search  current discussion  categories  events - fairs & shows 

doing your first big show - any tips and tricks?... long

updated thu 16 may 02


claybair on wed 15 may 02

I don't recall anyone mentioning this but I have noticed that each show I
have done has different personality. I have to figure out what will sell
and at what price range. Perhaps this applies to me only because my work is
fairly eclectic.
There is also my particular "Duh" factor... like bringing garden pieces to a
garden tour show. The last show I did it was suggested to bring work for a
seconds table. Well, I didn't because I thought it was unprofessional. While
volunteering I noticed a continual feeding frenzy around that section. I
lost out there!
Besides talking to the show organizer I like to connect with someone who has
done the show repeatedly.
I ask questions like:
what type of work sells and at what price range
what do customers generally look for ...functional, non-functional
etc.....(If there are lots of tourists then you want something that can be
transported easily e.g. in a carry on bag or clearly advertise your can
what types of work are sold there ( I avoid any that allow crocheted toilet
paper holders)
how many customers go to the show
what weather to expect & do they have any unusual weather occurrences e.g.
afternoon thunderstorms, microburst of wind, brutal sun (I have experienced
each of these)
what surface will I set up on ...gravel, dirt, concrete, street, grass,
flat, hilly uneven.... this lets me figure out how to anchor the tent and
How far is parking from the set up.... do I need to bring a dolly?
I agree with Mel so I keep my shows local. I have talked to many artists
complaining about expenses.... (housing, parking, food, travel etc) and
losing their shirts because the show was a bust for whatever random reason.
Then there is the wear & tear of such a schedule on the artisan.
Much of this information is no guarantee that you will have a great show but
will merely give you an idea of what the show has done in the past.
Eat and drink what you know will not cause you distress.
That's all I can think of right now.
I think your work has a great deal to do with it.... I've been to your web
site and seen your work..... I give you a big thumbs up!
Have a great show.

If you have specific questions I'd be glad to share my tips with you.

Gayle Bair
Bainbridge Island, WA

-----Original Message-----
From: Lois Ruben Aronow

With craft show season upon us, I, and many others, will be out there
showing and selling. For me, it means my first really big juried

I've sold and shown out of my studio, and can up together a display
that looks nice. But I wonder what to expect. For instance, it's an
outdoor show. I have an EZ Up. Should I bring another person with me
to help out? I know an extra set of hands is always good. What if I
have to go to the bathroom and I'm alone?

I'm guessing there are zillions of things yet to be experienced (and
I've always enjoyed the wacky customer stories shared here). Any show
survival tips and tricks?
Lois Ruben Aronow

Fine Craft Porcelain