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    Once again I have spent some time evaluating the website.   Take a look.  I think you will find some very interesting facts.  We know many of our artists use our Art Show Reviews website.  We know because you have also told us many times that you do use it when you are making up your schedules. 

    However, we need your help.  This website will not be as useful to you or any other artist if we don't get new show reviews.  We are averaging 1 review for every 4,000 times someone uses our website.  Artists are using us but not giving back.

    I have often asked artists to write a review for certain shows.  Many are hesitant and I have gotten the impression they think I am looking for a bad review.  I am not asking for bad reviews.  I am hoping the reviews are good ones because I hope all the shows are good shows.  However, mainly I am just looking for honest reviews that are helpful to others.

    If you want to review a show that isn't on our website, go ahead and write your review.  If I find we don't have it listed I will add it.  No problem, I am just happy you wrote a review for us.  

    Every year I get a comment that is left on our website like this one:

How come so many of the posted show reviews are from 2-5 years old?  Can't you supply some more updated review information from artists that have done the shows.  After all, many shows go through changes from year to year.

    This comment is very true.  If we don't get new reviews all we have is old reviews.  Shows do change.  Shows try to improve.  We want artists to know the show has changed for the better if it has.  Please help us.  Please consider writing a review for us.  We are just asking for about 5 minutes of your time.

Please give back to keep our website as useful as possible.

#1:  We now have 650 art shows on our website.  Last year we had 643, so we had a slight gain in the past year.

#2.  We still have 7 states that do not have any art and craft shows listed at all.  The states of Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia have never had a show review submitted for them, thus those states have not been added.  If you submit a review for those states I will add the show and get that state on our website.  Surely, someone here has done a show in one of those states.  Please write a review for us.

#3.  The state with the largest amount of shows listed on our website is Florida.  That probably isn't a big surprise.  We have 86 shows listed on our site in Florida, that is two more than the year before.  Coming in second place is Illinois with 43 shows.  Michigan has 37 shows and is in 3rd place. 

#4.   We have 24 states with 10 or less art and craft shows listed.   

#5.   We have three states with only one art or craft show listed for them.  Those states are Arkansas, Rhode Island, and South Dakota.  Anybody have a show they can submit for these states? 

#6.   We still have only one show listed for Canada.  We know they have shows up there.  Does anyone have a show and a review that they could add to that page to make it more valuable?

#7.   We actually have a European page with one show listed.  Has anyone done an European shows yet? We would love to add a couple shows to that page.

#8.   Since our website went live we have had 1,285,929 page views.  That is amazing!  We know artists are using our website.  We need new reviews so that our site remains useful and needed.

#9.   In 2019, we had roughly 130,655 page views.  

#10. In the last 30 days, 1/11/19 - 2/11/20, we have had 10,182 page views.  Of course, this is a time when many artists are using our site to put the finishing touches on their show schedules. 

#11. We usually average about 375 page views per day.  In fact, we had had 257 page views by 8 am today.  Artists were up early and working today. 

#12. We had a total of 30 reviews that were written for us during 2019.  Of course, many people use our website without ever leaving a comment or writing a review.  We also had 17 comments left. 

#13. In the last year, we had 130,655 page views.  Of those over 130 thousand visitors only 30 times did artists leave a review.  Certainly we can give back to the art community better than that.  We want artists to use our website, but we would also need you to give back.  

#14. The average show review probably takes less than 7 minutes to write.  There is a simple form is right there on our website and you just fill it in.  Easy peasy!  Simple as pie!

To submit a show review click on this link:

To submit a show that is not on our website click this link:

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8869193886?profile=originalUnfortunately, the Art and Craft Show held in Old Town San Diego will no longer be held.  This show had been held in the Historic Old Town San Diego.  Old Town is a quaint area that attracts tourists to San Diego.

The Arts & Crafts Show Old Town San Diego first began in 2011.  This art and craft show had something for everyone, fine art, entertainment. delicious international tasty food, tequilas, and craft beer and wine.  The colorful art event ran along San Diego Avenue from Conde Street to Twiggs Street.

The art and craft show was hosted by the Old Town Chamber of Commerce.  In 2018, the show was schedule to take place.  The artists were juried in and a month before the show was to take place the show was abruptly canceled.  The artists' money was refunded.  

The Old Town Chamber of Commerce did not receive the annual financial support in 2018 that it had received in the past.  That lack of funding caused the show to be cancelled in 2018.  Because that lack of financial support still continues there was also no show taking place for 2019.

So, as of this date, there is no sign that this show will return in the future.  It is always sad to report the end of an art show. 

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Finished my 2nd Event

Finished my second event...Burro Races in Georgetown CO. Since my last event, I purchased Flourish mesh walls and absolutely love them.  My husband does setup was talking them up to other vendors.

I decided to forgo the wood curtain on the back, glad I did the tent looks clean and crisp. I will be using smaller S hooks next time as it was difficult inserting the larger hooks in the mesh.  Now I just need to figure out a good way of showing my stickers. I had them hanging on the wall but they kept flying away.


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Festival adds Friday to extend sales!

The 2018 Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival will become a three-day event, opening on Friday, from 10am-5pm, and thereby provide access to an entirely NEW buying audience: the approximately 10,000-person workforce in the Town Center!

It is an audience we have not truly reached in the past (we used to open on Friday night, but by then the workforce had already left). Making the very significant logistical investment in a Friday opening provides A NEW, BUILT-IN, AFFLUENT BUYING AUDIENCE looking for world-class art for their offices, homes, for gifts, and more. It reflects our relentless focus on investing to grow our audience (and we typically draw tens of thousands of visitors already) and driving sales, explaining why has described this as a festival where "the 'art stars' of the outdoor art fairs vie for spaces."

Added bonus: we will now move our Festival Party, to Saturday night (7-9:30pm) and use it to announce our Artist Awards ($500 cash prize for our ten awardees, a blue ribbon to display at their booths, and automatic acceptance into next year's Festival). By making the Artist Awards the focus of the evening (something we could not do when opening on Saturday; not enough time for judging of booths), we will shine an even brighter spotlight on our participating artists and your work. As always, our artists and their plus-ones are our party guests, FREE, another of our nationally renowned artist amenities.

These major changes will make the 2018 Festival bigger and better than ever! Artists applications for juror review are required by Sunday, December 10, through the Juried Art Services website.

Artist set up will be on Thursday during the day and Festival operating hours will be 10am - 5pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Garage parking will be free all three days.
The Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival is the Greater Reston Art Center's (GRACE's) largest annual fundraiser.

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Annapolis Art and Wine Festival 2017

Annapolis Art & Wine Festival
Annapolis, MD
June 10-11
Booth fee $375 (? can't remember exactly)

I'm an oil painter, with pieces from $75 to $4500, and I had an astonishingly good show. But I have to say that my success - close to $10K - felt like an absolute miracle. Everywhere around me, artists didn't make their booth fees.

This show takes place in the Navy-Marine Corps stadium parking lot. It is a hard-dirt, treeless expanse, surrounded by blacktop. I've done this show three times, and it's been brutally hot all three times, and this was no exception. The only break from the heat is the occasional burst of hot wind that blows dirt all over your sweaty self.

Load-in and load-out are easy - drive up to the booth - but can be chaotic, as there's basically no oversight, and everyone can drive willy-nilly in whatever direction they want.

This year, the booths were in groups of eight, four back-to-back to another four, then a break for an aisle, then another group of eight booths. There is no room behind the booths for storage. Artist parking is at the end of the show, and is plentiful and easy. There's room there for RVs, as well.

This is a wildly uneven show, with beautiful, original art sitting next to booths with spice packages, manufactured hats, olive oil. I saw lovely jewelry, nice woodwork, really great painting in all media. I don't recall any pottery, though, or fabric.

The wine and craft beer is the major draw, I think, and those tents were the only ones where you could see crowds. It was a desert for most of the event, from where I was set up. The other two times I did this show, it was so crowded, it was hard to get across the aisles. I think the organizers expanded, even doubled the footprint, but that simply does not account for the sparsity of the crowd.

There's a gate fee of $12 if you don't want to drink, and $45 if you do. That allows you pretty much as much wine and beer as you want, I believe. In addition, there's a $10 parking fee, which understandably made many people irate.

The artists around me were just great. I had friends in the next booth, and all of us in our area became friendly fairly quickly. They could not have been nicer, or more supportive, about my success. Our little eight-booth community made the difference between this difficult and brutally hot show being a total downer and a decent experience.

I can't say that I recommend this show, but I'd be idiotic to say that I didn't. If you have pricey items, and can make a profit by selling one or two things, you might consider it. Otherwise, I'd think long and hard.

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Talbot St Art Fair - June 17-18, 2017

This year was the 62nd annual Talbot St show and the 1st annual attendance for me.  I sell functional fused glass pieces in the $35-50 range plus some decorative work that goes up to about $200.

Talbot St is on Talbott Street and a couple of side streets between 17th and 19th streets just north of downtown Indianapolis.  Hours are Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 10-5.  My impression was that the art and fine craft were of good quality with good displays and affordability, perhaps a level or two below the premium national shows with the highest-priced art. 

Others have written about this show previously so you can find many details in past blogs.  Here are my additional observations.....

Thunderstorms threatened much of the weekend, but didn't finally break loose until about 30 minutes into tear-down.  I don't know if the forecast affected the crowd size or demographics.  This year the first 3-4 hours on Saturday were packed with shoppers who were interested in the art and buying it.  Then at about 1:30 the crowd shifted to youngish couples with kids and the mood shifted from art sales to free entertainment.  Many artists I talked to had far fewer sales during the afternoon.

Sunday was similar.  Fewer but motivated art lovers/buyers in the morning and early afternoon, then a mighty thin crowd for the rest of the day as the rain got closer.  Lots of us made only half a dozen sales during those hours.

This show is run like a well-oiled machine.  They get it, and on top of that the staff is friendly and helpful.  Food trucks offer a tasty variety of food, and the nearby port-o-trailer provides air-conditioned, multi-stalled, gender-separated and well-kept facilities with toilets that flushed.  Even the neighbors -- whose front yards and driveways we're blocking for the weekend -- are a delight.  Mine offered the use of his shady front porch and bathroom for the weekend.  A neighbor down the street threw a bloody mary breakfast for the artists near him.  What a pleasure to have a genuinely nice, positive vibe swirling around the show all weekend.

It's worth repeating that the show is set up on residential streets that are old enough to be more narrow than today's streets.  The houses have been nicely renovated and the trees are lovely.  However to fit everyone in, the front 6' of your tent is in the street and the back 4' is up on either a grass curb or slanted driveway.  It's doable, and just requires some additional time and patience during set-up to get everything squared up and level.

My revenue at less than 2K was disappointing, but I expect to try this show again because the ingredients seem to be there.

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I know I know, I should have written it sooner but oh well. School can get in the way too as does life.

 Let me start out by saying that I teach Talented and Gifted Elem. and a few art classes too. My girlfriend who also accompanied me on this trip also teaches but up in St. Paul MN. After finding out that a booth space was won in the pledge drive raffle I was very excited. I called her and we both decided to take two personal days from school to therefore make a long weekend vacation out of this sale. We not only geocached along the way but had friends in TN so the drive was fine. Some info about the spaces: We decided to camp in the local camp ground of the state park instead of getting a hotel room in a town maybe fifteen minutes away. It was a little chilly but we like adventure so it worked out great. The ranger was nice when someone accidentally took over our spot from the first day. Although he camp sites are fairly expensive they do have lots of other "amenities" for campers AND we both agree those were some of the cleanest camp ground bathrooms ever which is a bonus.

Weather- First day was pretty much all rain. That plus the somewhat cooler temps did not help anybody. everyone had very very little sales that day. I think I sold one one dollar clay pig ( I sell ceramics mugs, bowls, cups, vases, and acrylic paintings). Second day weather was ok. a little drizzley but it held off and foot traffic did increase but not greatly.

Space- This camp ground was in the middle of a state park so the trees and back drop were beautiful. However the somewhat constricted roads then lead to longer set up times. We had decided to drive to Nashville on Friday night. Then leave Sat morn and cut our drive down a  bit. We arrived on time and in a perfect world would have been ready to go quickly. but rain, cars ahead of us etc... slowed us down. On their forms they stress that if you are not set up by a certain time then you won't be asked back. I don't think many people "made the dead line". Either way we unloaded and my girlfriend was nice enough to go park the car for me and take their provided hay ride type shuttle back. Totally understandable that you want artist cars out of the way for more attendees. there was a little bit of disorganization when we were in line in our car in the beginning. One lady told us to wait at a corner so she could get another guy who had been waiting to go through...she walks away...another volunteer organizer guy comes and tells us to move please...We explain what the first lady said...He still tells us to move...So we move...first lady then comes back after a few minutes with a somewhat funny look on her face. We told her we were just following directions and to go talk to that other guy. Neither was rude or angry but I felt a lot of stuff was tricky that day for them.

Sales- I once had done a small town art fair where  one lady cleaned house and everyone else sold nothing. She had no tent and totally set up form the back of her car last minute. Her stuff was also super less expensive than those around her. We all sold barely anything that day. I say this because this time a man selling crafty bird houses cleaned house. BUT his work was actually very nicely made and he sold at a fair price. It was clearly what people wanted. That's totally fine so I am not salty about this one. There were other sales too. I had a handmade furniture couple to my right and a wooden sign slogan lady to my left. Funny enough another tent was the wooden signs across the way. (They kind of battled each other. On Sunday one put out a 50% off sign and very soon the other one did too) Again with the weather sales were very small.To be honest I didn't make very much money at all. I kind of suspected this going in and therefore treated it as a mini vacation in the first place. Ps I also traded cars with a friend to use his suv to transport metal grid walls and such instead of renting a van. so really it only cost me travel expenses and food and such on our way.  Was it worth it? Probably not. But it was still a fun four day weekend adventure.

Philosophies- I have hinted at the disconnect between what makes a craft show a craft show and an art show art etc... I also understood that even though this had submitted images for entry it was still even titled a arts and craft show. I once did another craft show and quickly learned that my art does not fit there. Ok this time I had some smaller priced cups and things around 5, 10, 15, and mugs for 20 dollars. I figured that if someone wanted a 65 dollar painting they would get it. If not, I had small stuff  just in case.  I must say that the differing styles and craft were well represented. I know my post is probably negative sounding but they did do a good job of having different artists there. One lady took plastic grocery bags and turned them into jackets. Or painted cigar boxes talking about die-ing off species of bugs like bees and butterfly. That's cool. there was your typical wooden cutting boards, glass blown pieces, no buy and sell tents which was nice. all in all even though they were art and craft I still felt ok being there. However it was more of a crafty crowd I would say.

One final thing- We had heard from patrons that it had taken them at least forty minutes to be able to park. Then, they were finally able to get one of the shuttles into the sale area. A combination of weather and parking closed out this show for me. I am glad I had the experience and the four day vacation so to speak but I would not return.

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Looking for your best art fair story

Metalsmith David Bacharach and jeweler Valerie Hector are compiling a book, "Craftspeople In Their Own Words." Do you have a personal story about working in a craft discipline or some great photos to include? 

Please share your stories, I know you've got them! Profits from the book are going to CERF (Craft Emergency Relief Fund). Send your stories and photos to or

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Crozet Arts & Crafts Festival

While working today I stumbled upon this job opening.  The Crozet Arts & Crafts Festival is looking for a new director.  They have 2 festivals a year.  This is a 12 month job and is part time.  They are taking applications until 10/31/2014. 

This festival is located in Crozet, Virginia.  This might be a great job for someone that still wants to participate as an artist themselves during a few weekends a year or needs some money but still is needed at home. 

To check out the job offer:

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Hmmm Wait Listed.....

Should I be flattered or disappointed?  As a "newbie" to the art fair circuit, I guess that I should be pleased that I have been accepted to most shows that I have applied for and I have been wait listed for a couple of really reputable shows...My question is.... does anyone know the percentage of artists that get wait listed for a show and what are the real possibilities of getting accepted once on that list?

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The One of Kind Show in NYC 2011

I was just in NYC for Thanksgiving, I was so excited because the ONE OF A KIND Show in NYC was supposed to be going on Nov 11-13 and Nov 17-20.This is a show  I had always wanted to see and this time it was finally going to  happen.  NOT!!!  

While at my sisters house in Riverdale NY I double checked the show information online. I   was somewhat surprised to find that the event was not posted consistently throughout the web. Some posts had both weekend dates listed and some posts only listed the November 11-13 date. There was no phone number readily available either but my sister and I  went to the address given.  GUESS WHAT ? NO SHOW! The doorman to the building said the show was canceled. It would have been nice for the sponsors of the show to post it was canceled.  What if I made a special trip to see it.  

In the meantime I remembered that the ACC show was also going on this weekend so we jumped in a cab and off we went. We were going to have our art show experience after all. 

 However and  I hate to say this , (because  I thought one day in  in the future I might want to try to jury in the NY show, since my sister lives there)  the show was not up to standard. My sister and I both felt half of the items displayed in the fair looked as if they could have been at a flea market.  What a disappointment! There were a few artists whose work was noteable, so I was glad to see that, but .... I certainly expected to see great things. It is NYC, after all.  

I asked one exhibitor if she knew what happened to the ONE OF A KIND SHOW, she answered that the booth fees were so high very few people could afford to do it. 
This post address the same subject as the higher booth fees article.  These promoters may just run themselves out of business if this keeps going on. 

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Need a booth critique...

Hi everyone!

I have been doing indoor and outdoor shows for about 3 years nows. While my booth has come a LONG way - I seem to get more compliments on my booth vs. my glass jewelry. Am I doing something wrong? Have any advice you can share. I welcome honest feedback. Thanks so much in advance!!!




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Hello: This is my first post. Mostly I've been a lurker. I'm sorry this is so long.I feel that my jewelry is very good quality, and I have ideas for unique pieces. I want to try the juried art fairs, but the vendor fees that are over $300.00 put me off. It seems to me that I would have to sell a lot of jewelry just to make back my entry fee. Right now I have a 45% overhead charge on my jewelry to cover the cost of shows, gas, my time at shows, entry fees, and other business expenses. I think I would have to up that by at least 20% more. If I could be successful at these shows, I would have to do fewer shows, but travel further to get to the shows. This is ok because I own an RV, and I like to travel.People come into my booth, tell my jewelry is beautiful, and many don't buy. I think it's because my jewelry is not very casual or everyday. This is frustrating. I don't expect everyone who comes into my booth to buy some thing, but I would like to sell more than 3-5 pieces. I like to think my jewelry is for wearing to work, etc. I think that at the more expensive shows (I don't know how else to differentiate them from craft shows), more people look for the type of jewelry I make. This is why I think I need to make the leap to these shows. My jewelry is at the website: question I have is whether there is an intermediate step between local craft shows and the expensive shows. I like doing shows because I am retired and live alone. It gets me out and talking with people. and I really like the sometimes interesting feedback people give.I'm not really looking for a critique of my jewelry, although I would appreciate that, but for information about making the leap to these shows, how you did it, when you did it, etc.Thanks for any feedback to information.Betty Torma
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So far in my summer northeast swing, I've dodged a few meteorological bullets, and this week was no exception.  As was the case at Ocean City MD a few weeks ago, Friday's weather was brutal--about 2 inches of rain fell from Friday afternoon through midnight, but skies began clearing by the time artists arrived to begin setup.  This caused chalk-marking of the booth spaces to be delayed from Friday to early Sat. a.m., but promoter Marcy Boroff (of Renaissance Craftables) communicated this in a Friday-evening email, so there were no big surprises. 


It's tough for me to comment on all aspects of this show, so I'm hoping that others will fill in the blanks.  The reason: I applied to this long-running show  after the deadline (but immediately after several artists I had asked, raved about it).  I was initially wait-listed, with the explanation that construction on one of the streets that hosted the show was causing a scramble for additional spaces, and if they became available I'd be offered one.  Two weeks later, they were, and I was in. 


Setup, at least for the artists on the "extension", was a breeze.  Our booths were  the sidewalk, facing the buildings, not the street.  So although there was automobile traffic behind our booths all day, it also made streetside parking available, so we could unload and park right behind our booths. And as temperatures rose toward 90 degrees under clear skies, we were happy that tall shade trees and buildings cooled things off.  Folks in the main festival area, set up in the street without benefit of maple trees, were pretty much parboiled by 3 PM. 

The downside was that although the new spaces were along the same road (Kings Highway) as the main show, show goers had to cross a busy intersection to get to us, and there were no "More Art This Way!" type of signs to alert them to our existence.  So our group of 20 or so artists--who called ourselves "The Orphans"--had pretty light traffic on Saturday.


The show has unusual hours:  11-7 on Saturday, and noon to 5 on Sunday (although many artists opened as early as 10 AM on Day 2).  As the title of the show implies, this show is geared more toward crafters, and less toward fine artists, And although I saw some really nice work as I strolled about on  Sunday morning, overall the show quality was middle-of-the-road. 


On Sunday crowds picked up festival wide, and the good news is, they came prepared to buy.  Most of the folks with whom I spoke come to this show year after year.  One Sunday-night TV report cited a police estimate of 100,000 attendees, though I'll bet that one came from the Chamber of Commerce.  Nonetheless, crowds were definitely heavy; I tripled my sales from the previous day and wound up with sales well into four figures.  Marcy came by to introduce herself on Saturday and good-naturedly chided me to "get my app in on time next year."  Based on good results in the face of the layout challenges, I don't see any reason to book anywhere else.  I'd like to see what I could do on the "main drag" of this popular show. 

So, as I said: If you did the show on the main drag, your results may vary.  Let's hear some comments!

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I first met Ernie (and his wife Cynthia, whom I wrote about yesterday) on the first day of setup, and was immediately in love with his hand crafted leather-and-embroidery furniture.  That’s too simplistic.  Let’s just say, I utterly regretted my Rooms to Go leather couch and loveseat purchase and am still trying to wrap my mind around a way to return them so I can have a set of Ernie’s craftsmanship.  

8871851070?profile=originalThe most amazingly butter soft leather, in grape purple.  Totally cool, totally wow.

I never knew furniture could be so creative.  This is the first piece that captured me:


and its detail, in copper and turquoise, and yes, real python:


Check out his other creations at, here's another and Ernie himself, who I have to give a shout out to for his advice to me on shipping!


8871852067?profile=originalI also love the painting of him and Cynthia behind him, done by a friend of his.

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Hey all. While I usually am doing the Craft Artist Blog Series I thought I should actually do a review of at least one of the shows I have done this Fall/Winter. The one that was the most intersesting was the one I did last weekend - Black Friday Weekend. It was the Ocean City (MD) Holiday Shoppers Fair. As you notice the name doesn't say "Art and Craft Show" - I knew that going into it. I know it is safe to assume that more re-sale would out number true handcrafted art work - and it was true. Not upset though - it wasn't miss represented. Despite that I had to say the show was well run - in its 28th year. What I liked about it was it was $275 per 10x10 space (included electric) indoors at the convention center for 3 days. Loading and unloading from various points of the convention center were good with the only exception being the "idoit" vendors who don't understand common cureosity things like not blocking aisles and such. But the heart of the matter is the crowds came in droves maxing out the parking spaces at the convention center where some customers ended up coming the following day as they couldn't move around and actually shop. Sales were good, but mornings were very slow - at least until they made it to the middle and farther ends of the event. I couldn't help but see some that only came for the "street vendor" types with some booths carrying - everything just $2. But it seemed some others had sales, but as a whole not everyone had a pleasureable experience. Some of that was due to theft and what they sold - not for everybody if you know what I mean.

My shoplifter tale was fun. A notorious "potential" shoplifter made her way to my booth and actually made a great sale from her yet some of my neighbors were warning me about her and one thought they saw her stole something from one of my shelves and put it in her bag. I alerted security and they acted fast. I did have to say I would press charges in order to nab her and search her bags. Someone else came forward and said "she" stole $100 necklace - this is from a Slipada person however decided it wasn't worth pressing charges as she didn't want to have to drive there again. This has been the pattern for 5 years - shoplifter is thought to have stolen something, no one wants to press charges, then she gets away. This time she actually didn't steal anything - the thing she put in her purse was a free sample that I encouraged her to take. So, she and her friend was left to go. I do plan on doing a topic on the blog series about this when it comes to spotting a shoplifter and what you should and shouldn't do when you suspect someone of shoplifting. So the good news was nothing was stolen and perhaps she might think twice before coming to that show again.

Of course I have been getting a lot of questions from friends, family and even customers if I would be back and Imost likely not, IF I can get into a better show. I love the handmade shows - everything I do is handmade by myself and more high end than traditional crafts/country crafts which is where my target marketing audience is. A nice added plus is that I did get to talk to a local store owner who most likely will be a new wholesale client of mine, I think more will happen once the holiday rush is over and after narrowing down some fragrance specific ideas for her area geared for tourists in the area. All in all nothing horrible to sneeze at. I also am starting to get orders from the sample tea light candles that are of some of the fragrances my larger candles and past repeat customers. Tis the Season right!

Well, I have to run - I have an order to fill for another wholesale client that is due Friday. Not enough time to find the photos from the show, but hopefully will post it via the Facebook page or something like that... Thank God my shows are over for the year now.... Ahhhh! - Michelle, By the Bay Botanicals

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I am sure those of you reading this are either a Gen X or Y or knowsomeone who is through family relation, friends or workingrelationships. Most don't understand Gen X and Y's or have a hardtime relating to them. There is no denying though, they are a forceto be reckoned with when it comes to shopping. I have been reading agreat book called Gen Y Buy and it is a most fascinating read. Ifyou are curious about what direction today's society is heading,especially when it comes to retail and shopping, do check out thebook. This leads to Question 15 and want to touch on it because GenX and Y's do have a huge influence on how art fairs are run and howwe can learn from them when it comes to managing our own artbusinesses.

Question 15 – How have Gen X and Y's affect how people shop at art fairs?(How can we capture their attention too?)

Instead of going into depth about the “nature and behavior” of Gen X andY's, as I am a Gen X myself, I am going to highlight some key pointsthat I feel best answers Question 15.

  1. Full Steam Ahead. We can thank the today's generation for pushingartists to create new pieces of art. With Gen X and Y's drive forseeking new and improved stuff, this carries over to their parentsand even grandparents especially when it comes to technology, homeimprovement, and decorating one's apartment or home, or evenvacation home. It isn't enough to offer one size 2D art, but postcards, note cards, even coffee table books are just one of ahundreds of examples that can be attributed to today's youngergeneration need for variety.

  1. Credit Cards. If it weren't for credit cards our sales at art fairsconsiderably lower than what they are today. It is not the norm anymore to carry cash with a few exceptions. When it comes to artfairs, it is now more important that ever to accept credit cardsbecause show patrons expect it. The benefits of bringing in moresales far outweighs the minimal monthly fees or possibility ofrunning into a declined card.

  1. Computers and The World Wide Web. Computers are here to stay and since theybecame mainstream, it has opened many doors for artists. Someexamples range from digital art mediums, email – an instant formof communication, social networks to keep in touch with customers orpromote ourselves at upcoming art shows, software for trackingsales, access to better raw material suppliers, to the NEW businesscard – personal art business websites. The value computers haveis immeasurable and if you don't agree, try living without one for24 hours, on a work day.

  1. Word of Mouth. Granted word of mouth advertising is nothing new.However, Gen X's and Y's have taken it to an all new level. All ittakes is one Gen Yer to fall in love with something that they haveto take a photo of it and show their friends or blog about it.Within minutes that thing the Gen Y loves is now apart of a viralword of mouth advertising campaign to her friends and family. Themore art fairs and artists harness this power of free advertisingthrough social networks and other word of mouth advertising, theeasier it is to attract new customers and art fair patrons.

  1. Developing Personal Relationships. There is a strong desire for those whoappreciate art, with the help of Gen X and Ys, to want to learneverything they can about art. Due to art funding in schools havingbeen cut and combining that the desire of being connected topeople, there is more of a push for artists to be more willing toeducated and entertain show patrons. Don't confuse this withcarnival type of entertainment. What I am merely saying is thepressure is now on for artists to shine revealing theirhumble/personal side, through humor or through demonstrations, aswell as uncovering the veil of what it is like to be an artist. Theone on one experience can be long lasting and turn a looker into abuyer once they learn more about you, and vice versa, and your art.

  1. Charity and Causes. Charities such as breast cancer awareness, HurricaneKatrina Relief organizations and the local Humane Society are alwayslooking for donations and volunteers. Helping those who seekassistance makes us feel good about ourselves, and this plays a bigpart in building Gen X and Y's self esteem, often being the drivingforce behind these organizations. Their desire spills onto theirfriends and family members trickling into the art fair world. Thishas crept into art fairs because patrons are more likely to attend ashow knowing if there is a discount off admission if a personbrings in canned goods to support a food drive, for example. Someartists are even support their own choice of charitable organizationby donating part of their sales to that organization. This is a winwin for everyone.

I can go on and on about this topic, but to keep these blog posts “quick”I don't have all day. While there are issues artists have when itcomes to hiring Gen X and Ys and how to make items that appeal moreto them, I am hoping towards the end of this blog series I can tacklethis questions. If any of this interests you there is moreinformation in books, magazines, and other resources. Did I missanything you think is worth sharing – let us know and use thecomment button. Next I will be review the past 15 questions and thentackle the question, what does it mean when a customers says “___”? Have a great weekend !

- Michelle Sholund, Check out my craft business' website –

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I think I beat the topic of product development to the death. So lets moveonto a topic that is more lively: customer service. I don't thinkthere is a time we don't talk about customer service – good or bad.However, have you ever really thought about what customer serviceis all about and how it impacts craft artists who sell at shows?Well, now is the time.

Question #13 What is Customer Service?

How would you define “customer service”? Think about all of yourretail and restaurant experiences. A simple definition might be theattention and activity that is intended to ensure thatcustomers receive the goods and services they desire to satisfy theirneeds or wants in the most effective and efficient manner possible . However is it really that cut and dry? When you see a sales personcommunicate with a customer there is one thing that is clear –customer service is all about language, both body language as well asverbal communication. The way you stand, the tone of your voice,your facial expressions and energy level all plays into itty bittycues that signal to customers what a pleasant place to shop and wantto come back again. Don't forget that customers judge you and yourbusiness based on how you carry yourself when interacting withcustomers, its just human nature.

Although most people think of customer service as what happens during a sale,but really customer service occurs before and after the sale too.From the greeting, to interacting with the customer in identifyingtheir needs, to packaging their purchase and asking if they wouldlike to be on your mailing list before they leave is all apart ofcustomer service. It is essential to recognize that withoutcustomers we have no business. The sooner craft artists realizethis, the easier it is to transition oneself from being an artist whocreates great work to a sales person who can also sell your own worktoo. It is also important to ask yourself if you think you wouldmake a great sales person. Sales people should be bubbly, open,outgoing, helpful, insightful, and enthusiastic. If you don't seeyourself as a sales person, then you will need to hire someone orrecruit friends or family members who exhibit these qualities.

The topic of customer service is a big one, and since this is a “quickcraft artist tips” blog, I intend to devote a great deal of timeto the topic with this blog series. I'll be answering questionssuch as what do customers want, how have Gen X and Y'ers affected theway people shop, why do some customers buy while others don't, doeswhat customer say mean more than one thing, what are some tips ondelivering good customer service, and much more. If you have everwondered why sales are lacking, you can't afford to miss the nextseveral posts as it will shed light on how to improve your customerrelations skills to increase profits. Michelle,

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2nd Annual Funky Finds Spring Fling

The 2nd Annual Funky Finds Spring Fling is an indie craft fair to be held on March 13 at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas.The event will feature the work of over 120 artists, crafters & designers from various states. The first 50 attendees to purchase a minimum of five $1.00 raffle tickets will receive a hand-crafted swag bag full of goodies.All raffle proceeds benefit the Humane Society of North Texas and CASA of Tarrant County. The FREE indoor event is family and pet-friendly!
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Since I didn't apply to Naples National and a raft of expensive shows loomed in March, I decided that Fort Myers' downtown "Crafts on the River" would be a low-cost alternative. This non-juried, 3-day show had a booth fee of only $150, and is geared toward country craft artists and (easy, now!) buy/sell vendors. It's situated on the banks of the mighty Caloosahatchee River in downtown (or, as the Fort Myers powers-that-be are determined to call it: "The River District"). The event is an adjunct to the "Edison Festival of Light", the city's premiere in-season event, which lasts for several weeks (and includes the much better-known "ArtFest Fort Myers", which needs no explanation to this audience).

"Crafts on the River" is intended to give crafters and the buy/sell crowd a more or less equal shot at the downtown tourist dollar. Crowds were pretty light on Friday, due to the blustery weather and the fact that there weren't any other notable Festival events to lure visitors, but somewhat to my surprise those who visited, bought. My day's take wouldn't have disappointed me at a higher-end show like the previous week's Coconut Point. Most of my sales weren't to locals, but to visitors--many of whom told me that they'd come downtown because the weather was too cool to go to the beach.

Saturday's crowds were light, too, until mid-afternoon, when folks began to arrive and stake out spots for the 5:30 PM 5K run and the 7 PM float parade, both of which would pass directly by the show venue. It was a family-oriented, kettle-corn buyin' crowd that definitely didn't have art in mind...though my sales were fair and the fine paper-cast artist (a cheerful lady named Ellen) next to me had very respectable sales. The show organizer left it up to each participant if they wanted to stay open through the race and parade. Many did, including the nearby vendors of the Street Fair Holy Trinity: kettle corn, beef jerky, and Budweiser) but I shut 'er down when the sun set. Because most downtown streets are blocked off for the parade, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get out of the artists' lot 4 blocks away. But mercifully the barricades started a block away, so it was easy to escape--despite the parade watcher who crashed the artist lot and parked his/her SUV so it blocked the rear exit to the highway I'd planned to take home. Arrgh....

Sunday was light for everyone despite the antique Corvette and auto show at curbside, as the day dawned with fair skies and warm temperatures, and the sun-starved denizens headed for the beaches in droves. Clouds and even a spritz of rain moved in not long after teardown began at 4 PM.

Lessons Learned:
* Three-day shows, especially ones with a low booth fee, can be profitable, even when the crowd isn't my usual target market.
*The vendors/artists who make country crafts work as hard all day as the "fine artists" in the upscale shows. And they're just as much fun to be around.
* Don't try running a 5K race after you've been standing up selling photography for 7 hours straight. You're not as young as you used to be!

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