As I mentioned in Monday’s post, the two craft fairs in which I participated last year convinced me that selling at fairs was something I wanted to try with JennJill Designs.
My first fair, the weekend after Thanksgiving, was a particularly ideal situation for anyone’s first fair. It took place at my church, so the shoppers were almost entirely close friends and church family. It was small enough that everyone who came through the doors had time to stop at nearly every booth, and the other vendors were great about giving me advice and tips throughout the day. Plus, my mom was able to come and work the booth with me, which meant I never had to leave my booth unattended. While I didn’t make lots of money, I certainly did well, and more importantly, I had a blast, learned a LOT, and made my initial mistakes in the most friendly of all possible environments.
Since Christmas, I’ve been occupied almost exclusively with craft fairs for 2011 – finding fairs, narrowing down the list to only those for which I will actually apply, figuring out which fairs require what in terms of application materials, budgeting the application and booth fees, preparing the application photos …… it seems like the to-do list is never-ending!
But I think I’ve finally got most of my application materials put together and organized. As of last week, I’ve applied to six juried fine art and craft fairs and already been accepted to one.
Along the way, I had help from lots of great websites with tips about how to apply for juried craft fairs. Here are a few of my favorite – if you’re a crafter wanting to get in on the craft fair action, maybe they’ll help you, too!
- Crafting an MBA – Why I Don’t Do Craft Shows (but why you might want to)
- Hello Craft – Inside the Craft Jury (This is specific to Hello Craft’s fair they put on each year, but it does give a bit of insight into how craft juries work in general)
- Meylah – Eliminate Theft at Art & Craft Shows
- Etsy – Seller How To: Craft Fair Tips
- Etsy – Craft Fair Applications Unravelled
The only part of this process that is really a complete unknown for me is the booth photo. Nearly every fair requires one shot of your entire booth, but all the booth shots I took at the two fairs in 2010 have other crafters and other booths in the background – certainly not appropriate as application material for a fine art & craft fair! I combed the forums looking for guidance as to what jurors are looking for from the booth photo, but I didn’t really find much.
What I finally ended up doing was setting up my booth in my basement, with white drop cloths as a solid background, and I used my telescoping photography lights to provide adequate lighting. I guess that, as I start hearing back from these fairs, I’ll find out if the booth photo I sent is appropriate for what the jurors need, based on whether or not I’ve been accepted.
If you have any suggestions about taking booth photos or craft fair application photos, please share! I’d also love to hear about the best and worst shows you’ve attended, as a shopper or as a vendor.
My Craft Fair Application Photos: