Friday, September 11, 2009

A Call From the Fan Side

Hi everyone and good morning. I received an email from a fan requesting some information about booth sharing and this got me thinking. Doing craft shows is a great way to expand your business and teach you how to shape your line.
There are all kinds of shows. There are arts and crafts shows, which are a variety of handmade business owners, fine arts artists, and eclectic do it your self artists. This is more like street bazaars, church functions, or local city events. You need to scope out the event before hand, if you can. Who are the customers? Will they fit into your target customer base? What is the event organizers doing to attract customers? Ask around. I am sure past customers and vendors would love to share their thoughts on the event.

Then we have craft shows. Craft shows vary from show to show but generally they are a whole show of items that are handmade by the artists that is selling them. This is a great place to browse other artists and see how they set up their booths, stock their items, and pitch to the customers. This is not an invitation to copy other crafters / artists. If you intentionally copy someone this will place you in a whole boat of legal trouble and will get your banned from future craft shows. It's a big no no.
 But large craft shows, like Renegade Handmade and Maker Faire, help bring your line to a whole new level. You will be reaching customers that you may never had the chance to reach before. This also allows you to make connections within the crafting community. People who do what you do and know where you are coming from. They have ideas on how to do it better and might have suggestions you didn't think of before. Always listen then decide how you want to act with that new information. It's your business and it's up to you.

Now I am looking to compile a list of Houston (even Austin and Dallas) area arts and crafts shows. I do have a bunch that I already know of or have attended, but I am looking to you to help me fill in the gaps. I am looking for shows that have a good reputation of sales and customer traffic, at most a 4 hour drive outside of Houston, must be at least 2 years old (I would love to know about newer shows too, but keep in mind they may not make the list until we have more information about them), and have a website or some information to contact the organizer.

Please post the information about your show here as a comment or send it to etsyhouston @ gmail dot com.

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