Sunday, July 29, 2007

Get your craft together

This week's theme for the Etsy Bloggers Carnival is "Preparing for a Craft Show." Click here for the full carnival.

I thought I would show off various photos of my booth as it has appeared at shows over the last few years, and a few of the things that help me get ready for shows.

The above photo is from Friday night's Trashion Trunk Show at the Etsy Labs. The first time my work has ever been for sale in New York! (Many thanks to Sweetyprize for an awesome job coordinating the show, and to the wonderful Joan for selling as my proxy. You guys rock!)

The photo below is of my full booth, as seen at Portland Saturday Market, circa 2005. That's my daughter Tangereen sitting amidst the psychedelia.So...tip #1: Pack according to the show. For a weekly market where you basically have your own little "store," or a special event like an annual juried art walk, I usually have to bring much more stuff, such as light fixtures and higher-end art pieces, than for shorter, half-day or two-hour trunk shows where you only get one small table instead of a 10 x 10 or 8 x 8 booth, and where accessories and gifts under $20 are more likely to sell than $60 clocks or large abstract paintings. So I am always having to readjust my stuff depending on what the show calls for. One way I've found to make this easier is to have one more large bin than I really need. For me that means I have three big bins. When packing for a show, I go through all my stuff, select what I need, fill one bin with product, one bin with display items and sales stuff, and put everything I don't need to take into bin #3. This keeps my studio tidy, as my extra stuff isn't just left floating around.

Tip #2 - Good packing begins with good unpacking. Since I do shows pretty frequently, I feel like I am pretty much always in the process of preparing for a show. I try to save my sanity by making it a rule to always spend some time unpacking and rearranging when I first come home from a show, instead of piling it all down in the basement and forgetting about it until it's time to pack for the next show. Go through your stuff, check over what you have, clean out the rubbish, and make a note of what items you need to stock up on before the next event - then get started on restocking right away! Don't wait till the last minute! If you start right away but space the work out over several days or weeks, you can get a little bit done every day and be ready to go in time for the next show without having to stress out about it the night before.
Tip #3 - Be prepared to buy something, but NOT lunch. Okay, if you can afford to buy lunch, go right ahead, but if you are like me and really can't afford it, then pack a lunch! I always take a little cooler with me containing at least two water bottles and something to eat for lunch so I won't feel tempted to blow my hard earned money on all the yummy smelling stuff that you often find at craft fairs. Even for a short show, I always bring water and a snack like a banana or a granola bar. But even though I don't believe in buying lunch, I definitely DO believe in buying from my fellow artisans. I have had several experiences where I got a sale almost immediately after I bought something from someone else. It may sound weird, but I think there is something in that. You have to get the money flowing somehow. Support the other artists, and you will be supported in return. It really works! Trading is fun, too.

That's all I can think of right now. Read all the posts in the carnival to get more great tips and ideas to help get ready for shows!


Sara said...

I like the way you have your booth set up, really inviting. Great blog! GOod idea for the carnavle.

LazyTcrochet said...

Your tips and pictures are great. I missed this carnival as I was away at a show! I was able to get everything organized, marked, and packed accordingly so I'll be better prepared for the next one!

Hapto said...

sort of a cross-blog comment/answer...

The disks in the trashion sale windows are actually records.. (good eye!) cut out on a CNC router - de burred, covered in reflective film, backed with hand dyed silk and celophane... they were used to make this piece of art in the woods for a festival:

I've dismantled the piece and pulled off some of the celophane/silk, and I'm selling them off to help fund my upcoming trip to india to work in a 40 acre folks art environment made out of entirely recycled materials. They aren't listed yet... but they'll be up on Haptotrope.Etsy.Com

Yazmin said...

I'm down with Tip #3. I think it's important to support other artists, even if you are getting reciprocal support from them.

And money for lunch emergencies is always important! :) Like the baklava that you weren't expecting to be there...yum!

Athena's Armoury said...

Lights are so important sometimes. Thank for the reminder.