Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How To Organize A Craft Show by Etsy!

Etsy wrote a fun article about how to organize a Craft Show. I have had the opportunity to help with our Carbondale, IL DAWF this year, and I have had a great time experiencing the volunteering and the behind the scenes stuff.
If you ever have a chance to help organize a fair, or start a show of your own, you are going to need a few other like-minded people to help, and also some city officials who also support your cause. Having food and drinks is a big plus to any community event. And there are so many more things you need to know....
Here is a bit of the Etsy Article, which I found HERE.

"Every year the summer season blooms with craft fairs and markets showcasing the handmade work of independent designers across the country and the world. In this week's edition of How-Tuesday, Julie Meyer from HandmadeMN, a team of Etsy sellers based in Minnesota, shares a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the organization and process of their first craft show, the HandmadeMN Spring Market. Read on for tips and inspiration for how your team might go about organizing a successful show.

The HandmadeMN Team members are no strangers to the craft and art show circuit in and around the Twin Cities. With local shows filling up with more and more team members it was only natural that the idea of hosting a team show came up. If your team is ready for a show, here are a few tips to get you motivated.

1. Who, What, Where, and When?
Gather a small steering team to meet in person and online several months prior to your show. Members from our team met this past January to begin the process of organizing an exclusive Etsy team show held in May.

* Select the venue and map the space to determine the maximum number of vendors.
* Draft the show application. We chose to jury the show, but you can fill a show on a first-come, first-served basis.
* Don’t forget to collect all the required tax forms needed for your city and/or state from each vendor.

2. Recruit Help
When the venue was booked and applications were coming in, the next thing we easily agreed on was that we needed a lot of help from the team to make the show a success!

* Set up committees to manage different aspects of the show and ask your vendors and team members to volunteer their time when they can. Keep track of each committee’s progress online so the team can see what needs to be done.
* We created committees for graphics, advertising, and show hosting.

The graphic committee selected show poster designs submitted by committee members. Courtney of justanotherday had the winning design for our show marketing materials, which included a show poster, postcard and HandmadeMN blog banner.

The advertising committee got the word out by putting together a press release for local newspapers, set up a Facebook event page, and negotiated print and online ads with local magazines. The show host committee got to work on the last-minute tasks that needed to be done as the show drew nearer. This committee canvassed the show’s neighborhood with flyers the week before the event, worked with the venue to make sure tables were set, and helped vendors during set-up. They were also in charge of setting up the team Information tables and greeting customers once the show started.

3. Creative Budgets
You’ll need someone to loan the down payment for the venue and handle all of the finances, including vendor payments coming in and print and advertising costs. Hit the streets and ask your local supply shops, garden shops, fabric stores, etc., to purchase advertising spots in your show program. These paid advertising spots helped to offset the printing costs, plus our advertisers spread the word about our show to their customer base!

4. Shout It Out!
Ask your team members to network with everyone they know. Blogging, tweeting, and Facebooking are an easy way for vendors and team members to help promote the show. Encourage team members to collaborate with their connections to creatively get the word out.

For example, one member of our team connected with one of her shop fans from Metro Magazine and the team received a beautiful spread in the May issue. Two other team members also had the opportunity to chat up our show and Etsy on FM 107’s Get Real Girls show. (You can hear the podcasts here and here.) Our advertising committee was able to team up with Articulture, a non-profit arts education center, to provide a make and take project for our customers during the show. The added bonus was the advertising that they did about our show to their customer base.

5. Follow Up

Putting on a show is hard work, so you’ll want to find out where your efforts best paid off. Offer a giveaway for your customers. Use the drawing slip to gather information from your customers about how they discovered the show and let them opt-in to receive emails about future team events. Ask your vendors for their feedback post-show so you’ll know what went right and what you might do differently next time.

Our first HandmadeMN Show was a great success, thanks to the entire HandmadeMN Street Team! Forty-six vendors rocked the show with a wide variety of amazing handmade items. Our customers showed their appreciation for handmade goods and left with packages in hand, asking, “When will the next show be?"."

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Few Shots from Yesterday (@ Art Around The Square 2010)

1. Pretty Birdie Tees (@ Art Around The Square), 2. Wall of Onesies (@ Art Around The Square), 3. Birdies, Ornaments, and Vintage Displays (@ Art Around The Square), 4. Candy! (@ Art Around The Square), 5. Butter Dish (@ Art Around The Square)
I had a great time last night at my indoor show. Carbondale Mainstreet and The Chamber of Commerce provided a lovely, old train station for me to host my show in. I used a lot of vintage props this time! I am finally kind of happy with my display. Now to figure out how to set up for an outdoor show.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Table Displays from Outside Sources

It is a good idea, as Caitlin is NICE says, to carry around a notebook of some sort, and jot down unique display ideas. You can really grab ideas from anywhere and everywhere. And, the more outside-the-box you go, the more appealing your table setup will be to customers. If a customer feel engaged and in a little unique environment, it is likely they will stay longer and hopefully buy more :)

Please comment below and tell us where you find these types of inspirations??

So, I have been using dottie angel as a source of inspiration. She uploads a lot of photos of her home and she is an avid blogger. I LOVE how she sets up these little vignettes of vintage items, sometimes inside, sometimes outside.

Another great inspiration for me lately has been party decorations. Especially when whimsy and vintage appeal are involved. Whether it be for a child's party or a wedding, the decorations and the setup of the food tables and treats themselves. One outstanding example of this would be the New York City Party Planner named Amy Atlas (Events). Be prepared to be amazed at her "Eye Candy". I cannot get over how amazing she and her photographer are!! Also, feel free to read her post about the Behind The Scenes/ Design Phase at her business. Quite interesting!

It's the little things that really catch my eye, and props are very important in setting up a crafty table, or taking photos of your items for online use. I love the way cake stands look as well. Even if you have just one item on them, they look so stunning. Tasty candy in fun bowls are always nice too! Make sure the candy won't melt or get messy in the summer months, though!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

(15) Caitlin is NICE

Today, a very wonderful artist is featured! Caitlin is such an amazing woman! She has talent out the wazoo, and my goodness, she can sure set up beautiful vignettes for pictures. I could see her working for Anthropologie as a catalog display gal, or somewhere cool like that.
On top of that, she sure knows how to set up a cute craft fair booth! She tends to attend larger shows near Chicago, like Renegade, Art vs. Craft, and the like. She uses vintage photos and objects in her work, and for inspiration of subject matter.
I love the blue and white plaid background in her booth, it reminds me f vintage fabrics I have! And, it appears a lot of her work has a light, almost pastel appearance to it. She seems to be able to create something beautiful out of items some people might pass right by. Her deer plaques are so sweet! I also adore the wood-burned images she does, where she paints from old photographs. What a talented woman! Read more of her story below.

1.) Please tell us a bit about yourself:
Name/Company Name: Nice - Caitlin Holcomb
General Location if you want: Chicago
Website or Contact Info:,

2.) What form of art/craft do you make?

I've been making my own style of banners out of vintage fabrics, Mini Deer Plaques and clocks, light shades with vintage doilies and lace, jewelry, and wood burned paintings. One reason why I chose to work under the name Nice is that it allows me to evolve and expand my craft interests!

3.) When did you start vending at Craft Fairs? Were you successful at first?

The first show I did was the Chicago Renegade Craft Fair in 2006. My booth set up was very minimal and not very great- but I did very well and was hooked on the whole experience! By the following year I had more confidence and a better vision, so my booth display improved tremendously and so did my success.

4.) What is/was your favorite Art/Craft Fair you have ever attended/vended at and why?

My Mom is very creative and I grew up doing crafts and various projects with her. She often sold her work at local boutiques and she did a few craft shows. I did one with her when I was in 5th grade. I sold headbands and ink pens wrapped in embroidery floss and beads. I was very particular and didn't want to sell just friendship bracelets, haha. As an adult, the first show I attended was the Chicago Renegade in 2005. I went alone to check it out and it was so exciting! I remember having butterflies in my stomach going from vendor to vendor! I knew I had to be a part of it, and since 2006, I've done every September show. I am so, so fortunate to have the Renegade fairs in my city. They are absolutely amazing and draw people from all over the country- even world! As a shopper it is simply fantastic, and from a vendor's perspective it ends up feeling like a family reunion!

5.) What was your least favorite Fair to attend/vend at? Why?

So far I haven't had any bad show experiences. I've just recently started doing shows outside of Illinois. I've done Art vs. Craft in Milwaukee, and the Craft Revival show in Detroit. They were both different from Renegade, but both great in their own way. I'm really hoping that I'll be able to do other Renegade shows outside of Illinois!

6.) Who tends to be your target audience? What tends to be your best selling item(s)?

My target audience seems to be young (and young at heart), creative people, which perhaps is a given in the handmade craft movement. My biggest sellers have been the Mini Deer Plaques, and my banners which have been featured in weddings and baby nurseries.

7.) Do you ever do marketing for your upcoming shows, or do you leave it to the Show Coordinators? If you do promotions, how do you do them, and do they seem to work well? Do you ever do giveaways at shows? Give out lots of business cards, etc...

The people in charge of the shows I've done have always promoted very well, but it's important that I do, too. I have a blog ( ), a Facebook page ( ), and I also maintain a mailing list. I always try to have a few business cards in my bag, and I always encourage people to take a card at shows.

8.) Have you ever helped put a show together or run a show? Which one(s)?

I have not. It is a huge deal and I think you have to have a special talent to do that. I think it would be fun to volunteer, but so far I haven't had the time.

9.) How have Flickr, Etsy, Facebook, etc helped you expand your crafty business?

Etsy was life changing for me and has really made having a handmade business possible. It's a great community and is very helpful with exposure. New customers find your shop every day due to browsing around on Etsy.
Flickr is a wonderful way to display your work and organize it into a sort of portfolio. This comes in very handy when you apply to shows or are in contact with wholesale buyers.
I am still getting the hang of my Facebook Fan page. I want it to be a place where I can show my appreciation to the Fans. I'm trying to discover a good balance for posting- I don't want to post too much and end up being an annoyance! It's kind of tricky!

10.) What do you think the difference is between an Art Show and a Craft Fair? If there is any difference...

I think sometimes there can be a difference in things like aesthetic, price points, clientele.. But importantly, they both provide the opportunity to meet the maker, experience their vision, and I'm sure that the work at both art and craft shows come from the creator's heart.

11.) If you wish, please list your upcoming shows for 2010 and beyond.

I'll be at the Vintage Bazaar ( ) on August 22nd at the Congress Theater.
Hopefully I'll be at the Chicago Renegade Craft Fair ( ) on September 11 and 12 - acceptance emails go out in a week or so!

12.) Any words of advice for people who do not think their setup is as good as it could be? What is your most successful layout for a table or booth. Be as general or specific as you want.

Plan, plan, plan! Keep a little notebook with you and jot down ideas. If you're like me, you'll be anywhere from a flea market, bookstore, or a restaurant when you suddenly see something that offers display inspiration. I often set up my booth in the house or yard, and I always set up my tent and make sure it's still working.Think about your crafts and the aesthetic you want to achieve, and don't forget that you want to make it easy for your customers to see everything you have to offer!
My most favorite booth set up was at last year's Renegade show. I spent a lot of time thinking about it and it worked out very well! You can see it here:

13.) Any closing remarks?

Thanks so much for the chance to be on your blog!

P.S. Other places you can find Nice:
-- Like Nice on Facebook
-- Flickr
-- Follow Nice on Twitter
-- Renegade Craft Fair
-- Renegade Handmade brick & mortar
-- Asrai Garden
-- Douglas & Hope stores
-- PoppyTalk Handmade Market
This sign is so eye-catching! LOVE IT!!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Modern Pop-Up Flea Market IN CHICAGO!!

{nice work featured above}

This event looks really cool! I learned about it from NICE (while searching the ever wonderful Flickr). She is also a master of setting up cute booths, so I may see if she wants to be interviewed here too.

Here is what their site says:
A vintage and antiques marketplace for the thrifty set, filled with reasonably priced vintage and antiques d├ęcor, furniture, clothing, and accessories.

Created and executed by Katherine Raz ( and Libby Alexander (Alexander Salvage), The Vintage Bazaar had its first successful show at the DANK Haus in Chicago's Lincoln Square on Feb. 27, 2010.

The next Bazaar takes place at the Congress Theater on August 22, 2010.
Have a question? Just email Katherine ( or Libby ("


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Renegade show in Brooklyn this weekend!!

June 5th and 6th (11am - 7pm) Oh, how I WISH I could visit!!! If anyone goes, leave a comment and let us know how it went. Good luck to all vendors!! See the site HERE.