craft & bake 2011!

the one thing i forgot to bring in all my packing up for the show was my camera! so all i've got are these terrible little camera phone photos. it was such a bummer because i was pretty happy with my set-up this year. i guess it's better than nothing, right?
i decided to only do 1 show this year, & it was a no-brainer to go with craft & bake. it was a huge success last year & because it's geared towards students and their wives at our local college, it's super affordable to participate! with how much effort & work preparing for a craft show is with 2 kiddos underfoot, i've really been evaluating whether or not to continue doing craft shows at all in this season of life, & how my craft business fits into our family life (i never want it to become the other way around!).
i debuted almost all-new product, & so as a result my set-up was somewhat new if for no other reason than i had never displayed some of these products before! here are some of my thoughts & tips from this show:

  1. invest in a workhorse display piece.
your display does not have to be expensive or fancy, in fact, i think some of the most simple displays are the most beautiful that allow the focus to stay on your lovely product. however, i've learned a few things by trial & error as i've 'graduated' from just laying everything flat on a tablecloth to trying to make it a nice display. one of the first displays i made was an old window [$20 at a flea market] attached with brackets to a piece of shelf board [$10ish at home depot]. it's a bit of a beast to carry around & fit in my car, but it is a great neutral backdrop that adds something visually interesting to my table. it's unique, but also can display a very wide variety of different products!
here's the post about how i made it. i've used it at almost every show i've done. these pictures show a bit of the progression of my display set-up [& products!]:
i store it on top of a bookshelf in my house until it's needed for a show- most things i use for display work double-duty decorating my home in their off time! if you're looking for fun display ideas, pinterest has so much inspiration your head will explode.

2. have a command central.

ie: a little space where you can keep your show essentials handy but hidden from your overall display. mine is this little crate [the $10 kind from michael's, although a weather-worn vintage one would be fantastic too if that fits your booth 'look'] spray painted green. it also pulls double-duty as part of my display, but is a perfect, secure, hidden spot to tuck my cashbox, calculator, & diet coke.

3. bring a few unexpecteds.

there are tons of great lists all over the internets about what to bring with you to a craft show, how to prepare, etc. but i will say that besides just the extra price tags & such it's really helpful to have some scissors, a roll of cute ribbon, & something that attaches quickly & easily like a clothespin. i can't tell you how many times these items have come through for me in a pinch! an example from this show: i totally forgot that i was supposed to provide a wrapped up item as a door prize. well, i picked out one of my bangles to use, but thought i had nothing to wrap it with... i put it in one of my shopping bags [brown paper lunch bag] folded it over, clothespinned it shut with a mini extra clothespin & fashioned a quick bow from my little emergency ribbon spool.
a few extra business cards inside the bag & one clipped to the bag later... not too shabby! [sidenote: whenever i include a business card in a package, i always make it 2 or 3 so that if the person likes my stuff they can keep one card & give 1 or 2 away! just a quick way to hopefully help word-of-mouth work for you.]

and just a few more notes about shows in general:

-if the table right next to you has a similar product, don't panic. people are going to like whatever they like, & attitude is everything. if you're happy with your product, you will represent it the best you can & leave the decision to the shopper. just place the item that is the most similar on the opposite end of your table from the other seller to create some visual distance. i bet no one will even notice that the items are similar!

-the economy is really, really tough right now. don't be discouraged if people seem to love your stuff but no one is buying. think of all the times you've gone to a craft show & wanted to buy someone's entire table but had to pick only 1 thing from the entire show instead. be gracious to the folks who ask for a discount on your $6 item because it's the last hour of the show, & the folks who inspect an item thoroughly while asking questions with the clear intent to go home & try to make their own. these things happen!

-always try to remember to take a photo of your whole booth all set-up. it helps you remember the set-up if you liked it & gives you big-picture perspective on some of the details you might need to change in the future- for example, i can see clearly from my photos above that i need a longer floor length tablecloth! also, larger juried shows sometimes require a photo of your set-up as part of the application process.

-always try to buy at least one thing from a fellow seller, even if only a cupcake pop as a 2pm pick me up [which i totally did. delish!]. show your support for the show & for local small business. walk around & talk to the other sellers, it's such a great way to make new friends & network!

two more photos: yay! i'm working on getting some of these new products into my etsy shop in the new year!


upcoming show!

i've been a bit under the radar as usual when a craft show is approaching... craft & bake 2011 is this weekend & i've been swamped trying to get everything together! i have lots of new products i've never shown before, which is great & exciting (!!!) but thaat means i'm almost starting from scratch planning & executing an all-new table layout. pinterest has been a huge help of course & i'm so excited to see it all come together on saturday!

you can tell from my recent tweets that some hardcore crafting prep has been underway:

i'll spare you any more slightly-frightening-projects-in-progress photos, except for my dining room table piling up with finished lovelies, all ready to go!


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