It will be another week for The Artist and Crafter responses to the retail signs to look for in jurying and ways promoters could advertise more effectively. I've by now copied all into a word processor and have cleaned them all up and formatted them properly to about 125 pages in total. I'm reading them currently, bolding the key suggestion. There are some GREAT IDEAS coming, the number of responses was much more than ever expected. Thanks! Next will be the creation of the summary article for next weeks newsletter. I will also create printable info sheets and check lists for promoters to give to their jury members or for artists to print and mail in with applications to supposedly juried events. - Louy
Here are some of the top ideas to kick-start the noggin plumpin process:
If you must allow retail or close the show doors, at least do not allow retail jewelry! Don't over-fill the jewelry category.
TELL Promoters if you decide to stop doing their show(s) because of their allowing retail. Let them know why they lost a true crafter. Else they may think you just found another show.
About a year ago, shows started requesting recent and multiple receipts/invoices of the components 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.
I make it a point 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.
Select your jurors carefully! And have more than one juror!
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.
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.
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.
As the saying goes these days, if you see something, say something.
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.
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
Every band club volunteer has a sign on her car for a couple of weeks before advertising the show
Some ideas I saw but don't know where at the moment, so not verbatim and I elaborated:
Keep jury photos until walk around inspection time, then re-inspect before show starts. You can even do this AS folks arrive and check-in for spot numbers, inspect items IN THEIR VEHICLE at venue entrance and do not allow retailers onto the grounds to start to even setup!
Give each vendor numbered flyers/handouts/post cards to hand out at show or mail, etc. After they are collected show day, the vendor gets $1 or so per card with their ID #. If entrance fee is $4 and the card is a coupon, such a system will benefit everyone! The customers artists seek are the ones who WANT to know of shows with quality vendors, especially ones with vendors they know they like the products of, and that have signed up on the mailing list of for the purpose of frequenting at future events. Since vendors get a cut of the door/gate revenue they generate they are compensated for their expenses in helping to increase attendance. The promoter gets, albeit smaller than from customers they generate, gate fees from folks that would NOT have attended otherwise. Try It, You'll Like It!
OPEN OFFER FOR ANY PROMOTER OR ARTIST: Contact me if you are a Promoter running an event or an Artist/Craftsman/Crafter participate in an event that is struggling to get enough quality, authentically hand-made artists and crafters. EventLister.com will help in any way possible, including any of our services or upgrades for free, even by providing events with free mailing labels for artists and crafters in the very local area of the event in the craft categories still NEEDED. As we all would like to see the industry prosper and flourish, we must all take active action for these desires to be realized.
e.g. One county country fair that was long running with abt 200 fine artists and crafters dwindled over a few recent years after a new in-charge promoter started a downward trend with lowered standards and let a few retail-look-almost-like-crafts in. The next 2-3 years saw a decline in authentic crafters as retail-penetration got worse, although we still found it a good show it was just not quite as great as it was. When another new promoter took up the flag, she rooted out all the retail, and EventLister.com sent them a few hundred labels to rebuild more easily with. They did so, in one year, but now with some lost customer patronage. This summer the fair will not be held, the reason though is mainly the rising costs of the grounds by the public school that owns the used grounds, hindered by, not helped by the now decreased gate revenue. Plans are to find a new location and continue yearly. Is maintaining a high quality jury-admission process important? No, doesn't seem to matter at all. Let in all the crap you want, you event will just die and another promoter will find the open venue and time slot.
There are a growing number of very successful promoters around the country that put on a dozen of more fantastic events that highly juried artists get tens of thousands of customers coming to and so artists DO VERY WELL at their shows. Most of these same promoters are SO successful that they have been expanding to get to where they are and are still looking for new locations/dates to take on. So, some shows may close, buy there will be some great new ones opening up to fill their now available niche. - Louy