
I have had a young man and woman who were in my craft show last year who kept telling me that they were crafters, but I have my doubts. They had hundreds of T-shirts and sweat shirts with pictures and logos on them that one would only see in shops or retail stores; even though they told me that they made them in the basement of their apartment complex on a silk screen machine. Somehow this seems a bit more production automated than hand made crafts which is what we ask for. So, I will not be asking them back again.
I was at one show where they said they advertised in the weekender of the Cinti Enquirer and only 6 people came through the door all day
One of the most overlooked FREE ways to advertise an event is to issue a press release! These are news worthy tidbits that most newspapers will print when they need fill material. It won't work everytime, but when it does it is free. Knowing who to talk to always helps. It also helps when the event is community oriented. Invite the local police department DARE unit (anti drug unit) or MADD or the fire department to give fire prevention demonstrations. This usually will give your event the opportunity to be included in the newspaper, radio and TV stations community calendar. Remember, if they don't know about it, they can't print it or announce it.
Here's some more advise, such as it is. When doing billboards, keep it simple. The event name , dates, and times have to be big enough to read FAST!!! The cute eye catching picture is great but not as important. One of our local events recently spent thousands of dollars on billboards but you couldn't tell what the event was or where it was or even when because the billboard was so vague. The same event drew 7000 people last year in the rain and only had maybe 500 this year. What a waste! If you have a design people associate with your event, stick with it! Don't try to re-invent the wheel.
When you send your vendor packets out, send each vendor flyers to pass out at the events they attend leading up to your event. Other than printing, this is relatively cheap and covers a wide base. It also hits your target market. This one helps both you and your vendors.
I have mostly satisfied with the advertisements here but still it surprises me that more promotors do not list the shows in free areas such as weekend announcements for TV news shows, local small newspapers - not just those in the neighborhood, free radio announcements (use the call in features)
Removing retail from shows is not going to be easy, but one suggestion is to have promotors provide specific areas for true art and craft and a second area for retail/ embellished items. One successful show I went to had the art and craft on the north side of the venue, retail on the south side, games/entertainment east, and food west. This was great for the customers that preferred visiting one or two areas rather than walking all over to find what they were looking for. Another suggestion is to have the artist actually be present in the vendor's area. The that artist can either be demonstrating the technique, signing items, or showing photographs with the artist actually working on the craft.
I believe that radio advertising works if they can afford it. We did a show recently in South Carolina and the day before, we stopped at a SC rest stop on the interstate. They had flyers for that weekends show at the rest stop information desk. It was a great show and I think that leaving those flyers helped attract some customers.
As far as made in China items, we sell hand-made handbags and have to compete with retail handbags all of the time. One hint to tell the difference is \"too perfect\" stitching. It doesn't take an expert to tell that something is mass-manufactured versus hand-machined or made. Our products have some imperfections but they are crafts...not mass produced in a sweat shop. Also, many shows don't care about retail. They claim to be craft shows but will not do anything about complaints of resale items. We simply don't go back the next year.
Some ideas on advertising: most cities have local TV channels that do a segment during the day on what is coming up in the area. The promoter could appear on this and get \\"free\\" advertising. Another idea is engage the local children\\'s dance and performing arts to perform on stage at your event; this brings in Aunts, Grandparents, friends and a host of people involved with the child. Print a flyer and have it at your State welcome center. People visiting your area are always looking for interesting things to do. Give away tickets on local radio; this should also be free!
NOW for the retail/resale - which is a thorn in my side!!!! Some of my best shows that are holding true to \\"arts & crafts\\" are requiring a photo not only of you set up but atleast one of you making your craft. This should eliminate the imbellishers (ones who pull made in China off a product) and call it a hand made craft! Also if the promoter sees the retail/resale stuff being brought out stop ....I mean STOP it immediately! Ask the person to leave your show; do not refund the fee, they misrepresented (nice way to say they lied) their craft!
My suggestion for good advertisement on any event would be to put it on the news to get people aware a show is going on. A local news channel we have has what is called a \"Public Service Bulletin Board\" on certain days listing any events going on that week. Not sure if all news channels have anything similar, but if they do, whoever is planning an event should check with them since not everyone buys a newspaper.
Event listing: List events at schools (newsletters, etc) church bulletins
Retail at juried events: Having crafters to \"snitch\" on others could result in anger, trust issues....this is clearly a job for a promoter to do. If retail is unwanted it should be made VERY CLEAR in the contract and should be followed through by checking out the merchandise before the event begins and throughout the event. This includes behavior of vendors, too.
Louy: Offer churches and other organizations free spots for info table, bake sale, etc. They will tell their mailing list abt their doing the event and bring in customers on their own to help suppliment your efforts..
Hi, Have read your problem with promoters and problem with our of country crafts. I have found at the last 3 shows there are too many vendors that are like franchises, they own several shops and employ a assembly line style of merchandise. Even tho it is made in this country trhis should not be permitted ina juried craft show as lowers the value and appreciation for the artist that took the time to put their heart nad soul into their work, Most long time crafters like myself (over 15 years) are finding it harder and harder to sell quality workmanship. If I make a hand beaded cabachon of Onyx abd place it on a necklace of onyx and obsidian beads with Bali silver assorted beads and closure and it took me say 8 hours to make are they going to pay $120, which if you think about it is not much for the time and labor, when they can buy from retailers, who should be banned from all craft shows in USA, and by a onyx and obsidian piece for say $30. Sure it in no way can compare to the quality of the artisan vewndor, but the majority of people don't want to spend that kind of money unless you are in the right place at the right time. Many retail brands are starting to be boycotted by many crafters, if they know ine of the brands is doing the show they wiill not participate, they try to get into all they can.
I also believe any vendor once they are set up, if their work in any way does not look 100% hanmade should be asked to leave, we have to get rid of the franchise type vendors.
As far as promoters go, they can do a hell of alot more than they do. All towns have local radio stations, events should be advertised starting 2 weeks before and mentiopned several times a day, they are also local cable slots where events and happenings are listed, that is rarely utilized, in my area I have seen them a few times, this is simething that is also repeated several times a day. Local newspapers have a Datebook section where you list your event for a week (that is the minimum) for $5, there are shows listed in my paper for Nov. already. Here, street signs are far and few between and so small you can barely see, they should be larger, colorful, eye-catching, the kind that when you see make you say, ooh, that looks like a good one. You can do raffles, where vendors are asked to contribute 1 item (with a pre set price limit on the item donated), you can give a coupon to people as tey walk in with names of vendors willing to give 10/20/?% off a purchase, or a free gift with purchase. There are so many things that can be done.
Sadly I feel it is the beginning of the end of an era so to speak. People want a bargain and that's all there is to it. If I had a nickle for every person who told me how gorgwous, unique, beautiful, you are so talented, I have never seen anything like this before, I would be a millionaire-LOL.
Like the piece I described in the beginning of this piece, too know I would never see that on another person ever, anywhere, to me it would be well worth the $120. But that is for the woman who appreciates the beauty of quality work. Just like years ago the beauty of a fine desk or hutch, handmade from quality cherrywood/mahogany, no nails, no fiber board backs, just gorgeous carving and fine workmanship, something we have lost with time, it is there, but very little left.
sorry I went on a rant! Personally the past year has been the worst I have ever had, and it diesn't look like it is going to improve anytime soon. I have the East Brunswick NJ Fine Arts Festival on 6/9, now normally thay draws a very large crowd, it is in a higher income area, they are very fussy who they let in, so we will see how this one goes.
Good luck and I hope alot of crafters chime in and try to help out. - Anna Daley -Beadfuldelights
Most newspapers have a \"calendar\" section ... listing events that are going on day by day. It usually is free. You just have to be sure to submit your show to the Calendar Editor. I know my local paper will never take the initiative to put an event in the calendar (even if it's written up several times in the newspaper), but if I submit a separate request to include it in the Calendar, it gets in every time.
There are also web sites that will list events ... http://www.socialweb.net is one I often look at. It lists events from today to months from now, and you can search by zip code. I'm sure a little research would turn up more sites where you get get free listings for your event.
If your county or local area puts out a tourist guide, see about getting your event listed in it. I live in the Johnny Appleseed Trail area, and I see many events listed in the Johnny Appleseed Guide.
If your event is yearly, think about getting a street banner made up. One event near me has a banner that hangs right across the main street. Their event is always the first weekend in October so the sign says that, so that they never have to change it.
I am responding, but really only to let you know I am not ignoring your question and will try to pay more attention to detail that can be \"verified\" as retail items at the next show. Really though, the only way I have known in the past has been that I have actually seen the items in a catalog or on a website somewhere. I thought possibly packing material, but I also purchase some of my supplies from people who also sell completed items so that is not much help. Personally I tend to look first at booths that just seem to have too much product. Handmaking an item takes time (especialy if you want to have some quality to it) and some of these sites have way too much product. Unless they had the whole 8 kid family working overtime they just could not have made that much to sell. Obviously that is not perfect, they may only go to one show a year and do nothing else. Also a small vendor may just be starting and not have the funds to purchase more to resell.
You know I don't think you really want my opinion, because it is completely different from most of the people on this site. I sell only retail, and I go to shows that accept retail, I don't try to hide it. I think retail and juried art can be sold at the same show, I am not interested in the juried art or the prizes. If the customer can't tell the difference between the two they don't need to be there. This is a free market you sell things at what ever you think the market will bear. It's offensive to have some one go through the market place and single out what they don't like to have to sell against. My booth looks nice I present my items well, I have quality merchandise at a reasonable price. I can't undercut some one that makes everything, and I don't want to. There is room for all of us. If some of you people would get over the snobbyness everybody could make a living. - Sharon
Louy: actually, your's is my opionion as well. I am only against retail finding its way into advertised as hande-made-only shows fraudulantly.
In reply to your note about advertising one of the most sucessful that I have seen in a little over 40 years is to have crafters submit a bio, and a list of local papers with the application and then having the pronoter send a copy of the bio with the show details to the local papers. U also feel that having cragters jury the buy sell at shows is one of the besr way to weed out the impoet items. If several crafters point out the same booth then the pronoter can take action. Not everyone or every promoter can know everything about each craft, but crafters seem to jave an eye for the imports.
Louis....the reason you aren't getting any response is we are giving up the battle...the craft show business is in a rapid fall to disaster.... to many promoters, ( who always make a profit, although maybe less) every pig farting contest sells booth space to unsuspecting or new vendors.....vendors are older and wiser and dropping out, including me after 15 years ,...a constant supply of new crafters who need any kind of income....ever increasing costs ever decreasing income....the ART in art and craft shows is a joke, artists were the first to abandon the scene..and on and on.... I wish you luck but I'm looking for other venues to justify my efforts....Ralph
Hi Louis, I am responding to your question about resale items at events.
I usually do not do shows with resale but I have scheduled a show in November that allows resale. I have made an exception, only because it has good attendance and is in an upscale area.
My suggestion for resale shows is that if they want to keep artists at these shows the promoters should have the artists in a \"handmade only\" area with NO exceptions. At least then, the customers who are looking for handmade can at least find it.
The amount of resale at shows is getting to be a serious problem and it is absolutely ruining art/craft shows.
The last show I visited that had resale was so bad, I left. There was handmade mixed in but there was so much resale it wasn't worth it to walk the show and look for it.
I purchased a banner that fits over my (Lincoln Town Car) windshield. It just says \"Craft Sale Today\" and has my website in the bottom right corner. I put it on my car and park where it can be seen by passing traffic. It has brought in customers who had been unaware of the sale. Even if I'm not the promoter it can only be to my advantage to increase traffic! - Victoria
My greatest problem so far is that too many vendors of the same type are allowed into a show. Jewelry is my catagory. Many that are let in are retailers and sell very cheaply taking business and quality from the hand-crafters. I think the listings should show how many of each catagory will be accepted. If that isn't possible, atleast warn us that we need not apply in our catagory. Thank you. Anita
You asked that we take a minute to ponder the quandery of advertising and retail items in the shows.
1)As for the advertising: many radio and televison stations as well as local cable companies will post service or announcements for free. Send a 81/2x11 page in each envelope of acceptance. If each crafter and vendor makes 10 copies and place them around their town. I'm sure folks have to go to the doctor,salons,barbershops, petgroomers, gas stations, grocery stores.....
2) Encourage each crafter/Vendor to put out a guest book to collect addresses and emails. It's not that hard to set up a newsletter/advertisement to be sent before each show. besides anything spent on advertisement that can be documented may be a tax deduction.
3)Ask the crafters/Vendors to check with their local Chambers of Commerce or Town Halls and see if there is a directory of businesses they could get. There are break rooms every where. Some of these businesses might be interested in sponsorship of some kind to get free advertisement at the shows.
4)NETWORKING NETWORKING NETWORKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is the best way to get the word out. I'm sure you buy your supplies from somewhere. See if you can leave a card,flier, or something on the public notice boards.
5) DON'T FORGET THE PLACES THAT PROVIDE GROUP TRIPS FOR PEOPLE. CHURCHES, TRAVEL COMPANIES, SENIOR RETIREMENT HOMES OR COMMUNITIES. universities have public announcement boards all over the campus's.
As far as retail items go being in shows. A promoter,coordinator will have to select a panel of unknowns to tour the show and check the merchandise. If they suspect that some one has retail items they can make a note of the item, look at the item but they item and make notation of the booth number. Once it is discovered that the item is retail not hand made PUT THE PERSON OUT OF THE SHOW. IF THEY CAN'T FOLLOW THE RULES THEY DON'T NEED TO BE THERE. Once the word gets out that its not tolerated it might just stop. (I once did the food venders for Aiken's Makin) We had the unknown panel. IT WORKED
We were recently sent an application for a first-time show. We don't generally participate in first-time events but decided to try this one because of how the organizer decided to promote the event.
Of course there was the usual advertising: newspapers, street signs, banners/signs at the event site. We were sent a full-length flyer and a postcard size advertisement via email (but could also be done by snail mail). A number was assigned to each vendor and embedded in the flyer and postcard. I printed out both. I mailed postcards to our past customers in the area of the event; went to some of our local businesses and asked to place flyers at their checkout stands; passed out flyers out events we were participating in to let people know where we would be in the future. The information offered the recipient a free raffle ticket in exchange for their flyer or postcard. Also, for every one turned in, the vendor (remember their number is included on the flyers and postcards) received a $1.00 refund on their booth rent or a free raffle ticket. This is a great way for vendors to help out with the advertising, since they are the ones that benefit most from customer attendance. It costs me less than $50.00. 50 postcard stamps - $12.00 (only 2 were returned undelivered); and I printed my own flyers (approx. 150) and postcards. If every vendor did this, we could increase attendance (and sales) for everyone. Promoters: Even if you don't offer any perks to your vendors, it is a good way to draw customers to your event.
I am not sure how to answer your question(s). I have asked some of the promoters about their advertising and resale vendors. The most recent answers have been the weather is too bad to put out signs, they did not think about asking the local stores about posting signs, posting on this site or contacting the newpapers/tv stations for free ads. With regards to resale, the most common answer has been \"we do not turn anyone away....\" Which tells me, while they are trying to attract handmade they are also look at how money can we make by allowing every in. The one I hate the most is when they want to put like venders next to each other, because it is easier for the customers to see everyone together, but they are not thinking about vendors having to compete with each other over price and quality. I hope this helps.
re: retail in juried shows: if the jury truly applies the standards, most non-hand-made items will not pass muster; each show/festival organizer should visit each exhibitor during the first couple hours of the show to verify the items being displayed match the application; any sxhibitor that has unjuried or \"retail\" merchandise should be asked to put away the merchandise or leave the show.
re: advertising- most local major newspapers usually have a section weekly devoted to leisure/activities/entertainment; we've found that such a section is a great place to advertise/list shows, festivals, etc.; many such listings are free and are widely read and used by the local readership; such newspapers also have a yearly section devoted to festivals, etc near the beginning of the travel season(i.e. May/June); listing your event here is also normally free
re: limiting number of vendors by category; successful show promoters/organizers usually limit the number of vendors by category to about 3-5% of the total; we are crafters of semi-precious gemstone jewelry using our handmade lampwork beads and other quality materials; we did a show a couple of weeks ago where there were 19 jewelry vendors out of a total of 110 exhibitors; that festival was the 6th year it done and the organizers should use common sense ( over 15% of vendors in the same category hurts everyone); it was our 1st time to to that show and we will not be back
I can tell fake tiedye because it is too regular, several shirts of the same pattern and if you look on the inside of the shirt, it's paler than the outside.
Also, most of the rayon clothing is all done in Bali or Thailand, not here in the US.
The other thing is we get the same Wholesaler magazines as the vendors so we can recognize a lot of their stuff.
I agree with all the advertising hints you gave.Also in Monmouth County, NJ I believe that the Asbury Park Press (newspaper) has a datebook for non profits to place ads for their events (for a small fee) and Comcast Cable has a station that just keeps listing local events. So maybe other states might have similiar venues to advertise. Also to place flyers on community bulletin boards at supermarkets, town halls, schools, churches or other religious organizations, libraries or other places where people congregate. But the main thing is the signs on the street, you get a lot of passerbys and people who forgot that the event was that day coming in.
In Reply to your email on advertising. I attend some shows that are in shopping centers. They Place flyers on the windows of every business about a month in advance. I have had some luck sending out notes to some of my better customers. I've found that it's hard to know what shows get good advertising and which don't. I've done shows where they spend a good amount on advertising and still don't have the sales you would expect. Yet some shows that have little to no advertising do really well. I think it really depends on whether there are any other shows or events in the community on the same days.
The best advertising I have found is the promoter place banners across major streets in that town/city. I understand it may require a permit and the cost of banner and hanging. To cover the cost of the banner contact a local bussiness and have them sponsor the banner (small ad on banner)along with electrician with a bucket truck. Place the banners up two weeks prior to the event.
Road signs are great if large enough and LEAD people to event. The promoter should not assume that everyone seeing a road sign knows where the hall/school is. As a crafter when I approach the event and I find large signs leading me I can expect large crowds.
Crafters you have heard this before if the event was good and the promoter did what they said (jurried, no buy/sell, ect) tell them. Send them an email and tell other crafters that you know have quality products. If the promoter is swamped with true crafters then they will not be tempted to just fill a space. The promoter needs to here what they are doing right not just what is wrong. On your web sites or mailing lists tell people about the good shows (even if you are not showing there) you will get a nice following as the customers then know you appreciate thier friendship. Also invite people to stop by and say hi even if they are not in the market for your craft at that time.
Lou keep up the good work on my web site I list my showing and indicate where they reader can find futher information (craftlister.com) about a particular show. THANK YOU!!!!!!
I look for differences between items. If the crafter has 10 of an item, handcrafted items are usually all slightly different. I ask about the woods or crystals used (since I do more new age items). I find that many crafters bring projects with them to shows so customers can see the work and craftsmandship going into an item.
One thing where I find I question items is where something was purchsed retail and embellished or decorated by hand. While the entire item is not hand made, there was crafting involved and these items can be harder to pick out since the embellishments are what generally grab our eye.
A few crafters I have had stands next to offer special order or commisioned items. This is also a pretty easy way to tell they are hand made.
I hope you received more replies this time. I will send another reply if I can think of anything else.
In response to your e-mail about retailers who are allowed to participate in juried events, I would like to respond.
Part of my business is that I work with jewelry...all types. That means that I set stone & glass cabachons, cameos and the like. I also bead stones, glass beads and so forth.
There is another part of my business, where I do calligraphy for invitations, artwork and create inspirational greeting cards.
These are all things that I've excelled in, at certain art and craft shows (and just generally in business), but have not done so well with, at others where retailers were taking part.
To my knowledge, it is quite a bit easier to recognize an item that someone claims is done in calligraphy (but isn't), than it is to recognize jewelry that is manufactured, rather than made by hand -- although I can recognize either, at this point.
Unless the jewelry is multiply duplicated and has obvious trademarks that are left by the company, it's not easy to tell the difference between handmade and manufactured. Sometimes it can be distinguished, just generally by the way it is made and the content used.
With calligraphy, I am on the wedding web site, http://www.theknot.com and I can tell you that there are people who claim that they do calligraphy, but really only print out invitations. It was kind of strange, because it is noted on The Knot web site, whether each vendor does calligraphy or if they print. In December of 2006, when I first advertised with them, there were only two out of six of us who specialized in doing calligraphic work for weddings. Everyone else was strictly printing, as was also noted on their individual web sites. Just recently, I was on the site and noticed that all but one claims that they do calligraphy (5 out of 6 of the vendors). Interesting? You bet!
I just thought of another way you can tell with either, if they are a retailer or not. Most of those who I've been at craft fairs with, have demonstrated their talents, so they would have materials, tools, etc. with them. If they are not working on anything -- or for that matter, repairing items they make, that is a tattle-tale sign that they most likely just sell.
Thanks for the question, because it really got the wheels going in my head!
Im a small jewelry maker - time limits where and when I can do shows. In response to all the foreign made product streaming into our country, I make it a pont to tell my customers that my product is proudly made by me in Illinois in the US! Ive had many people thank me for telling them - it helps strike up a conversation, and a sale. Im thinking about re-designing my business cards, flyers, and a table sign with my business name and home state logo, just to continue to drive home the fact that I make my own product here in the United States!
I think that many show organizers do not even know how to determine if items are handmade or not. I've been finding that a lot of vendors put too many of the same type of vendor at a craft fair. I can tell immediately just by looking at what the vendor is selling because when it's your specialty you know what's out there, promoters don't. As a vendor you can speak up to the promoter, but sometimes that makes you look like your being a snob. The jewelry making business is especially cut throat, but I always hope that the person doing the buying can figure out that I made my pieces by hand and they're not junk from a resale catalog.
This is a tough problem for sure and getting tougher as you said because the quality of buy/sell merchandise is getting better. Every promoter advertising a hand crafted only show should require pictures. Pictures of work space, pictures of materials used for making the products, pictures of work in progress. Some promoters ask for material invoices and/or a list of suppliers that the artist deals with. Promoters also need to EDUCATE themselves by attending craft fairs. Vendors can spot buy/sell a mile away and this is often because they attend so many craft shows and see these buy/sell products over and over again. Promoters need to watch for vendors who are moving boxes that say \"made in China\" on them. I find a lot of the home decor and clothing buy/sell vendors don't even bother to switch out their boxes.
For jewelry, and especially with earrings, if a promoter is seeing chandelier type earrings with lots of beading components selling for $10 or $15 you can pretty much bet they are not custom crafted. The amount of time it takes to make these items far exceeds that price range. With the price of gold and silver these days, common sense can play a huge part to help weed out the buy/sell. How can that two inch cuff bracelet sell for $25 when there's at least $25 in silver alone?
Insist anyone suspect of having buy/sell products leave immediately. Insist anyone who's product is not as portrayed in their photos or described on their application leave immediately. C.Y.A in your applications and emphatically state this will happen. Vendors who display items that are not listed on their applications, such as clothing vendors, who put up a section of jewelry should be asked to take it down. Someone selling bath and body products that puts up a small section of candles should be asked to take it down. Stick to your guidelines promoters!
I have done juried shows where a member of the jury calls all prospective vendors. These conversations are recorded so not only do they have a signed form stating your product is custom crafted, they now also have a verbal confirmation.
Promoters, don't be afraid to ask questions! Vendors ask many questions when considering a show, you should do the same if you are in doubt.
Members of a jury should have some art/craft backround. When selecting members for a board of a corporation, you select members that will bring expertise in one form or another to the company. This should be the same with a jury. Find people who have various art backrounds.
As always, vendors need to do their part. When seeing buy/sell items at a \"handcrafted only show\" the organizers need to be alerted. Buy/sell at a hand crafted show means a booth was lost to a true artisan.
Dont waste money with daily newspapers. Cost is way to high! Signs in store windows, some newspapers will let you place a flyer as an insert for free if you supply the copies. Spend the money for a large banner that can hang nearby the event for at least 2 weeks prior.
Juried shows- I do not aatend juried shows, so I have no advice.
I think that if the Event Planner notes that they accept retailers and crafters together, it is what the Planner wants. But I think it should be very specific on the Event List page so that people applying will know what to expect. Don't most Planner say they only accept so many retailers and then so many crafters?
I think there is a difference between non-handmade imports and handmade imports. There could be those two categories to differentiate the screening process. Promoters should ask for pictures showing the steps (including pictures of different stages) that artists go to make the products.
I think handmade imports should be allowed as long as there is proof that they are handmade. Usually, handmade imports are high quality items made by highly talented artisans and using natural and eco-friendly materials that are good for our pleanet.
The problem is not in the Jury selection I know that the people that sell the retail items do a good job at faking handmade goods to get into the show. What the promoters need to do is encourage vendor policing of each other and have a police that they actually enforce that allows for vendors to say \"so and so\" is selling retail items and verify it with more than one vendor then kick that person out of the show. They need to let vendors know that this is possible and that it will be enforced because we can tell if some one is not making there own goods were the promoter often can't. I have been to a show where several vendors went to the promoter and said this person is selling retail items. All we wanted was that person to put away there retail items (which granted would have been almost everything). The promoter got all huffy and asked if we could prove right now if that was true; which since there was no Internet connection and we where not going to storm the booth looking for made in China labels, we could not. So the person selling China junk got to stay, what makes it so annoying this was not a little street fair, this was a show that we had to be Juried into, would only except slides for that proses and was over $100.00 each day of the multi day show. Most promoters have polices in place and loudly spelled out that they can kick you from a show for what ever reason they want, but I have never seen a promoter actually do this. If the promoter wants a better show they are going to have to be willing to enforce their standards.
The answer to the first problem of advertising--overwhelming TV--I know it's not for all promoters-but our local channel's news staff will plug a craft show a day or two before the show-and when they do it's teriffic. I live in northeastern PA.
As for the problem of having buy and sell in shows--you have to complain,complain,complain to the promoter. But it will take not just one or two vendors-but many to get the point across. And I agree it has become an epidemic! Not too many people I know can hand cast those rusted big stars for example. Good luck to all of us.
You asked about the kind of advertising that tends to work. I've found that sponsorship by a community organization is critical. This kind of sponsorship also favors local (read \"real\") craftspeople. The organizations don't want to support imports from China either.
I like the idea of several people walking around at shows and informing the people running the show those who are offering to sell anything that was not handmade. I would hope that these people would be asked to close up shop and have to leave.
Another way to prevent this from happening is that on the day of the sale, as you enter the area in your vehicle, perhaps those who check that you've registered might also ask you to exhibit an item or two that you've brought along right at the entrance, and exclude those who have items to sell which are clearly imported junk. If I could afford to do so, I'd be tempted to start a website where legitimate crafters could report the junk-sellers and, then, perhaps those who were offering the shows could check the entrants against this site and TURN DOWN those who have already proven that they do not sell handmade items.
My Reply: I don\\'t think people want to \\"police\\" other dealers because they may be good friends with a lot of them. I personally have seen a lot of non-craft retail items at many craft shows, which is unfair but a part of society these days. People can buy from wholesalers anywhere, replace the packaging to make it their own, put a price and claim it is hand-crafted. Jewelry is a biggie, as are scarves, most anything made with plastic (i.e. toys), clothing (Guatamala makes nice \\"hand-crafted\\" clothing), crochet items (China has lots of these imported to Dollar Tree, Hobby Lobby, etc.). I don\\'t think it is stoppable, and I sure wouldn\\'t feel compelled to \\"rat\\" on a friend trying to make a living (speaking figuratively as I don\\'t have any friends who would sell retail items at a craft show).
Some area news station web sites have public billboards where one can list an event.
Regarding your question about sorting out the handmade from the \"other-made\". The difference is of course the process. Is it possible to require pictures of the craftsperson making items? Or require that 1/2 completed items be displayed at a show? I would hate to see how high the show fees would go if promoters visited the shops of each crafter they accepted but what about random checks? Now, I'm not enthusiastic about showing the world what tools I have and where they can find them. But I think this could be necessary for awhile. Well, that's my two cents. Thanks for persueing this problem.
This is a comment not a question... I think it's time to stop worrying and whining about retail items being sold at Craft Shows. Instead of spending a lot of time and energy on this subject, which will never go away, spend more time on your booth setup and how you can make it more appealing to potential customers! We did the Ocean City Block Party on 5/5/07 and it was supposed to be hand crafted items only....which it wasn't. The buy/sell vendors did not take any sales away from us and we had a great day!
Dear Lou, You have asked us to speak our minds as to what we can do as vendors to make our fairs more successful.
You have listed almost everything there is that one could do to get the word out regarding a fair.
I like to send postcards out to previous clients telling them where I will be.
I use a raffle, where anyone who wishes to sign my email list has a chance to win.
As for the Promoter situation. The fact that none of them replied to your requests, would leave me a little leary as to how much they want to promote thier business?
Its not the crafters job to police the event. As for retail items, no crafter should be concerned. Anyone who is going to purchase a retail item at a art or craft fair, most probably wouldnt be interested in your work and would only be out for the day. That of course doesnt mean I like retailers come in when no retail is allowed. But that is the Promoters job to handle, and if he wants crafters there the next year , he certainly better make them happy. this business is a three way street. Crafter,Promoter and Customer, all have to leave happy or the fair will not be a success
Event advertising: I have listed an event on this site and found that some vendors that applied to the show did not read the detailed description. They went only on the concise overview. I found myself repeating the entire listing over and over. I am not sure how that part of it can be helped. I have listed on my website the shows and dates as to what shows I will be appearing. Also, I think it would be a good idea if vendors who invite there clients/ customers would be able to offer a discount admission (not more than $.50). I think this could be made up by the pure numbers that the vendors could bring in.
Retail at Juried shows: I am able to attend both types of shows and fit in under a vendor and crafter but I understand the dilemma. I would not like to work hard and get to a show where there may be someone there selling similar items that were imported in from another country. The point of craft shows is to support your local artisans and have others benefit from your creativity and love for your craft.
Your request for advertising info. When I am looking to attend a show, I usually find out by flyers in local banks, markets, convenience stores,etc. and in local papers. Also, outside signage, the WEEKEND BEFORE attracts my attention and makes sure I stop at the bank before I shop.
Regarding differentiating between vendors and crafters...One fair had a great idea--you not only did had to send a picture of your booth and crafting, but also a picture of your WORKSPACE. That might cut down on imports and non-hand-made items.
I would love to live in a world with no made in china items being sold at arts festivals. I believe that the ones of us that produce all our own work deserve to make the money that is being spent on that stuff. If I have offended anyone than take the hint and stay out of our art shows, there are plenty of places for you to sell you items. Thank you
I am replying to the mail sent to me on May 1 re: event advertising and juried events. I was on vacation and only returned May 6. As far as advertising, I think that what works for an event varies as to what area it takes place in. If the event is at a school or community building, then a marquee is probably present that the event can be posted for up to a month or so prior to the date. We receive a free local \"paper\" that has items for sale, local business ads, and community events such as art and craft shows that can be advertised in. Local papers are good, but signs, signs and more signs right around the area and farther away are good. However, I think that it is helpful for an event to have its own web site that way it can be advertised to the public by the promoters and or the crafters booked for the show.
The second part of the mail referred to keeping commercially produced products out of craft shows. I think that all shows should require multiple pictures showing the items being produced by the crafter. This won't completely eliminate mass-produced products, because most people cannot possibly show every single item being made. However, but it will insure that many or most will be hand produced by the individual. Also, it would be a very good idea to have a representative of each genre do a walk through of the show looking at each booth to spot mass production. As a decorative painter, 90-97% of the time I can spot a mass produced piece. As, I am sure, could ceramic artists, jewelry artists, floral artists, etc. So, shows could ask other artists to assist in keeping the show to handcrafts by patrolling the booths prior to opening the show to customers. Certainly, I always have work at my space, to show that I hand paint my items. It also is a good marketing tool, almost a demonstration of my work.
I send e-notice to all family and friends. I send e-notes to all acquaintances with whom I have some business transactions. I send e-notes and updates to a Georgia vendor list that I gleaned from going through your web site, one at a time, to find Georgia vendors that might 1; be interested in showing, and 2;. be interested in going to a show. Remember, even a fellow vendor is a customer or trader. Then I also will notify previous and upcoming venue promoters of shows I am going to, just in case they want to see what we do, and to let them know we are trying to promote their show as well. Some get the idea that we are in demand and have a following. So, e-notes works for you and everybody.
As a promoter, gone are the days when the neighbor grocer willingly put up a flyer about a yard sale, lost kitten, or festival, unless they have some sort of promotional input / funds in the event. And rightly so; if one is allowed then all is allowed, and there would be no point in having a window if you can't see out it. The real estate type yard signs are posted around the courthouse square for our Market Day, which we own the city property and can do that. Posting on telephone poles is tacky, may be effective, and may be illegal in some places due to signage restrictions. Posting signs along interstates, or at the top of the exit ramp, is illegal under federal laws, but there is little enforcement and almost no fines except losing the sign. Public right-of-way along the streets usually extends to around 12 feet from edge of asphalt, and can be restricted as to what is posted there. Telephone poles in rural areas are set at the edge of the right-of-way if you want a guide. Most jurisdictions do not restrict placing yard signs in your own front yard, the front yard of your neighbors that will accept one, the front yards of your family and friends. Check with your local city hall / courthouse / home owners associations BEFORE purchasing signage and putting them out, not after losing them. No refunds for printing signs you can not post.
But where can you get the word out. If you are a non-profit 501(c) organization, then congratulations, non-profit radio, NPR, college stations, some privately own NPO's (non-profit organizations) actually want to hear from you and want to broadcast your show information. Contact them about free public address announcements. Nearly all these stations have at least a once a week feature of local events. Some will broadcast every hour, your show information, especially the college stations that need something to fill in air time and to give the student radio editors something real to write and announce. For the list of where in your state to do this go to: http://www.gumbopages.com/other-radio.html. This includes Australia, UK, and Canada stations. Now be aware that the listening audience for college stations are the younger members of society, but NPR, classic listening stations will have the more, shall we say, educated, better off, listener. Contact local profit radio stations about making a public announcement ad for non-profit. But, be aware that these days, the so called \"local\" station is probably owned by some large media corporation in some far away country or city; and there may not be anyone there to take the call. Look into public access cable television, especially if you are NPO. Hey, its a phone call for you and its free.
Coupons can be used to draw attention and patrons to the event with the usual free offers. Give-aways can be used and consider going to vendors for prizes in lieu or in addition to booth fees. The coupons can be used to track the effectiveness of your advertising dollar. Watch this example: #1. Free balloons for all children with this coupon. #2. All children will get a free balloon with this coupon. #3. Balloons will be given away with this coupon. Now, all three ads say the same thing; free balloons. When each ad is placed in the three different prints, then you can follow the returning coupons to see which print was the most effective for the money.
Over the last twenty or so years that I have been crafting and selling my wares, I have DEFINATELY noticed an increase in retail items at JURIED shows. I DO sell some retail items, but ONLY at venues that allow me to do so. I keep those items seperate from my crafted items, so as not to put them out by mistake. General craft shows do allow SOME retail items.
I am not sure what I can tell you to help promoters with keeping retail out of their shows. I only know of ONE event that actually takes the time not only to screen their participants, but they also do a walk through BEFORE opening their doors to the public, and they often do force the vendor to remove the item(s), or make them leave entirely. Unfortunately, most promoters just don't care any more. For all the money that I pay out for these shows, most of them (promoters) spend more time worrying about finances than taking care of their bread and butter. Organization, vendor placement, and advertizing become secondary to filling their pockets. I have all but stopped using crafter specific promoters these days, for that reason.
As far as advertizing goes, promoters CLAIM they do tons of it, but I am often left feeling gyped. I understand it takes money for good advertizing, but posting a few flyers and small ads in ONE newspaper just doesn't cut it any more. I spend a good amount of time researching shows to sell at. I do shows a minimum of monthly throughout the year, and I do three very large shows per year. The three large shows I do ALL get heavy advertizing in months prior to the shows. They also take advantage of free advertizing in church bulletins, supermarkets, and even emailing. I myself am starting to promote MY venues. This year, I plan on shooting video of the shows I do, and posting them on FREE video sharing sites such as http://www.youtube.com/ and http://www.livevideo.com/ . These places are free to sign up for, and do not require you to have an account to view any of the videos available for viewing. I prefer LiveVideo, because video and picture quality are far superior to YouTube, with less spamming content. YouTube is more popular, so my videos will be posted on both sites. Promoters would do well if they only knew of these places and were willing to take the time to do it. It is free, afer all, and what better way to get people interested in COMING to the shows than with FREE video previews? It's just a thought...
I am new to crafting and would like to start selling at local craft stores, Lord Willing. Thanks for listing the Grassy Run event in Williamsburg, Ohio, because I didn't go there to sell, but we went there last year, and liked it so well that we had to go there again this year.
You asked for tips and ideas to remove retail/resale items from juried shows> I read something I think, on your site from last year, that described tell-tale signs of what was an original handmade item, and what was a foreign retail copies. I think one of the signs was that the items were too uniform with each other (besides having the \"Made in Mexico\" or \"Made in Taiwan\" markings on them).
I work with fragrances and herbs in bath and body products, and one thing my internet groups discourage is making \"Knock Off scents,\" like let's say \"Charlie\" or some other existing scent out there sold by perfume companies - Something listed like \"compare to Eternity.\" But something hand-crafted or homemade by an individual artist will have some imperfections to them.
Good luck in helping curb retail from the shows!!!
Hi Louis, First let me say again how much I like your site. I think you're doing a great job. My work goes from raw wood to finished product right here in my home. I do get upset when I'm told it will be hand crafted only show and then I see market items. If their are going to be market items please let me know. I may choose to do a different show.
I like the idea of making the vendor provide pictures of themselves in their workshop actually making their product. I keep mine posted on my web page. Keep up the great work.
I make jewelry, 100% handmade by me. About a year ago, shows started requesting recent and multiple receipts/invoices of the componenets I purchase to make my jewelry. At first I thought this was a huge hassle but did it anyway. Because of this, I have noticed an increase in the quality of the products at these shows. And even though it is still a hassle for me to gather all of this paperwork in time for the applications, it makes the shows so much better, so in the end it is worth it.
Another option is: a partciular show promoter has it written on their application that the artist must be present on the day(s) of the event and be prepared to present a demonstration of your work. At first I thought this was strange to demonstrate how I bead, or wire wrap. It was not until someone's work was called into question as to whether it was resale or not and the person was asked to perform a demonstration that I fully understood the reason this was listed.
Finally, select your jurors carefully! And have more than one juror! Have jurors from a variety of backgrounds! As a jewelry designer, I know what the \"hot\" resale items are because I am constantly getting crap in the mail (or e-mail) to sell it. (Somehow I got on someone's mailing list!). Anyway, I can spot most of the resale items within seconds and have told promoters about these items, leaving it up to them to do what they will with it. If the promoters allow the vendor to stay, I then specify in my spiel to customers that 100% of my products are handmade, and that not everyone at that show can say that about their jewelry! The point is though, that if you have jurors from a variety of backgrounds, abilities etc. they will know what it resale and what is not and can deal with accordingly.
Regarding the advertising, I have little to offer because there are some shows that regardless of the advertising, customers just know are good shows and they will attend! There have been shows that I sold at that did a lot of advertising (radio, newspaper etc) and barely anyone showed. There have been shows that did little advertising and you could barely walk around it was so crowded. So I do not know what the magic to this is and would love to hear what others have to say since I will be running a show in the fall, and would like as much traffic as is possible! Thanks, Marianne
I sell commercial/retail and I sure as hell want to continue selling my items at various events. THAT IS MY LIVELIHOOD. Seems like you are making it your own personas mission to screw us over. Take me off your mailing list!!!!!! You are trying to put the screws to us AND THAT IS NOT FAIR!!!!!
Most shows I enter require three photos of the construction process with the crafter in the picture. as well as photos of displays. This has cut down on imported items.
Re: advertising - I agree with street signs - however, many county crews remove them if they are placed too early or are left too long. Many, many of them should be used.
One show I enter, every band club volunteer has a sign on her car for a couple of weeks before advertising the show.
Also, flyers are placed on every car at the first show of the season advertising upcoming shows. Four to a page cuts down on printing costs.
Hope this helps
I use 4 main resources to find my shows and then a few secondary sources..
1) invites from shows I already attend 2) this listing 3) a book I purchase that is updated 4 x a year called The Perfect Gift 4) 3 newspapers I obtain on a regular basis
my secondary sources are; other crafters, hand outs received at events I am attending, invites that just arrive because I am on other craft lists
Fairs that do not follow the rules they spell out in there contract my husband and I do not return to. If the fair says crafts only and they let people sell resale we do not go back.
At many fairs my husband and I speak to the buyers and ask how they located the fair. It seems that most people are looking in the local paper , and many others spot the signs a group has put out to advertise the show. Last year we did 2 shows just doors apart and the one show people had difficulty finding due to lack of signage - the other show was busy and crowded - people commented they had spotted the sign about the upcoming show earlier in the week as they traveled the road.
Waiting until the day of the show to put up signs is ok but if at all possible having them up a week or so before the show (make sure the date is big enough to read) will help people know the show will be in the area. Also please take down your signs after the show. I came off the highway one day last year on the way to a show and there were signs still up for shows done the previous month.
Lastly remember that signs should not be stapled or nailed to telephone poles. I know in VT this is against the law. When I attach a sign to a telephone pole I use duct tape and lots of it.
I'm so glad you asked these questions! I am in the unique position of being both an exhibiting artisan AND a promoter. I have exhibited at a number of \"high-end\" shows with plenty of retail items...intricate silver earring with a huge booth sign \"Everything $5!\" I did bring it to that promoter's attention (in a courteous, professional manner) and nothing was said or done.
As a promoter, I can tell you that the biggest problem, both with advertising and exhibitor quality, is the lack of commitment and professionalism of the artisans. I cannot tell you what a huge percentage of our exhibitors sign up only in the last weeks before the show (or even the few days before!) after watching the weather. Many of those who do sign up try to cancel and get refunds under false pretenses (illness, death in the family, a wedding) if the weather looks less than ideal. It is amazing how many disasters occur when there is impending rain! Once they do come, having signed up in the eleventh hour, they expect a high-end fine craft show with thousands of dollars of advertising, and they expect the prime corner space in the middle of the show. As any professional promoter can tell you, we are in this to make a living, not for kicks. If we have a half-full festival coming up in a week, for which we have had to secure and prepay for advertising, toilets and cleaning, personnel, and insurance, just to name a few things, we honestly cannot afford to be \"super picky\" when it comes to the exhibitor and, to be frank, many of the true \"artisans\" were the first to start sneaking in manufactured and imported items to supplement their own crafts.
Once at the show, we do our best to catch the obvious junk, but we cannot examine every piece of merchandise for sale in every booth while setting up and monitoring the event. When other exhibitors do say something, they are usually either very nasty at the event, dragging me over and standing in the suspect booth pointing at merchandise and the person selling it, or they call or email after the show, in which case there is nothing to be done. As the saying goes these days, if you see something, say something. But PLEASE be pleasant, professional, and non-combative, as nastiness will get you nowhere. And also, don't be a hypocrite. I got an email just after this past weekend from a jewelry exhibitor complaining about buy/sell at the show. The funny thing is, she herself was reprimanded at the show for putting out boxes of comic books! When I brought this up, her response was, \"Well, I figured if others were selling non-crafted items, I could too!\" How does that solve any problem?
It seems to me that the average customer these days is very ignorant of the difference between quality handmade items and mass-produced junk. Educate your customers as to the difference! SELL the quality of your product, make them see that your product is worth the price! I make all my own high-end jewelry. Of all people, I understand the difficulties in trying to sell handmade and pricey items in this era of Walmart and Target, and Chinese imports. It can be done, however, if everybody is willing to act professionally and if exhibitors would make the commitment to the shows that they would like the organizers and promoters to make to them. Only by this happening can we all be successful in this business.- Jennifer Wood - Showtiques Crafts, Inc.
Ok here are my view points of retail vendors at juried craft shows. I've been doing craft shows since 1991. At that time there seemed to be 99% handmade products, but as the years go bye the prices go up and vendors slowly drop out or find further away show's at cheaper rates how can you blame them when they are allowing \"crafter\" to sell items that they are clearly buying and adding a bow to them and saying that they are handmade.
Juried shows always say that they are going to send any crafter home who breaks the rules, but I never seem to see them coming by and saying or asking the vendor how are you doing or can i get you anything, Its like they get there money and \"screw\" the vendor type of attitude. What happened to the organizer who cares about the vendor they should as it is US who come back and keep there show running. So they can fund what ever they need such as city plants, etc.
My idea's are items should be handcrafted. Its fairly easy to spot the \"non crafted\"item. Stuffed animals are obviously not crafted by the vendor. Unless they are handknit or crocheted. They should also make a list and limit shows on who makes what such as
Show size up to 50 crafters 1 of each type of vendor if not 2. Show size up to 100 crafters 2 of each if not 3 Show size up to 250 crafters 4 of each type. If there are less then some which there should be then Limit the Jewerly/Knit items to maybe 10 per show.
Also if they just think about placement of crafters it helps not to place them in the same row ,and god for bid not directly next or across from each other. I hate that when it happens to me. Then the other person always marks there prices down.
For advertisement : STREET SIGNS LARGE LAMINATED ONES WORK BEST. EMAIL THE SCHOOL COMMITTE, CLASSROOMS, FRIENDS, POST AT GROCERY STORES, BALLOONS DAY OF EVENT. A FRAME SIGNS AT THE CORNERS NEAR THE EVENTS. these always work well. I even post all my shows on my website. This seems to work well. Chat rooms too. Another thing is good if they offer a rain date some outside show's do not offer a rain date. If they could refund money for vendors its a nice gesture. For those who dont offer a rain date.
I live in Central Florida and I know a LOT of people who get into shows that are strictly \"retail.\" One woman I know claims that she can \"personalize\" her crystals which is something she rarely, if ever does yet it gets her into all shows just by saying that and she makes a fortune. I know plenty of others who do it and it angers me since I MAKE just about everything I sell.
I think all shows should REQUIRE PHOTOS of everything vendor will be selling. You usually can tell what is retail & what is not. Yes I am sick of seeing people reselling stuff as their own when I know darn well it is not. But maybe each promoter should also walk around or get people to work with them to check every table out day of show. Some people may sneak stuff in that is retail and may not have submitted a picture that being the reason. If they find someone day of show that has retail dismiss them ASAP. I have been to some shows recently that have this written on their entry form. Of course these shows are huge and I never had the time to leave my table to see if people listened to the rules. Really that is the Promoters job not the Vendors.
I think the best thing a promoter could do is FOLLOW THROUGH. We have all read and signed many of rules agreements and we all know most rules are not enforced. Most promoters are more worried about selling booth space to put themselves in the black rather than keeping quality standards high and keeping crafters in the black which in the long run would keep the promoter in the black. Crafters look for juried events that are true to their word about resale items not being allowed. So in short promoters need to
1. Follow through on their rules
2. Remember, a few quality crafters with unique products is better than a warehouse full of retailers.
3. Tell the vendors who display retail merchandise there is room at most strip malls for rent and be ready to back it up with action
Resell items: I have been a crafter since 1980 and until the last couple of years resell was not that bad, now it is terrible. True crafters work too hard to let this happen. I design, cut and paint personalized Christmas ornaments, family plagues and yard signs all made from wood....Two times I was turned down because they thought it was resell so I sent (at my expense) items in different stages of completion. I was then excepted into the shows.
Another show I do is thinking about moving resell to another section of the field....If promoters would get tougher in handling the people that do resell, by making them move to another location or leave for not being truthful. Even if they have already set up. Letting them stay just makes it worse the next year.
The application should state that this is a contract and once signed and returned they can be told to leave if it is found that they have be untruthful. This protects the promoters and the true crafters.
I must admit that I get very upset at most of the craft shows here in Florida. It seems like they really are not craft shows anymore. There are more resale items than craft items. The craft items don't sell very well. I sell wood crafts and about to give up. Sure can't make a living on crafts here. People want you to lower your prices down to cost. I spend a lot of time on my crafts and won't sell them at cost. My time has to be worth something. - Judy Stephen
I don't know how many of these ideas have been tried (kinda new to the business myself), but they're ideas anyhow. I have a background in journalism, and have written for a trade journal, so the ideas with those references have a bit more reliability.
- Do a flyer swap with all the local craft stores. Offer to hand out craft store flyers to all attendees if the stores will help promote the event (with handouts in their customers' bags and promotional posters in the craft store's windows).
- Know your trade journals! Each craft is likely to have one, and many will promote events in advance - particularly if you can get a craft vendor to commit to demonstrate. Some newspapers will do advances also, particularly if you can show some connection between the event and some timely news angle. I always demonstrate my craft - Ukrainian egg decorating (and yes, there *IS* a journal for something as obscure as pysanky) - at shows, and any show I do the month before Easter could get a ton of free advertising by writing press releases that I have committed to be there and committed to demonstrate. No show has ever done this, even after I explain that I used to write show advances constantly for a gourmet/specialty foods trade journal (it drives me absolutely crazy). Once, a newspaper ran an article on the front page about a person 80 miles away who did the same craft as I, even though I was demonstrating it 10 miles away from the newspaper's office the day before they ran the article! If the promoter had issued a press release, she would have gotten FREE FRONT PAGE COVERAGE! WRITE PRESS RELEASES!!!!
- Hand out oversized shopping bags at the door with the year's schedule printed on the side. Most people (especially crafters) save oversized bags in particular. Make sure website information is clearly on the side too! Also, offer free electricity/extra space to any vendor who supplies a door/raffle prize of at least the value of the elec/space.
- Have attendees fill out a form (complete with phone #s, addresses, and e-mails) as their raffle entry, and after the show compile a mail/e-mail/call list for future shows in that area.
- Cultivate your vendor relationships. Find out which vendors you would definitely like to see back again, and make sure you take some time out of the hectic show day to talk to them. Seriously. Answer their e-mails as promptly as possible, and let them know you want them in your show. I e-mail every promoter before I'll do a show with them. If they are attentive and responsive, I mail out the check. If not, I look for another show (there are now 4 promoters who I will never do a show with because of bad communications). Do them inexpensive favors - like give him/her a hot dog for lunch or something (a $2 hot dog is a very low investment, if it's going to influence the decision of whether or not a high quality vendor will repeat your shows - and if the vendor doesn't come back anyhow, you've only spent the $2 once). I do all the shows I can attend with one promoter solely because she's such a nice lady - even 2 shows where I know I'm only barely going to break even. Great shows are made with consistently good vendors.
Prove to the vendors you care about their businesses: Always have a \"report card\" that includes a spot where vendors can complain (a \"what can we do to make the show better\" section), review them after the show, and send out an e-mail that summarizes what those report cards said (shows the promoter listens), and how the promoter hopes to address those issues for the next show or show season (promoter is working to improve).
- Or, include that information in a quarterly newsletter (for both vendors and customers). Invite repeating vendors to write articles about their craft or business - that way you minimize the amount of writing you have to do yourself. Put tests and raffles (perhaps a leftover elec/space donation) in your newsletters periodically to see how many people are actually reading it, and to make them want to *keep* reading it.
- Turn craft shows into events. Name them. Particularly for multiple day shows, pay somebody to teach a craft there. Link the name to some local historical event. Link it to some humanitarian cause (perhaps by auctioning or raffling off some of the \"free space/elec\" donations, or donating a percentage of the show's earnings) - you should even be able to wrangle some free help by doing this, which would go a LONG way in offsetting its cost! Actually, the benefits of doing this are endless - most venues will offer discounted rates to be able to link their own names to the \"charitable\" cause. It's truly a win-win-win situation. Linking to a cause also increases the likelihood a newspaper will run an article.
- Offer to swap mail/e-mail lists with your vendors. Even if the vendor is new and doesn't have one yet, if he's smart, he'll be building one - and be more inclined to share it with you if you share yours with him. Offer to do the same with magazines, craft stores, anybody.
Ummm... this \"quick\" reply has taken me past my bedtime, so this'll have to do. Ideas I'm long on. It's sales I could use more of! - AJ Kitt - Kitt Arts
I think that the promoters of the shows should be stricter. We have paid high money for booths & spaces at shows and when we got there, there were home party type booths filling the area along with Philipine and Hispanic people with snakes, etc - made from fancy cloth - definitely not made by the sellers, but imported. A lot of the vendors order their items from wholesalers and pass the items off as their own. We even had one crafter at the Oakridge Festival in Attica Ohio show up with a booth of items from the dollar store - princess wands, etc. These shows were all advertised as handmade and we even had to sign the application stating we would adhere to the rules. Nothing was done and these people appear year after year. I think that the crafters need to complain a little more and that the promoters definitely need to follow by the contracts they issued.
I have only participated in 1 juried show so far, but have been in quite a few shows that allowed retailing and I feel that the \"retailers\" have hurt my sales.
I feel that retailing at juried shows cheapens the shows and costs us \"true\" crafters in sales; and costs the promoters in that those of us who truly hand craft our product do not want to be associated these fake juried shows. I think it would be not only acceptable, but necessary to ask retailers to pack up and get out before letting them sully the \"Hand Crafted\" label we proudly boast of our products.
As for advertising, all of the methods mentioned are fantastic ways of promotion. I, however, do not get the newspaper but do listen to the radio. I have heard some of my best sales shows advertised on the radio but have not seen it mentioned as one of the primary means of promotion. Also, many local news stations will promote the shows on a \"Community Calendar\" for a small fee or for free. I have learned about lots of local events on the local Noon News broadcasts.
In responce, the trouble with the juried events are that the vendors dont send pictures of everything they're selling, just a few. Vendors just need to make sure they have a couple items for their pictures and seem to be getting away with the rest of it. I like the opinions of someone walking the event and making notes of the people with the imports. One thing though, the promoters seem to like money. Do you think they overlook the imports? If they (the promoters) dont want to upset anyone or make a scene, they could just use their list of violators as a reference for the next year.
Louis - As the past and current president of a group of 25 crafters in my area, we put on a Christmas show every year and one advertising avenue I did not see mentioned was using the early morning local news shows to spotlight the event. (I am talking about the 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. morning shows) They are often looking for new and different things to spice up their morning broadcasts.
Also, several of our cable TV channels run regular promos listing local events such as 5K races, local museum exhibits, etc. and they are usually willing to add craft events to this list as well. You simply need to send them a standard press release. Hope these suggestions are helpful.
Morning, While I think the ideas on advertising are good as listed, my biggest concern seems to be the items for sale that are obviously not handmade. Last year I went to 2 large craft shows and was next to knives and replacement windows at one and knives (again) and Chinese imported fur animals at another. I've also been within hearing distance of sales of \"pashmina\" shawls (real ones are imported anyway) that I had seen on the streets of NY just the week before. The promoter said that as long as the item is \"made in America\" she will rent them a space. When did Made in America become synonymous with handcrafted by the artist/vendor? It's harder to identify handcrafted from imported when it comes to beaded jewelry, whether it's stones, pearls or metals. I guess it's up to the promoter to decide what kind of show they want to put on and then make all vendors stick to the policy. Having to show pictures of raw materials, your workroom and you making the items helps in the decision making.
Hello , I find the resale more & more every show I go to . Maybe several pictures of the work room ,arrea ,different times . Also storage of product [lose inventory]. Being a crafter it seems like a pain to do but if they are a true crafter we must protect ourfeild that we have built . Thats why somany want to infultrat,[looking for the free ride] thanks for caring Flo Hudak
My suggestion for keeping retail out of juried shows ....
require specific pictures with the application
1. of the artist at work
2. of the items be sold in various stages of production. For example, a fused glass artist would be required to show a picture of the \"raw\" glass, picture of a piece assembled prior to firing and a picture of the piece after firing. For a beaded jewelry artist, they would be required to show a picture of the beads prior to assembly, the piece in progress (which would also include the artist) and finally the finished piece.
3. of the tools used in production
A true artist will take the time to prepare and take the required pictures because they are proud of their work. The \"fake\" artist won't want to spend the time nor the energy and move onto another show. Just a thought .....
At Last! Subjects I want to make a few comments on! First, I would like to thank you for asking for our ideas. Perhaps your next request for ideas should start with ...
\"YOU (Artists & Crafters) ARE THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN EXPERIENCING POOR TRAFFIC THROUGH FESTIVALS AND ART EVENTS, INEFFICIENT EVENT PLANNER ADVERTISING AND POOR SALES DUE TO 'VENDORS' SHARING SPACE NEXT TO YOU. IT IS UP TO YOU TO LET THE EVENT PLANNERS KNOW YOUR IDEAS, YOUR COMPLAINTS AND THAT YOU WILL NOT PARTICIPATE IN THEIR NEXT ANNUAL EVENT IF THEY WILL NOT CORRECT CERTAIN PROBLEMS.\"
The first thing that should be done is to drop the word \"VENDOR\" from those events that are supposed to be featuring ARTISTS & CRAFTERS, especially juried events. We had to ask the promoter at a local annual municipal event to stop referring to us on her hand mike as vendors ... we were watching people complain about pricing on handmade art because they thought they were at a Flea Market - NOT an art exhibit. This same show had also allowed vendors who were selling .....
We are ARTISTS ... even if what we create cannot be entered in a Juried Event - i.e., CRAFTS. If we, as crafter's, are buying our working materials from any source (local art stores, catalog or Internet sources) and then using those items and our time and talent to create a truly unique piece of art, then we should be referred to as such.
Additionally - and especially here in Florida - crafter's should be able to share space. If I decide that I want to have only half a table with my custom handmade creations so that my best friend can also exhibit her handmade items, then the promoter should take our application monies. We could not participate in a show we've been in for the last three years because the new 'promoter' being used by our local municipal staff has decided that the display had to be created by only ONE artist.
No space should be allowed for any vendor who is selling products that are offered through home parties. No space should be sold to people who make up and sell GIFT BASKETS that are filled with pre-purchased foreign-made products, toys and perfumes. But, this is happening at a lot of Art Festivals - especially those held by churches and municipal planners.
Events should also have a limited number of artists in each craft form. The last four shows that my best friend and I participated in had 60% of their space sold to beaders - and then placed novices next to experienced and very talented jewelry artists. Right in the middle of all that was a vendor from a wholesaler, who sucked up most of the sales and booked her calendar with house parties for the next four months. The customer didn't want to pay for novice (poor) work or too much for the really good creative jewelry pieces when they could get inexpensive home sale pieces.
This same show had oversold spaces as well. We were, literally, back to back ... climbing over each other to get out of our space to talk with potential customers. They had allowed vendors who should have been at flea markets with their 'art from other countries' ... i.e., handmade rugs, shawls, oil/acrylic paintings, toys, magnets, etc. If it wasn't made HERE in the USA, it should not be allowed in an Art Festival/Exhibit.
WITH REGARD TO ADVERTISING IDEAS:
Many of our local event promoters promise newspaper advertising that is wasted money with today's consumer using the Internet or TV as a source for current events.
There is so much junk mail crammed into our boxes lately, that we all tend to pick out the most important (bills and letters) and just toss the rest away. I have found the most effective direct mail pieces to be those designed to appear as hand-addressed invitations that spark an interest in opening ... flyers stuck in the local Penny Pincher get tossed out before anyone ever sees them.
Our local municipal event planner gave each artist several poster-like flyers that we could take to local businesses and post on doors. That worked better than newspaper ads that no one ever saw. You would be surprised how many fast food places will let you put a stack of small (half page flyers) on their counters near the cash register - especially if you print their coupon on the back of your flyer. If you design a piece like this - and get the store manager to use a month long expiration date on the coupon - your advertising can be out at least a month before your actual art exhibit. Try to get your flyers into the local art supply stores too - those store managers know that the more handcrafted items you sell, the more times you will return there for supplies.
Corner street signs don't work if they are not put out until the morning of the actual event. As a former roadway sign painter, all artists should know that driver's only have 4-6 seconds to look away at a road sign (depending on the speed limit on that particular road) and that sign should be simple and CLEAN in design AND you should not have to look DOWN at it - taking your eyes away from the dashboard level of your car. White backgrounds do NOT work to catch driver's attention ... use NEON colors and a large san serif typeface -- easier to see and read quickly!
Speaking of 'road signs' ...
Design a very simple, clean look flyer and print TWO COPIES out on your computer on NEON green, yellow or orange cardstock. Take those flyers to your local office supply store and have them laminated. Mount them with clear packing tape on the OUTSIDE of your REAR SIDE car windows two days before a local event. Do your errands ... as you drive to the post office, grocery, doctor's office, deliver the kids to sports practice, etc., other driver's will see the advertisement. It does well to get CAUGHT AT RED LIGHTS!
Artists who create home decor pieces should plant a friend with flyers outside of home improvement stores on the day of the actual Art Festival, as well as get flyers/invitations to all the local design stores/centers. Designers are always looking for accent pieces ... they are your PERFECT customer. Get a stack of flyers into your local real estate offices too. You may even get a local realtor to pay for all or part of your direct mail festival announcement if their ad can appear on the back. From experience - and as a former licensed Michigan realtor - we chose specific neighborhoods to 'farm' for listings and spent a large part of our advertising dollar sending direct mail into those neighborhoods.
In Florida, we have many, many contained or gated communities. We are all (as residents) members of homeowners' associations. Many of these associations have been creating web sites for us to access for repair orders, suggestions that benefit the community and ANNOUNCEMENTS. Our community also has a newsletter that property owners can place articles and announcements in. They also sell advertising space to outside vendors in order to pay for the quarterly newsletter mailings. Artists should also ask about flyers in the weekly church bulletins handed out at the end of Sunday services.
I hope this response to your request is helpful to the many other artists out there. Many years ago, I was a typesetter - creating the actual art for printers. We did work for many large advertising agencies. Today, I use my talent to help friends design their own advertising materials so many of these suggestions have worked. We've already tried them! I do a direct mail elegant-look invitation to selected neighbors in my community (and others) just before events that I am going to participate in. [I design and create holiday door banners, stationery items and personal cards, hand-woven ornaments, custom boat flags, refrigerator magnets, etc.] I also design direct mail pieces for my husband's product [please feel free to visit our web site - http://www.myc-logs.com - which we also created ourselves] and have found that direct mail works better than expensive magazIne advertising.
Feel free to copy out and paste whatever suggestions I may have offered into your very informative newsletter. - P. Taormina
As far as advertising, it seems like you have it pretty well covered. The only other thing I can think of is some type of community involvement - especially kids. For example, have the kids do a car wash. Their parents will come, their neighbors will come, and hopefully walk the show. Or have the kids walk around selling food (from the cafeteria) - again, hopefully friends and family will want to support their kids and come to the show. That is about all I can think of but if anything else comes to mind I will email you.
As far as buy / sell .... Louis I am at a loss. Our last show, which is usually one of our best was horrible. I did walk a bit of it and saw tons of retail jewelry (I make jewelry) ... It was not even deceptive .... rings, sterling silver necklaces, etc ! Not only does it take away from your sales, but it cheapens the show and the overall attitude of the show.
I think if the promoters took it more seriously, ei, ask for pictures of you in your workshop working, and receipts of your wholesale goods. Also, to walk the show and send people home who are not selling handcrafted items. I think that many promoters now are more interested in the money they can make rather than keeping the show authentic. Many vendors know that they can put out their retail wares and know one will even question them. I was at a show where there was a jewelry vendor who was obviously a buy / seller, and I asked her if she had made all of her items and she said yes. I could not believe that she lied right to my face, but I guess that is the problem too, if the person says they made it how do you argue???? Again, the promoter must be vigilant if they want a quality show.
Thanks Louis for all of your hard work. Please let me know if I can try to give you any other insight. Kimberli
My Husband and I are Jewelry makers. We both make our own jewelry including our own glass beads (lampwork), ceramic beads and we also do metalsmithing. We make EVERYTHING ourselves by hand. We are regular vendors weekly at the Montrose and Monrovia Farmers Markets. We have a full subscription on your site and because of your site we have applied to a few art festivals. We really appriciate everything you are doing for the community.
We can't help much with the advertising part - sounds like everyone is doing all they can already. Maybe also advertise in college newspapers and parenting magazines. Many markets have a \"kids area\" pony rides etc.
Our ideas in regards to RETAILERS!!!!!!!
1. Actual trusted Craftsman for each category should be assigned to the jury. Sort all the applications by category and assign for example 2 painters (or jewelry, or ceramics etc.) to re-view thier category. Include a jury memeber to work with them or have them make a preliminary pile and then pass the preliminary apps to the jury members. This can be accomblished a number of ways. AND if the craftsman / artists don't want retailers under selling them and cheaping out makets and festivals / events they will provide this service to the jury for free. I know we would!! This will also bring the community closer together. This will also educate the jury members.
2. \"Retail Police\" - Assign craftsman / artists or Jury members to (like you said) actually walk around - clipboard in hand with staff event jacket or shirt to survey each booth. Some fairs are rather large and would need multiple staff members. \"Hello - I am event staff / jury and I am checking everyone wares\". (whatever is authoritive but not assholish). If they suspect retail mechandise they either need to have the actual authority to remove the person or report to however is in chage and then that person NEEDS TO HAVE THE BALLS TO REMOVE THE RETAILER FROM THE FAIR! The people running the fairs need to realize that if there is an empty spot in thier fair that this is doing the community a service and not get hung up that there may be some empty spots. They can have back up vendors that do deserve to be there that didn't get choosen (waiting list etc - charge them 1/2 price for only being there for the second day etc.) They have to be serious about these retailers. Don't let the retails (some of them can be intimidating) run the show! Show the retailers you are SERIOUS!! and they will probably NOT apply to that show again.
I can only speak for Jewelry category. All the jewelry vendors I know that make thier own product always have thier tools on site. We always have our tools and a number of supplies for custom orders etc. I hope this helps and if you would like us to elaborate on any given point we will be glad to do so. Again - thank you
Charge an extremely high admission fee to the crafters. Eg: if the event would normally charge $100.00 charge $400.00 with the understanding, if you met the criteria, you would be reimbursed $300.00 the day of the show. If you did not meet the criteria the $400.00 stands. That probably would not deter them (the retailers) for the immediate show, but it they had any brains, they would not sign up again.
The refund could be done in several ways:
1) The promoter could refund the money from their checking acct
2) The crafter could write two checks..The $100.00 deposited the $300.00 check returned to them that day.
You said the following is one of the things to do to help fight imported/non-handmade items:
I think this burden should also rest with the promoter and a form for this should be included in the vendors' kits. If the promoter does not take a more active role in this, then the vendors can step up by doing a petition-type form and pass it around to other vendors during the event. The petition should state that if the promoter does nothing to prevent/stop this, then vendors will go elsewhere.
This is a strong reaction, but more likely to have positive results from promoters who are allowing these tactic to continue. -Hope this helps!
I think that often the promoters don't really care if stuff is handmade as long as it fools the public. They would not want to have to deal with irrate customers that day but later on when people realize that they purchased something that was produced in China they don't return to that show. I used to be a promoter for a Christmas boutique and some of the other promoters in our business wanted to add imported stuff so they could make more money. Eventually we lost all our legitimate crafters and our customers got tired of the same stuff they could buy at CVS. Its easier to fill your show if you aren't too fussy. IN the long run you will not profit from taking junk. One way to get more honest to goodness crafters is to not charge so much for the spaces because we can't pay as much as retailers can. Why? Because there is a limit to what my two hands can make and make well. Its strange that the times that I have actually seen a promoter ask someone to go have been at shows that are not too hard to get in which surpried me. A show on the boardwalk in Wildwood is the last place I would expect the promoter to tell someone that their stuff is junk and to pack it up. We cheered her on because it doesn't happen much. I always tell the promoter when I see things that are not handcrafted and also tell the customers that I know to complain to the promoter. The worst thing to do is to ignor it and keep on doing those shows. I know that many crafters are very concerned but are sick of our comments being ignored. Thanks for the opportunity to vent on this topic. From Carole Schmitt
I love it when along with my acceptance to a show, the promoter encloses really attractive postcards for the event. I pass these out to my customers at other shows I do in the area. They are also great to scan and add to your web site.
Notice I used the word attractive, however. It's pretty easy to spot the promoter who skimp on this and then it makes me aware that they are really not acting in my best interest. It's kind of a case of do it well or don't bother.
Our products of home made, hand packed gourmet food mixes. I know the people personally that make these mixes. These are handcrafted. They do hire help to fill the orders cause they have a lot of orders. To know that I know this folks could check out the address and the phone number of their shop. So their may be a way to check out where the crafts are coming from and their background. Maybe this will help to spur some ideas or thoughts. - Doris
I am a wood turner and quit making and selling pens due to imports. Most promoters acecpt the word of the vendor that it is hand made by them. I look for things that are turned that are exact matches. I can make a set of chair or table legs that match , but they will always have finite differences. More and more shows even when you have to send slides are juried by check. There are too many shows competeing for a reduced amount of money due to the economy.
Hey Louis, It was nice to meet you in Northampton! I collect my own e-mailing list w/a cool red leather(like) embossed notebook during shows & then do e-mails before my shows. This works pretty good for me. I would like to see more complete juried shows, PA Guild, etc. Happy Crafting! - Frantastix - Fran Kohlbrenner
Street signs at critical major intersections at shows put up the DAY OF the show seems to help. If a sign has been out for a while, people won't even look at it. Also, BIG signs with as little wording as possible. Cars driving by shouldn't have to WORK to read the sign.
I resell pottery made in Poland. It's very high quality. I NEVER try to get in a handmade-only show. I NEVER break the rules on this yet the true \"crafters\", even those with church-basement-stuff, are trying to keep me out of shows. Why? I don't bring down the quality of the show. Even for shows that let in retail, I encourage promotors to jury. Jury even the resell stuff and you won't wind up with junk.
And stop complaining about us resellers like we are a plague or something. As long as we stick to the shows we're allowed in, BACK OFF.
I have not done many shows, but as a consumer, the first place I look for an event is online. Second to that, seeing street signs is an excellent way for me to find out about things (although I've only seen one event in my area use street signs). And by street signs I mean a banner above an intersection / section of roadway. It also seems like promoters should be able to easily persuade local businesses to put up flyers or carry brochures/flyers for local events. After all, more people coming to the area will benefit businesses as well as the vendors at the event.
I make macrame jewelry and accessories. As far as I know, these HAVE to be handmade. There's no way around it. They may not be handmade in America, but they are handmade somewhere. They are just usually the sort that are quick to handmake; a three strand braid, for instance. They don't look nearly as good as the more time consuming pieces, but can be sold for much less. Sorry I couldn't help out in that area.
Advertising...I think they all know what to do. I think some do not put money into advertising for the obvious reason: $$$$.
Buy/Sell...Such an issue and so hard to get rid of. I personally know of a vendor that sent promoters of several shows here in Florida for 2 items that we vendors know to be buy/sell. They are the Root Baskets and Wood Roses. Any fool could find these items on the internet. The result regarding the Root Baskets was not only were they still in those shows, at one there were 3 people selling them!! The wood roses are still out there but getting scarcer at the shows. I would say that many promoters don't really care. It's become jury by check. Some comments from promoters are \"If I don't have buy/sell I don't have a show. We have been asked for pics of us making our items. This is so easy to fake. It is also true that companies are supplying vendors with all the info they need to get past jury. I suppose at this point the only true test is to have the person make it infront of you. We all know that won't work. For us my husband makes his jewelry at the show so there is no question of what we sell. I will say that we have surprised many customers with the fact that he actually makes his stuff. That alone makes me sad that the public's impression of the industry is that we don't make anything anymore. I have been asked by customers\"Where do you buy your things?\" When I say \"He makes it right here\" they are shocked. How sad is that. I think that when it is spotted at a show the vendor should be removed on the spot This will get everyone's attention and maybe if this is done enough it will discourage others from bringing it in. Applications will have to be very explicit about the rules. I know several vendors have threatened lawsuits. I think shows need to use their vendors to help prove the buy/sell. I think we know more than most if not all promoters what is buy/sell. I still believe if you throw them out during the show it will make a huge statement.
I have a booth at approx. 2-3 shows per year all juried. two are \"mail in your photos with the fee\" and one is \"mail in your fee but show up in person on a certain date to show us what you have\". I love the one where I take my art in and talk to them in person about my work. I can show them in person that \"I'' made it and this his how I do it. And they ask also! This Hyde Park show asks for an application with fee. then there is a date approx 2 weeks after app deadline where you have to take your stuff in for them to view in person.
If other promotors had the artists, etc. bring work in to be judged in person...they could weed out the artists, etc. that are not using handmade items from the start.
There are too, too many shows out there to try to limit what someone brings to a show. The age of \"hand-made\" shows only is dying - at least here in my state. So many show people don't know how to put on good shows, thus attendance is loosy and none of the vendors make booth rent. People want quality things. There are some people that can make quality hand-made items, but most can't. Time is the main problem. No one has the time any more to make something hand-made then most people at shows won't pay for the item. Lots of people go to shows to get ideas so they can go back home and make it. I've had people in my booth tell me \"Oh we can go to Wal-Mart or Garden Ridge and get a wreath that costs less than that.\"
Signs that aren't the size of garage sale signs don't work. Promoters need larger signs that have some red or some neon color on them. They have to be put out 2 weeks before the shows. No day of putting up signs. Promoters that have people sign up for a drawing works. You get their home address, or email address and send them a remainder about the next show. - Beth
A lot of promoters don't advertise enough, especially the small, church/fire dept./civic organizations. That's not what they do full time so they don't really know the ins & outs of promoting an event. Possibly when they sign up with you, you could email them some tips you have garnered over the years on how to promote an event. Smaller promoters need to get out in the community and put fliers in stores, use local TV & radio to promote, put info on community access stations on cable, if at a church have the priest or minister mention it, make some LARGE signs and put them on major thorofares in town, and start promoting a month in advance, not a week.
As you have stated, there are more and more shows with retail vendors and those of us who design and handmake our products seem to be at their mercy. Many promoters really don't care, they just want to make money. So, if you don't like it, too bad. I have noticed there are more and more of these \"parking lot art shows\" which look more like flea markets, and that reflects badly on good art shows.
I only do a limited number of shows a year, and I do pick and choose those ones that do have quality, hand made products. I have done several shows that obvious retail things and if the promoter doesn't ask them to pack up and leave, then I don't do that show again. On the other hand, I am loyal to promoters who are professional and reliable, and always encourage the public to attend these.
In my experience the promoters don't care...all they care about is getting their money for the space.
Hi Louis. I make handcrafted jewelry. Here are a few things promoters can look for:
1. I often use handcrafted lampwork glass beads in my designs. Although it is getting harder to detect the difference (because the Chinese are getting very good at this!), there are a lot of artists that use \"mass-produced\" lampwork glass beads instead of the ones painstakingly crafted one by one by \"self-representing artists\" (check out http://www.selfrepresentingartists.com/ for more info on this topic). The largest difference is the quality and the depth of design. Many of the beads manufactured in China include designs that are inside clear glass (e.g. swirling colors), as opposed to designs that are tactile and sit \"on top\" of the bead. Notice I said \"many\", mostly because the Chinese are also getting pretty good at manufacturing designs with glass on top of the glass. I'm not sure how to better describe this.
Self-representing artists -- and they are all over the world -- anneal the beads they make. That means they cook them up in a kiln (most of them computer controlled) or an oven for certain periods of time to fire the designs. Once the beads cool they remove them, and then clean the bead holes of the mostly-white material that remains in the bead hole. This is residue of a material that is sprayed on the steel mandrel they use when making the actual beads -- its is called \"bead release\".
If the beads are not kiln annealed properly, they will break when dropped, or if they bump up against something. For a jewelry designer, this is the worst possible thing that could happen, so as a designer, I do not want to be purchasing beads that will break. I know that beads made by self-representing artits will not normally break, however, the Chinese beads do break because they are not properly annealed.
The bead release is really just a nuisance, but another aspect of quality. As a designer, I much prefer, indeed demand, that the beads I purchase have been properly cleaned.
There are also unscrupulous dealers marketing the Chinese beads. I say unscrupulous because they lie in their marketing practices, and also they copy the designs of self-representing artists and then pass them off as their own. They have done this on eBay and on websites, where they have actually stolen photographs off the website of an SRA and then put them on their website, and claim the design as their own. If someone orders those beads, they will find they do not receive the beads as pictured, and the beads will break.
There have been so very many heated discussions about this on the web, I just can't even begin to go into the subject. Suffice it to say it is a hot topic.
So how does a promoter recornize \"mass produced\" beads? Well, several ways. By the price the individual is asking for the product. If a promoter sees a beautiful bracelet and the price is only $20, then I can tell you for sure the beads are mass produced and cheaper than those offered by SRA. For instance, a single bead from an SRA can cost anywhere from $5 to $50.Just considering the $5 beads, and using maybe only 3 of those, together with crystals and silver, and maybe semi-precious gemstones, the cost of the bracelet alone would exceed $20. So price is definitely a clue.
Quality is the next clue. Check out the following pictures. Example 1 is a great example of mass-produced beads (this is an item on eBay, it closes in 2 hours, and the bid is currently $.01 for over 1000 beads). See the white stuff around each hole? Thats the bead release that has not been cleaned out. Example 2 is an even better picture of this (this item is on eBay, closes in 2 days, current bid is $.01 for 30 beads). The middle of these beads should be clear except for the very thing wire running through them. The white that you see is bead release. Pretty beads, yes, but quality beads made by an SRA, no.
Examples 3 (another item on eBay, closes in 3 hours, and the current bid is $260.75 for the set, or nearly $14 per bead) and 4 (on eBay, closing in 2 days, prices now about $20 per bead) are examples of beads made by a SRA.Quite a difference.
2. Many people at art and craft fairs bring pre-manufactured jewelry, made in the Far East mostly, but also in some European countries. These are the people that have TONS of jewelry, mostly earrings and pendants that are made with sterling silver and gemstones. When you see the TONS of stuff, it is a dead give-away. The artists that work in silversmithing do not bring tons of stuff, and they bring quality designs that sometimes sell for hundreds if not thousands of dollars for a single piece. These mass produced items? Very cheap. \"Too good to be true\" cheap.
Many of these people sign up as a certain type of artist, and then they bring that art. But then they also just happen to have in the trunk of the car, all of this other stuff, mass produced jewelry. This happened to me last year on a Sunday. Saturday the artist was showing drawings. Sunday nearly 3/4 of the booth was filled with mass-produced jewelry, selling for much less than my handcrafted jewelry.
I could go on and on, but I'll stop here. There are several things a promoter can do:
1. Allow the artists to bring ONLY what has been juried. No jurying of drawings, and then they just happen to bring jewelry too.
2. Learn to recognize the mass-produced stuff, the retail stuff, the (what we artists call) buy-and-sell stuff, and don't let it in. Its really not all that difficult. I spoke about jewelry, but what about the \"fairy\" artists? The ones that have cute little headbands that young girls can wear, or streamers, and that kind of stuff. That is buy-and-sell. What about the so-called painters that have multiple copies of the same \"painted\" pictures? They are mass-reporducing prints and embellishing them.
3. Make the artists that break rule #1 leave. Period. Make them leave the show, and do not allow them to do the show again.
4. Have the artists describe the processes they use in making whatever it is they want to display. Have them provide the prices of the pieces juried. Look very closely at the quality. I can spot retail from about 60 feet away and only because my eyesight isn't any better than that.
5. Identify the buy-and-sell artists at shows and ask them to leave. Simply do not allow them to display their wares.
I have no idea if this will help you or not, but just my two cents. - Patricia Jones
Many people accuse me of buy-sell (even \"good friends\"). I just invite them to see my shop etc and they believe that I made the product. I scroll saw pictures. This is now done by lasers and they are making sales that I should be getting. The promoters, even Peddler, who I think is worse than the average, cater to buy/sell.
You as a craft lister should get a good list of vendors that hand make their product and sell this to promoters. You are trying to sell to the crafter, who is already beat down by people like you and the \"promoters\". - Gary Shankles
with so many shows to pick from it is important for the promoter to advertize what type of products they will be showcasing. many shows just list the dates the name of the show and the location. this is fine, but does not generate new buyers to the site. I am constantly attending so called art and craft shows only to find commerical products be sold. Promoters should have this listed in their prospectus.
promoters now must get into the digital age and ask for email addresses so that reminders can go out to past buyers. each show can have an email signup saying if people wish to be notified of the event. if the show is charging a gate fee a coupon should be attached lowing the admission price for the person and his or her group.
the promoter should know by now that fine craft and fine art is general purchased by people in their late 30s to late 50s and that market should be targeted. have kids activities may generate gate count but does not generate the same number of buyers and as an artist I want to know if kids events are being offered.
poster put into business are expensive but they generate excitement and are a constant reminder of the upcoming event.
newspaper ads do not generated the same response as they once did. and radio helps only during the day before the show and the day of.
Gate charges decrease the number of people through the door and they also generate a poor attitude towards purchasing anything else. promoters need to say that a gate is being charged. to many times I have heard I do not have to pay at any other retail store to buy.
signs put out directing people to the event, having transportation to and from the event, and giving the buying a pleasant experience is what the promoters need to do.
to many promoter just take the funds and mark the space. it is left up to you to do the rest.
artists and crafters need to send out reminder emails, develope a list. we use to keep mailing list, but email is free. - Pam Sharp - prairie skullpture
Louis, Many promoters have signs, but they are often written in small print, too wordy and can't be read from a traveling car. I recommend a sign with very few words in the largest print possible; for example:
DEC 12; 10-4
5 CENTRAL ST
Another sign with big, bold arrows can also help.
In my humble opinion, promoters who want to keep out buy/sell do so. I've been done several non-juried events where there are only hand-crafted items because the promoters screened applicants. Not only do they ask me what I will bring, but I also ask them if there will be buy/sell or home-party products being sold. - Hope this helps. - Anne Raisis
Is it possible for promoters to ask to see receipts for components of the items in question at the jurying stage? It would be obvious to the promoter that the items are not handmade if the vendor balks at producing receipts.
And I've had promoters tell me that they have a certain percentage of retail \"at the customers request\". I doubt customers going to a craft fair \"request\" retail vendors and I refuse to do shows where the promoters tell me that. - Thanks, Mary - Bear Chick Originals
RE ADVERTISING – DUE TO LOCAL RESTRICTIONS ON POSTING SIGNS ON PUBLIC PROPERTY, SEVERAL OF THE SHOWS THAT I DO RENT THE LARGE DIGITAL PROGRAMABLE SIGNS THAT ARE ON TRAILERS. THEY ARE PLACED ON THE PROPERTY WHERE FESTIVAL/SHOW IS HELD. SOME HAVE THEM OUT FOR A WEEK PRIOR TO THE EVENT. SOME F-S-S ONLY. THEY ARE THE SAME TYPE OF SIGN SEEN ON THE HIGHWAYS AND ROADS. BECAUSE THEY ARE ON PRIVATE PROPERTY NO PERMITS OR TRAFFIC FLOW PATTERNS ARE REQUIRED. THE SIGN COMPANIES SETUP AND REMOVE AS WELL AS PROGRAM THE MESSAGE. MY PERSONAL OPINION IS THAT THE SIGN(S) MUST BE UP AT LEAST BY FRIDAY TO CAPTURE ATTENTION OF PEOPLE THAT WOULDN’T BE COMING BY ON THE WEEKEND. THIS GIVES THEM A REASON TO. I HAVE RATES FROM $60.00/DAY TO $200/DAY. THEY WORK FANTASTIC! GOOGLE 'BARRICADE COMPANIES' LOCALLY.
SOME DO USE THE COUPON IS THE LOCAL EDITION OF NEWSPAPERS… THERE IS SOME RESPONSE….COULDN’T SAY THAT IT’S EFFECTIVE. I DO AGREE WITH SATURATING WITH ADVERTISING WHETHER IT’S PRINT OF MEDIA.
RE JURIED SHOWS WITH RETAIL – PROMOTERS ADMIT THAT IF THEY HAVEN’T FILLED THEIR SHOW WITH “HANDMADE” THEN IT’S OPENED TO “ALL”. CONSEQUENTLY, ADVISING A PROMOTER THAT VENDORS HAVE RETAIL ISN’T ALWAYS A WELCOMED COMMENT. HOW ABOUT A STRONGER STATEMENT (SIGNAGE) FROM THE VENDORS THAT DO MAKE ALL OF THEIR PRODUCT. I DON’T FIND MANY SHOPPERS THAT REALLY CARE – THEIR MAIN CONCERN IS PRICE AND MAY NOT KNOW OR CARE ABOUT HANDMADE VS RETAIL. SOME SHOPPERS DO CARE AND SCRUTINIZE THE MERCHANDISE CAREFULLY, EVEN ASK ME IF I MAKE ALL OF THIS.
Louis, it is my understanding that you cannot pull the \"Made in . . . ) stickers off retail pruducts. I could be wrong. But one way the organizers can judge retail is to simply go by the vender booths as they are setting up and take a look at the handcrafts/merchanedise. It is really not that hard to tell the difference. - Birdie
I have found that most silver charms and larger silver pieces are mass produced. When pictures of vendors booths come in and they show several of the same item it is likely they are retail. I know as a jewelry designer I don't like to create the same thing twice unless asked to. - aprille
Louis - I can't address the promotions part of your question, but I'll take a shot at identifying retail items in the jewlery category.
Clue -- poor or average finish.
Clue -- multiples of the same design -- studio jewelers rarely make the same item twice - at least some variaion would be normal while exploring different aspects of a concept.
Clue -- .925 stamping on silver items. The standard in the US is STER or Sterling. .925 is used overseas and found only on imported items or findings.
Clue -- pricing too low for the apparent work in the items. An american craft jeweler can not make a pair of sterling earrings and sell them for $4. Only non-american labor rates can allow for that kind of pricing.
Clue -- vendor can't explain in detail how a piece was made -- can't describe the materials or origins of them.
Clue -- manufactured findings, clasps, earhooks, etc. Although lobster clasps, cast \"Tribal Silver\" bails and toggles, etc and commonly used by beaders, studio jewelers pride themselves on making all parts of thier items. It doesn't make any sense to spend 8 or 10 hours making a pendant setting, and then sticking a $2 mass produced bail on it.
Clue -- more than one vendor in a class has the same item / design.
Clue -- if the items look like you could buy them at Wal-Mart or Kay's, you probably can. they are retail.
I don't have much to offer on the event advertising. As I have yet to see a really effective way to get people out to smaller events that don't have a long-running history within the community. But I do agree with your comments regarding the retail items at shows. One show that I do has tried to take extra steps to ensure that only handmade items were for sale. Last year they had local craftspeople that were not selling in the show (or in one case the owner of the local bead shop) walk around and talk to each one of the vendors and ask in-depth questions regarding their techniques.
I think that the best way to identify imports and non-handmade items is to require a photo of the artist in the process of making each item and probably not more than half-way finished. IF they sell more than one type of item, then they should have to send a photo of them making each and every type of item. They should not be able to send photos making the items if they haven't actually made them...however, I understand the people selling weathervanes furnished videos of folks in their shop to get around this rule, but it would cut out some buy/sellers, if not all.
Secondly, most vendors can tell you exactly what items are resale. Promoters should ask a competent vendor to quietly and discreetly peruse each booth to spot buy/sell. The promoter could then ask for either invoices or processes to be explained. I think that the problem in some cases is that the promoter doesn't really want to know. Good luck!
I make handmade bath & body products. I make everything I do from scratch. I have a few items that I create using a base, then add all my special stuff that makes the item part of my line. I see these vendors at plenty of shows that state \"handcrafted items only\". I guess since those lines, (and I'm sure there are others) are represented by independent dealers, that is how they end up at handcrafted shows. I have also seen plenty of vendors with soaps made by other companies, commercial candles - they didn't make them, and plenty of other atrocities. I expect a handmade show to really mean HAND CRAFTED items, not mass marketed lines, sold by individuals. I have dropped several shows for this reason & b/c I don't like to set up my booth, & end up displaying my beautiful line next to the made in China vendor. - Caroline Thompson - Luxury Bath & Body Essentials
HI LOUIS, I HAVE A MAJOR PROBLEM WITH THIS E-MAIL. I SELL RETAIL ITEMS, TO BE MORE SPECIFIC-CELLULAR ACCESORIES. DON'T GET ME CONFUSED WITH WHAT YOU SEE AT YOU LOCAL FLEA MARKET, MY QUALITY IS EQUAL IF NOT BETTER, THAN FLEA MARKET MERCHANTS AND IN MOST CASES - THE RETAIL STORES THEMSELVES. I'LL GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE. A MOTOROLA H500 BLUETOOTH HEADSET SELLS FOR 59.99 AT MY LOCAL VERIZON WIRELESS STORE. I SELL THE SAME THING FOR 40.00. AND BELEIVE ME I COULD GO ON AND ON WITH EXAMPLES. I DO SELL AT FLEA MARKETS AND I AM MORE EXPENSIVE THAT THE OTHER MERCHANTS SELLING CHEAPER QUALITY, BUT MY FOLLOWING IS SUCH THAT I HAVE PEOPLE CALLING ME FROM 15-20 MILES, JUST TO MAKE SURE THAT I'M THERE AND IF I HAVE THE ITEM ARE ITEMS, THAT THEY ARE SEEKING.
DON'T GET ME WRONG, I BELEIVE, THAT THERE ARE CERTAIN INSTANCES THAT RETAIL SHOULD NOT BE AT A CRAFT SHOW. BUT THIS E-MAIL IS WAY TOO MUCH. - SINCERLY, WALTER WOLOCZYJ - WIRELESS ESSENTIALS
Dont know that this is much help, but you can always pick out retail woodcarving by the high level of finish given relatively cheap price, and the characteristic tropical woods/ subject matter. I've seen places with photos displayed of the vendor carving when stuff was clearly done overseas, I imagine vendor is former commercial carver overseas, or had photo taken in shop that makes them. Not sure how you could prove it though. -Anthony
I really wish that promoters would do what they say they will do. I cannot tell you how many shows state on their applciations that they remove any items not had crafted and if most of the booth has not hand made items they will be asked to leave without a refund. I make handcrafted jewelry. I hand string every bead on every item. I asked all the time where do I buy my things. I have had to prove my photos that I actually make my things. Then I get to a show with all the stuff from China. I cannot compete with this. I have yet to see a promoter ask a vendor to leave. At most shows that would be at least half the vendors. I am now getting to the point I do not even want to do anymore shows. Then promoters keep upping the application fees and letting more out of country items in. Bottom line is this is hurting all of us. I am almost tempted to make a list of all the shows I do that allow this to happen and post it on a forum somewhere telling others not to do the show. - Thank you for letting me respond to this. - Dianna - Ms Gingers Beads
Louis, One thing I have observed about commercially make jewelry or other items--not make by crafter--is the quantity of items they have for sale. When I see trays and trays or boxes and boxes of items brought in by a vendor, I have my doubts that the crafter/vendor actually put together or made the items themselves. Most of the commercially made items have no uniqueness--everything is pretty much the same style. - Catherine Taylor
Advertising- Put all the events on the local television stations websites in the community calendars. Also, have someone write an article for the local newspapers, along with a picture or two for publication before the events. If dollars can be spent, put advertisements on billboards along busy highways, and/or city buses that have advertisements on them. Put posters up anywhere and everywhere.
Keeping retail out-Ask for 'in process pictures\", or pictures of the person working on the piece in their shop. Items that are too uniform in size, color, looks, are most likely retail. Someone does have to go around prior to the show and examine the pieces. The \"too perfect\" look of the item. - Sid & Renee Meyers
As far as Event Advertising is concerned - one problem that I have seen is that there needs to be research done on the date picked for the event. I have seen shows planned on the same day as the opening of little league baseball - or the same time as another school is having those. That should be a BIG RED FLAG. Two events should never overlap in the same town. One will pull business from the other.
Another idea is proper signage around the event. Sometimes, the sign they use blends in with the scenery. Bright neon colors, balloons, etc... I have made my own signs and placed them outside at a slow event! - Hope this helps
T h i n k - a b o u t - t h i s . . . .
b a r c o d e s - s t i l l - o n - p r o d u c t s .
B o x e s w i t h i m p o r t l a b e l s .
S a m e d e s i g n o n s a m e g a r m e n t ( I d o c u s t o m e m b r o i d e r y ) a n d a t l e a s t 2 0 g a r m e n t s i n s a m e c o l o r , s i z e , e t c .
L a s t y e a r a t a j u r i e d s h o w t h e r e w e r e 3 c r a f t e r s i n t h e s a m e r o o m w i t h i d e n t i c a l m e r c h a n d i s e , , , a n d I m e a n i d e n t i c a l ,
S a m e t h i n g s t h a t I s e e i n t h e c a t a l o g u e s I g e t . . . .
t h a t s h o w h a s b e e n o n e o f t h e b e s t f o r 3 0 y r s . . .
t h i s p a s t y e a r i t w a s a l o s s a n d I w o n ' t b e g o i n g b a c k .
T h e y s a y a n y v e n d o r s e r i o u s l y m i s r e p r e s e n t i n g t h e i r p r o d u c t w i l l b e a s k e d t o l e a v e .
O h y e a h ? T h e y d i d n ' t e v e n a s k t h e g u y w h o b r o u g h t h i s d o g i n t o t h e s c h o o l t o l e a v e u n t i l s o m e o n e w i t h a s e v e r e a l l e r g y h a d t o l e a v e h e r b o o t h a n d c o u l d n ' t c o n d u c t b i z . . .
h e w a s t h e s a m e o n e w i t h t h e i m p o r t s a n d h i s b o x e s w e r e s t i l l i n h i s b o o t h f o r a l l t o s e e . . .
T h i s m a y j u s t b e a l o s i n g i s s u e .
M a n y a v e r a g e p r i c e d s h o w s a r e \" j u r i e d b y c h e c k \" a n d t h e r e a l l y g o o d o n e s ( J o y c e E n d e e a n d C a s t l e b e r r y h e r e i n N e w E n g l a n d )
a r e a p p r o a c h i n g $ 2 5 0 . 0 0 - 3 2 5 . 0 0 f o r 2 d a y s . . . o u t o f m y p r i c e r a n g e .
D H s t i l l t r i e s f o r 1 0 x c o s t . . . c a n ' t c o n v i n c e h i m t h a t t o d a y i t i s a t b e s t 6 - 8 t i m e s c o s t .
S o h e s a y s t h a t m a y b e i t i s t i m e t o d o i t f r o m a w e b s i t e a n d o n l y . . . r e p e a t o n l y d o t h e f e w t h a t w e d o w e l l a t .
W e u s e d t o d o 2 0 - 3 0 s h o w s a y e a r . . . w e a r e n o w d o w n t o p r o b a b l y 1 2 . . . . f m d 3 6 i n N H
Promoters can make up fliers and allow vendors access to them via a web site or email. Then the vendors can help to spread the word by posting the fliers in places they frequent. Schools, work places, grocery stores etc.
If the event is at a school how about having older kids or parents outside with signs? If it is a HOT day they could offer free lemonade to get people into the parking lot.
Maybe coordinate with other groups at the school who are doing car wash type events. If the people can go inside to a craft fair while their car is being washed it will take them that next step. Plus, the car wash will benefit from the people who were originally planning to come to the craft show.
How about asking the crafter for a short explanation of how the product is made. If it seems unbelievable it probably is.
Look CAREFULLY for \"Made in\" tags and stickers.
I have seen a booth at ... that sells baskets made from wood burls that are \"Made in China\" and they even have a tag on the bottom saying so!
Advertising: In many areas there are local bulletin boards for notices. I use one at my local library to put notices of events I will be at. If it is an event to benefit a charity, local school, etc. many retailers will allow a sign or poster in there window.
Juried shows: Since I am a retailer I would appreciate it if it were easier to identify shows that are juried and/or handcrafted only. Even tho I have set up in my profile non-juried shows, everything shows up in the list. It would save me time & phone calls if the show could be identified in the list as juried w/o having to open the notice first. - Thanks, Diana
Flyers announcing the show posted at workplace breakrooms when you have an 'in' - spouse, sibling, friend, neighbor.
Free door prize drawings are also a draw for attendance. I, as a vendor, prefer the drawings to be done at the END of the entire show, so my product is out & viewable for the most time, not just 1 hour.
Free attendance - and free parking help in my area. If shows charge admission, and/or charge for parking, attendance nose-dived.....
Some ways to tell if its handmade or not is to turn the item over and look at the back. Some done even bother to remove the labels from the item. Also look very closely at the work itself. If its a lot and its too perfect looking they most probably bought it bulk and claiming its their work. I do all my work myself and am not will not hestitate to show works in progress with me demostrating how to do it.I always bring my beads or pieces to work on at the shows. The only thing I rarely do is my pictures which are done either on the art boards or the canvas because my work is intricate and I have to be in the mood to do it. With crowds around and the noise I get distracted easily and get extremely frustrated if a piece isn't up to my expectations.But if requested to do one I would bring the necessary items and demostrate. You can usually tell from looking at the well its packaged as will homemade soaps etc. These artists put alot of time in to their products which look nothing like store bought items. If and artist refuses to demostrate their work if its applicable and do-able then they probably bought it somewhere and claiming its theirs. Like for beadwork or strung beaded jewerly request the artists to demostrated techniques. It does not take that long to do and if they have nothing to hide then they should comply. One of the major problems today is allowing to many jewerly artists in shows. I do mostly woven beadwork that takes anywhere from 1 hr to 14 hrs to complete with strung jewerly to add variety to our booth. But its not feasible for me to compete between 12 or more jewerly artists unless they are all different. I have sent pictures showing what I do but since they can be faked I prefer to show my potential buyers and anyone interested how I do my handiwork so they can stand and watch me. Thats the only bit of advice I can tell you. Note: as a result I now do only two major shows-The basilca and the central west end shows. Because its a totally waste of time since no one enforces these rules anyway. I have on numerous occasions pointed various vendors out to the ones who run some of these more promonient shows and nothing ever comes our of these. GreenTree is one of the prime examples. I refuse to waste 80-150.00$ to sit at a show and try to sell my items when I follow the rules and lose vast amounts of money on cheap handmade crap. Anything too cheap like a few dollars each is a dead giveaway they didn't do themselves. I do try to make my work a little more reasonable to be somewhat affordable to the general population. But never see anything usually less than 5.00.Anyway you are in for a struggle because some of these shows are in it solely for the money and care nothing about the artists themselves.
Sorry this is just what I have seen and experience first hand. I give you kudos for trying to correct this major disservice to all us artists out here. Thanks again for asking! Sorry I must have overlooked your previous inquiry. Hope this helps you! - Mary Geest(DragonBeader/Miss Gingers Beads)
View Article in Printable format ->
Rate it! Would your recommend this article to others?
Don't rate articles highly if they aren't GREAT, else the ratings become worthless...