Tips for Applying to a Craft Faircomments (1) August 28th, 2008
We've already talked about tips for selling at a craft fair, but of course there's a first step -- you have to be accepted! The competition can be intense at a bigger event like a holiday show; Jenny Ryan of Felt Club in Los Angeles estimates that she gets three times as many applications as there are available spots. Here are some tips from Jenny and Torie Nguyen of Portland's Crafty Wonderland for making your application as strong as possible!
1. Fill out your application completely. Torie's 101: "Be sure to read and carefully follow all of the application instructions." Jenny adds, "Sounds like a no-brainer, but an incomplete application starts things off on the wrong foot. You don't want organizers having to chase you down for information when they're already overloaded; tracking down missing info for these folks takes precious time, which we could be using to give all the applications the proper attention."
2. Make sure your photos represent you well. Torie points out, "It's hard to see the craftsmanship and details in a blurry photo! If your skills aren't what you'd like them to be, ask a friend to help you. The photos are often the only thing the event organizers have on which to base their decision, so excellent photos could be your ticket to getting into the show." And Jenny has some great hands-on advice, especially for jewelry, which is notoriously hard to photograph: "No one expects you to be the next Ansel Adams, but these photos represent your work, so it's worth a bit of effort—especially since these photos will probably end up being used in promotions for the show. There are some great tips on building a DIY lightbox at home, including this one on the Craftzine blog, which can be especially helpful when taking shots of smaller items like jewelry and accessories. The main thing to remember is to give your work the respect it deserves—avoid using the flash, and keep the backgrounds simple."
3. If you don't get into the show, don't take it personally. Jenny says, "I can't speak for every show out there, but the Felt Club jury works very hard to present a well-balanced and curated show, but there's just no physical way we can fit everyone in. It doesn't mean your stuff isn't good, it just means it didn't fit into the show this time around. Be persistent and patient—you could always get called in if a vendor needs to cancel. It's happened several times over the years with our show, so hang in there."
If you're interested in selling at a holiday show, many of them are accepting applications now; Felt Club has a deadline of August 29 (better hurry!), and Crafty Wonderland's is September 19. A list of other craft fairs can be found here, too. And for more inspiration, check out the Crafty Wonderland and Felt Club flickr pools. Good luck!