If you have a product that your sure will be a bestseller at a craft show, then it’s time to start researching craft shows in your area. But it’s important to realize, before you start applying, not all craft shows are worth applying to.
There are several factors that go into producing a good craft show so just because an organizer is lacking an element below, doesn’t mean that the show won’t be great. However, if all areas are waving a giant, bright red flag, that may give you a good indication as to whether it will be worth your time and money or not.
1) Their rules & terms have a negative vibe
We can’t tell you how many amazing event organizers we’ve come across through Made Urban and their positive vibe is evident across the board; in their emails, their photos, their Facebook posts, etc.
Organizers need to have rules in place to ensure vendors are committed and they don’t get stiffed at the end of the day, but if their terms have a negative vibe, seem outrageous and completely unaccommodating, it could be a sign of what’s to come.
There is always a nice way to put things and you don’t want to deal with someone who is snippy or rude (even in written form) when they’re trying to make a customer out of you; how will they treat you once they have your money?
2) They don’t have an online presence
In this day and age, you’re missing out if you don’t have your business online in some way.
There are some events that are in a small enough town or have been around for years and have a huge following, that it makes spreading the word easy. But if you’re in a big city where a couple of posters and word of mouth won’t cut it, a blog, website, Facebook Page, Twitter, etc. are extremely helpful.
If none of those are in place (or they are but are a ghost town), be sure to inquire as to how they’re going to market the event.
3) The vendor lineup doesn’t look promising
If they have a website or social media page, you should be able to find which vendors are participating.
If the show isn’t juried or you’re seeing a lot of home-based businesses, you may end up competing with mass-produced products or several other vendors selling items under the same category as you.
Juried events mean that the organizers take applications, review them and accept vendors that fit their theme, spacing, and diversity. Without this process, they may be missing the vendor variety needed for an interesting show.
4) The organizer doesn’t seem excited about your participation
Organizers need to be passionate about what they’re selling. You, your products, and your brand are a part of that.
If they aren’t enthusiastic about what you do and aren’t excited that you’re thinking about applying, have applied, or are accepted to the show, it may be reflected in their marketing.
They should be boasting about the vendors that are going to be attending and if they’re not excited, how are they going to get shoppers excited about attending?
5) Other vendors don’t have good things to say about the event
There are bound to be vendors who aren’t happy with a show due to low sales, but that doesn’t mean it’s the organizer’s fault. Their products may not have been a fit for the show, their price point may have been too high for the demographic, their attitude may have been poor, etc.
One or two unhappy vendors don’t define whether a craft show is good or not.
Multiple vendors all having the same complaints is a pretty clear sign that something was off.
6) The organizer isn’t responsive or organized
Craft shows and events take a lot of planning and organization to be successful, making organizers busy people.
Don’t expect a response within the hour, but if you’re constantly having to follow up to get an application form, an email answered, or they’re oblivious as to who you are each time you are in contact, put some more thought into whether this is the right show for you.
These are things that are a part of their job, so if they aren’t getting those areas right, there may be other areas that are slipping through the cracks too.
7) The organizer is unwilling to discuss details
If you’re chatting with the craft show organizer before making your decision and they’re unwilling to divulge any details, it may be a sign they don’t have many for you.
As long as you’re not asking for private information or company secrets, they should be able to tell you basic information that will help you make a decision.
Here’s a good list of questions to ask an organizer before committing to a craft show. Businesses don’t want to give away too much inside information but if you’re deciding whether or not you want to spend your money on a booth, they should be able to give you some general info.
8) Timing and location don’t seem optimal
Planning a craft show on the same weekend as another big event can cause a conflict. Sometimes it can work in the craft show’s favor by piggybacking off of their crowds or working with the other organizer to cross-promote. But if the event you’re thinking of applying to is on the same weekend as a city festival and in the other direction, it may have low attendance.
The location of the event should also be taken into consideration. Look for plenty of; free parking, foot traffic, visibility, and easy directions. Venues that require a drive out of the city, expensive parking fees or are hard to find may deter some shoppers from visiting (especially if bad weather compounds on top of that).
9) The event is unknown but fees are high
New events can be great, but generally, when someone is organizing their first show, they start small and keep fees low since they have a learning curve ahead of them.
If you don’t know the organizer from the craft scene, you can’t find previous events they’ve organized, and they’re going big in terms of venue, vendors, and fees; you may want to see how their first event goes before diving in.
It could turn out to be a great event despite these facts but do your homework on them to be sure they know how to put on a good show, despite never doing it before.
10) The branding is off
If the craft show organizer is telling you it’s going to be a unique, modern, edgy event, but their logo and posters say otherwise, they may know what they want to deliver but are unsure how to do it.
You should get a good feel for the type of show it will be from their logo alone. If you’re getting an opposite vibe of what they say they’re delivering, chances are shoppers will too, which is going to affect the type of crowd it attracts.
If you’re looking for more hints on what to watch for and the essentials to look for when considering events to join, check out: MAKE MORE MONEY AT CRAFT FAIRS.
It will help you avoid the events that aren’t right for your business and ensure you submit a killer application so you’re sure you get into the ones you choose (even if your brand isn’t a perfect fit). DOWNLOAD A SAMPLE CHAPTER.
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Hey, I’m Erin 🙂 I write about small business and craft show techniques I’ve learned from being a small business owner for almost 2 decades, selling at dozens of craft shows, and earning a diploma in Visual Communication Design. I hope you find my advice helpful!