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Craft Shows That Are Right For You!
To begin investigating which shows to apply to, you might startwith what you know—those shows you've attended, ones that arewithin an hour or so of your home and ones other vendors haverecommended. You will not always know if the craftsperson whosuggested a show has the same values as you until you check itout for yourself, so this is not always a concrete selectionprinciple. But it's a place to start. If you belong to a craftguild or organization or subscribe to a trade journal, you maybe able to get show recommendations there. Several websites areequipped with lists of local and national shows and all thecontact information. Also log onto some of the craft forumswhere you can ask other crafters and look for some consensus onthe best shows.
You will find information about where and when the show is andwho to contact to apply. Once you call or check out their Website, make sure you apply by the requested deadline. When youcall the promoter of the show or visit their Web site if theyhave one, be sure to ask any of the questions you may have suchas:
What was the attendance last year and what is this year'sexpected attendance? How many years have you been producing theshow? How many booth spaces are there and how many applicationsdo you receive? How do you assign booth spaces? What are theentry and jury fees? Are there any additional fees like % ofgross, parking, electrical? Do I need any special licenses? Whatkinds of people attend your shows? What kinds of crafts do youselect, who makes the selection and what are the bestsellers?What is the average price range of items exhibited? Sold? Whatare the average sales for exhibitors in my medium? What style isthe show? What kind of promotion do you do prior to the show? DoI get some promotional materials? When do you notify thesuccessful applicants? What happens if it rains or snows? Whatare the security arrangements? Any other support available?
A professional promoter should have this information and shouldbe willing to share it with you. If they won't, you may be ableto get it elsewhere—on the Internet or in some craft guides thatare sold by subscription and have show reviews. Some showsrequest you send a self-addressed stamped envelope for theapplication. When you get it, you'll see the booth sizes, feesand what you need to submit. You also may receive a copy of thecontract, which outlines your responsibilities as an exhibitor,such as whether or not the craftsperson must be present in thebooth, what merchandise is and is not allowed in the booth,display requirements and for larger indoor shows, the rulesregarding electricity, unions, fireproofing and the cancellationpolicy. Also, whether or not you need any special permits.Usually, your seller's permit is all that's required.
The best promoters are discriminating about who they select fortheir shows based on unique, original quality products andattractive displays, as shown in your photos or slides—which iswhy using a professional photographer is recommended by mostcraftspeople. They also look for a balanced variety ofcategories. Good vendors attract good customers and so everyonewins—the customer, the vendor and the promoter!
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