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:
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!
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!
Hi Gayleen. Yes, it was the stress of preparing for the show. I've taken a small break after so that I could rest and repair. :) I had nothing at all made in advance almost a month before the show date, even though I knew about the show well ahead of time. I waited until the last minute and it really hurt me, physically and mentally.
I'm about to write up a postmortem so I can share what I learned.
What I learned:
I think that about sums up what I’ve learned. I may revisit and add to this later, like my personal checklist of items to bring. I want to thank all of you who commented, whether with advice or well wishes. It was greatly appreciated!
Well, Veronica! Thank you for that, a great list. Yes - don't forget your meds. Upselling is always smart. If you can sell something larger or more than one object to a person interested in your work that is good. We sold photography, with matted images in bins. If a person was about to buy one of those, if I had it framed in the back, I'd always bring the framed piece out and offer that instead. Nearly always they paid for the framed piece.
I'll only quibble with "leave early." Yes, I do understand if it is a health issue, but otherwise it is bad for the show in general, plus it hurts your neighbors and word gets around that you are not reliable. This is a tough business, in some ways, and learning to roll with the weather is a biggie. Mostly art fairs are a rain or shine occasion. We weight the tents, we shelter our goods, we bring clothing for hot or freezing weather.
there is one very big and useful article here about outdoor fairs. Maybe you can find anything useful there