Fall Craft Show To Do List

Strange Folk, my first craft show of the season, is now less than a month away. I'm sure there are some of you who are in the same boat. For those of you doing shows for the first time I thought I would share my own to do list. Most of these are things I've already completed so if they are already off my list I will explain what I've done. I think every to do list should have things on it that are easily checked off to start the momentum. I'm not sure why I chose the above shot to depict this post. I was just looking for something I've never used before and it jumped out at me on this chilly morning. The Indigo Girls scarf is still for sale in my Etsy shop.

  1. The first step is obviously finding the craft shows you would like to apply to. I talked about how to find craft shows in your area and how I pick my shows out in this post. I have now applied to 4 shows and received word that I'm into 2 of them. The other 2 don't release their juried list until September. There is one more that I am going to apply to in December whose application just came out this week. I'm still thinking about doing a small local show but haven't picked one out yet. These shows are less likely to be juried so I'm not as worried about applying late.
  2. The next big step is getting your display materials and doing a rough draft of your display. I recently posted here with my rough draft. It's important to set your display up ahead of time to better see the big picture. It will help you to see if there are any display pieces that stick out or don't go with the rest of your display as I discovered with my hand pieces. You may want to paint some of your items to help get a more cohesive look. Be sure to do this plenty ahead of time so that they have time to get fully dry.
  3. Make or order a banner. It's really important to have something that says who you are and sets the tone for your display. I talked here about my new banner and where I got it. If you have artistic abilities you can make one like my sister in law, the Gray Eyed Scorpio described in this post.
  4. Get your table covering. This is one I'm still working on. Last year I used a striped brown and tan tablecloth and I have a green tablecloth but I don't think I'm going to use either. I'm looking for something more earthy and natural, possibly burlap or bamboo to go with the feel of my booth this year. You don't want to get too crazy with your table covering as it shouldn't distract from your items. Do find something long or put a sheet under your table cloth that goes to the floor to hide your clutter under the table.
  5. Figure out how you are going to accept credit cards. I think that it's vital to have a method of accepting plastic. You are missing out on so many sales if you just take cash and checks. I use Propay and it's super easy and very reasonable. I just renewed my membership and it was around $30 for a year which is so worth it. I use a knuckle buster that I got from Mr. Imprinter on Ebay. I actually just bought a new one since the one I had last year was super tough for me to get a good imprint on. I'm much happier with this hand held model that came in a kit with an imprinter plate and 100 sales slips, everything you need to get started for around $25.
  6. Stock up on business cards. I recently bought 1000 cards from Vista Print with one of their many coupons for around $15. I have heard that some people had bad experiences with them but I've put in 3 different orders and never had a problem. You have to be careful to opt out of all of their silly promotions and you will get spam e-mails from them but I'm okay with that for such a good price on a business necessity. I've also been thinking about ordering some postcards to use as follow up with some of my return customers.
  7. Organize and tag your inventory. This is one that I definitely have not completed yet. I do have my inventory separated into different tubs by type but that is the extent of my organization. I think that I'm going to continue to use my business cards as price tags this year. Last year I hand wrote on the back of the cards the price, fiber content, and washing instructions, very tedious process indeed. This year I'm going to do labels to stick on the back with this information. I have 3 days off before Strange Folk and this is my main priority for those days.
These are the things that I've been thinking about and working on. As the first show gets closer I'll update you on the things that need to be done at that point, including my list of things you should always have in your tool kit on the day of the show. Doing shows is still somewhat new and exciting to me. I think of them as another creative outlet for me. It's a good thing that I still enjoy doing them since they provide the majority of the financial return on my knitting.


fookaDESIGNS said...

beautiful! and great tips...thanks for sharing!

esque said...

Very thorough to-do list! I especially like the idea of a dry-run of the table display. Wishing you many sales at Strange Folk!


Lonesome Road Studio said...

A banner is *definitely* something I need to get, and I do the "dry-run" thing too. I especially will be doing it this month since I ordered a bunch of new displays.
Tagging... bleh. Not my favorite part, LOL.

Julie@Momspective said...

Very nice! I have no crafty talent at all!

selahestelle said...

I am waiting to hear if I've gotten accepted to my first show in December. I can't tell you how helpful I have found all your "show prep" posts. It's like you've taken me under your show wing! My sister and I are sharing a booth and I keep forwarding your posts to her so that we can compare notes. Thanks a million and am sure to use some of these tips and ideas!

Little Lovables said...

great post, this reminds me, I have not signed up for the craft shows this year!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. It's all very helpful to see what those who have gone before us do:) I'm definitely checking out the business card site, I haven't even gotten any cards for my new shop yet!

Kristin at My Art and the Mom in Me said...

Paige, you give the best advice, you really do...thorough and thoughtful..and when I get enough of my sculptures completed to enter a craft show...You are my go-to for advice... You are the best!

tollykit said...

Excellent to- do list! Only problem I have is that the banner I have cannot always fit in some of the tents. So now I need another one but much smaller.

storybeader said...

I've always had trouble with table coverings, too. Been using sheets, but will change to a tablecloth this year. I used ProPay last year, but decided to quit it, since I don't do a lot of shows. It works well, though.

And thanks for being a top dropper on my blog! {:-Deb

Susie said...

Hi! This is my first time reading your blog and I just wanted to say THANK YOU! All of your tips are very helpful and make me excited and hopefully prepared for my FIRST CRAFT SHOW!!!

Prayers4Theresa said...

I just poured over all of your craft fair advice postings for the last few months. Such wonderful information! I just applied two two large juried shows for this Fall/Winter season and I am nervous but very excited. Thank you for your insightful details on making the best of these shows.


(c) Lenox Knits, 2009|Created by NSD