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!!!

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