Here are my answers to Mymy's Craft Show Survey:
+ why do you sell at craft shows vs. other selling venues?
Selling at Craft Shows allows me to sell lots at one time and I like getting direct feedback from customers/potential customers.
+ how do you decide what shows to do?
I look for shows where my work will be a good fit and that either a reasonable driving distance from home or are in a town where I have friends :)
+ what makes a show a "good show"?
A 'good show' is one where:
- the other vendors are showing high quality handmade work
- the attendees show respect & appreciation for you & your work (as in, you don't get a ton a really offensive/stupid comments or questions about your work and/or your career choice)
- A good show is well-run and the organizers are friendly & helpful
- I take home a reasonable profit (as in, I *make* money far above & beyond covering my expenses - I like to make a profit of at least 10 times the booth fee)
+ for juried shows, how do you know what photos to send?
Indie Shows differ from Fine Art and Craft Shows on this point - the images that get you into a Fine Art and Craft Show can keep you out of an Indie Show in some cases - I send images that represent all the different types of crafts I make & sell (pottery, jewelry and handmade buttons) but I choose an image of each type of work in the same color scheme so the images still look related to each other.
Here's a link to more of my advice on Images for Juried Shows.
+ what preparations go into planning for selling at a craft show?
- I plan way ahead of time to make sure I will have enough inventory for a show.
- I make travel arrangements ahead of time
- I try to keep my show supplies and equipment well-organized so packing takes less time
+ do you have a check-list of items to bring? if so, what is on it?
I do have a checklist (but it tends to be more in my head these days because I do so many shows in row)
Things You Need to Bring to a Craft Show:
* enough of you artwork or craft work to fill a booth (or table at Indie Shows and Flea Markets)
* a tent, stakes and/or weights (outdoor shows only)
* display equipment (shelves, tables, table covers, hanging system for 2-D work, jewelry display items, mirror, etc)
* business cards
* signage (some shows provide signs with your name, booth numbers, etc)
* packaging materials (bags, paper or bubble wrap, tape,boxes, etc)
* change ($1's, $5's, $10's, $20's and coinage)
* sales tax permit (some shows provide a temporary permit for vendors)
* ability to accept credit cards (optional)
* drinking water and food (or buy festival food - I do like festival food on occasion)
* baby wipes (you get dirty at shows)
* glass cleaner (your work gets dirty at shows)
* a vehicle big enough to fit all your show stuff in (I fit all my pottery stuff in a Subaru wagon)
* a hand cart (some shows let you drive up to your booth, others don't or are inside)
+ how much money do you bring for change? what do you keep your money in at shows?
I bring at least $50 for change in mostly $1's and $5's and I keep it in my lucky wooden cigar box, but I used to use a small file folder (coupon organizer) that fit in my apron.
+ do you accept credit cards? why? why not?
I do accept credit cards because so many people use a debit card or credit card with a 'rewards program' these days - not too many people carry cash or a check book anymore.
+ do you accept checks? why? why not?
I do accept checks, but am careful to check identification.
+ what about charging tax?
I always check what the local sales tax rate is and make sure I am set up to collect it - I really love show organizers that provide a temporary permit for vendors because if you are from out-of-state the process can be a lot of paper work . . .
+ if a crafter has a wide price range of items is it smart to bring them all? or stick to a certain price point? why/why not?
I bring a wide range of price points to my shows especially new shows because you never know what will sell. I almost always bring too much work.
+ do you price each item or have a price list on hand?
I price each item because almost all of my work is one-of-a-kind.
+ do personalized items sell at craft shows? (do you ever take orders & then send the item to the customer afterwards?)
I do take orders at shows for items I will custom make later and ship to the customer.
+ what do you use for a table cover? sign?
-I use differ fabrics for table cover - depending on the show - sometimes plan black and sometimes a fun retro print.
-I have my own sign with my name and logo on it.
+ how do you display your items?
I have shelves & table-top pedestals for my pottery, earring & necklace racks for my jewelry and small flip-bins for my handmade buttons on cards.
+ do you bring bags/packing supplies for customers?
I reuse paper grocery bags & newspaper for my pottery, pretty gift boxes & little paper bags for my jewelry.
+ how do you transport your items to & from the show?
In my station wagon in big 'Rubbermaid' containers.
+ do you need a business license to do a craft show? what about a permit?
In most cases a 'Resale Permit' to collect sales tax is all that is necessary, but I always check to make sure nothing else is required.
+ any other advice/ideas?
Get to the show on time especially if it is your first show - don't show up 30 minutes before it starts. You will not be ready when customers arrive and will annoy your neighbors.