Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

Hi! I don't think I've posted here yet. In October, I'm doing my first outdoor vendor/arts fair and I was hoping I could ask a few questions. Specifically, I'm looking to compile a checklist of all the things I will need to own and bring with me. (I've only done 1 craft show before and that was more than 3 years ago.)

I know I will need:

  • White 10x10 Canopy Tent - looking at this one: Eurmax Canopy
  • Filled sandbags for tent
  • Stakes for tent (I think it will be in the grass but I'm not completely sure of that yet)
  • Cash drawer and $? for change (how much do you recommend bringing?)
  • Square chip card reader and Square store set up
  • Jewelry and other goodies to sell! (I'm so far behind, eek!)
  • Bags and possibly gift boxes?
  • Price tags (except for the high-end items, which will have descriptions only)
  • Sunscreen and maybe a hat
  • ... I know I'm missing stuff here, please add to the list as you see fit!

Should I bring craft supplies to show my process and work on it while people walk past? Or should I just sit there and force myself to talk to people?

Do I need to have a tax license on-hand? Or just be prepared to notate and file? I think the show requires us to hold taxes but it didn't say we need a license. 

Do I need to file for a DBA to collect taxes? I'm so far out of my league here.

Everything I have yet to do is now hitting me full-force and I'm mildly freaking out here. 

Any advice you can provide would be greatly appreciated!

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This is my first season doing small events (not really art shows save one, so far) and I finally feel like I'm sort of prepared after 4 months of fiddling about. I made a master list of all the items I have and will create a specific one for each event from that. There are things I'll take to an indoor event that I won't need for an outdoor, and vice versa. There are things I'll need for an outdoor event that doesn't end before dark that I won't need for a similar indoor event.

I suggest creating an inventory of things you gather for this, and you'll learn which you need for what type of event.

To add to the other suggestions, I have a plastic bin I call my 'tool box' with diagonal cutters, spray cleaner, paper towels, duct tape, utility knife, trash bags, baby wipes, clorox wipes and bungee cords. Probably some other stuff I'm forgetting. That's come in very handy.

Thank you all so much for your help!

The show is tomorrow and I still feel woefully unprepared and my anxiety is pretty awful, but I feel a lot better knowing everything I do now after reading through this thread.

Yes! That's what we're here for, Veronica. I'm pleased to see how much help you've gotten. Will you report back about the good, the bad and the ugly of your first event? I'd love a post mortem.

I sure will!

It may be Sunday or Monday (I'll need some recovery time) but I'll definitely make a point to gather my thoughts and post a follow-up. I'll try to include things I've learned, where I went wrong, and a checklist that worked for me. 

It's been really difficult for me because this is the first time I've treated my craft as a business. I don't even have that many things finished to sell, but I feel totally burnt out on making jewelry. I really hope that feeling doesn't last very long because I'm going to have to stock up my Etsy shop and possibly do more shows for the holidays. I used to find macrame in particular soothing, but I've gotten so stressed and anxious that it sucked all the goodness out of crafting and just made it a painful necessity. 

This makes me sad to read, that you're anxious and not soothed by your craft. Is it the stress of gearing up for your first show? I hope the show went amazingly well for you!


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