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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Craft Show Check List

It's the day before my first ever craft festival.  And when I say craft festival, I mean the Carytown Watermelon Festival where I will have a craft vendor booth.  I have run the gamut of emotions this past week - from frustrated to excited to regretful to hopeful to exasperated to energetic and back again.  If you read my last post, I was in one of those frustrated and exasperated moods.  It happens.  There's no need to pretend it doesn't.  That's just part of this whole making a living from what you love game.  It gets emotional because you're tied to your work in so many ways.
I finished the main body of work I want to take on Thursday.  Here is my tagging and pricing station in the living room Thurday night.  Yes, I needed some wine to help me out.

So yesterday and today I have been mostly running though my checklist - I based a lot of mine on this one I found online -  and running to the store for a few last minute things I thought of - like printing a nice 8x10 sign for the booth in the style of my business card, getting extra price tags and plastic baggies, etc.

I also made other little signs to place around the booth, an artist bio, my process, and up-coming workshops for this fall. 
Trying to figure out everything you need to take for this sort of thing can be rather daunting if you've never done it before.  I gathered a lot of ideas from various blogs and sites, and compiled a checklist of my own.  Here it is:

- I read somewhere that work should all be a similar style or aesthetic, you want the viewers/customers to get an sense of your style but without overwhelming them with all the different styles you yourself might have.  So I opted to go with my more "flat" lines, ones that don't have much forming involved.  (At a different, more art oriented show, I would probably include a lot of formed pieces, but I don't think this is the crowd for that - for the most part.)

- Work at various price points, all clearly marked and priced. My range is $8 to $80 for this show, and I have over 100 items (hope it's enough to fill the space!), the majority are earrings and pendants.
- Inventory sheet with prices for us to mark when something sells
- Extra price tags and markers
- Extra earwires and chains
- Tools for fixing or changing things to suit customers' needs
- Boxes, bags, and tissue for packaging fragile items

Tent and Displays
- Because I'm on a budget, I borrowed a 10x10 tent from my parents - thanks! - however, it is blue, which is fine according to the requirements for the show, but I hope it won't be too dark.  But rather than invest in a white tent right off the bat, I thought I would give this a try first and make sure I enjoyed doing shows before investing a significant amount in something so specific.
- I bought three 6-foot folding tables, but after setting up the tent last weekend in the yard for a run-through, Mark and I thought three was a little crowded, and it would look better with just two, plus people would have more space to move around.  Also, jewelry is small... filling up three tables was a bit dauting in itself.
- two chairs
- I decided to wait and see about the weather forecast before I tried to figure out tent walls, tie-downs, etc (the festival is on the street), and fortunately, it's supposed to be nice tomorrow.  yay!  But that is something I'll have to figure out by next time.
- Tablecloths, clean and pressed
- Clear acrylic frames for the above mentioned signage, bio, etc.
- Display trays - I am using six 8x14 black plastic gemstone display trays filled with the coarse sand that I use as my background for photographing my work for my website and as the background on my business card and sign.  (See photos above.)  I think that ties it together nicely.
- Grid displays - Mark made me a super-awesome diptych frame and a single frame with 1/4" wire mesh for hanging jewelry. 

- Harware for set-up - hammer, tape, pins, c-clamps, shims for table legs, weights for tent legs

- Copy of state tax ID / seller's permit
- Copy of load-in info sheet from the festival (since there was no acceptance letter) and copy of canceled check for booth fees
- Business cards / postcards
- Company name sign
- Resume
- Artist statement / bio (which will be displayed in an acrylic frame)
- Descriptions of the up-coming workshops I'll be teaching this fall
- Referrals and invitations to other galleries and shows
- If I had it, I would also include info for other craft shows I had done or was going to do - I read that this was great to have for sharing with other crafters
- Inventory sheet / price list
- Special order forms - I'm just using my sales receipt book which has 3 copies, and allows for me to take a deposit (50%)

Sales and Office Supplies
- Cash box with $200 in ones, fives, tens, and change
- Credit card equipment - I just got a Droid phone and several people recommended signing up for Square which plugs into your smart phone's audio jack and lets you swipe credit cards.  They send it to you for free, and you download their free app, and it only charges you 2.75% per swipe.  You link your bank account like you would to paypal, and the money is deposited in your account the next day.  I'm excited to use it, and think it will definitely help in making sales since people don't always carry a lot of cash, but they're always sure to have their plastic!
- Sales receipt book
- Calculator
- Pens / pencils
- Clipboard
- Stapler
- Pins
- Scissors
- Tape

- Cooler with food and drinks
- Paper towels
- Cleaning Supplies
- Change of clothes/shoes
- Extra make-up, deodorant, etc
- Aspirin, etc
- Bug spray
- Sunglasses/sunscreen
- Camera

I think that just about does it.  Good grief, that's a lot to think about!  So I would recommend giving yourself at least one whole day to get all of that together.  I took two, and I'm glad because that means I had time to post this, do a couple little extra things, and relax a little this evening before the big show in the morning. 

So wish me luck, and I'll have an update on how everything went on Monday.  Happy Watermelon Fest!

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