American Craft Week

How are you participating?


Arts Business Institute

How Artists Can Participate in American Craft Week
Posted: 19 Sep 2012 04:00 AM PDT
American Craft Week is coming up. Here’s how to join in!

Currently in its third year, American Craft Week is a project of Craft Retailers and Artists for Tomorrow. It was started as a grassroots movement to celebrate good design, high quality materials and the excellent craftsmanship found in American-made goods. According to Diane Sulg, co-chair and owner of Maddi’s Gallery in Charlotte, North Carolina, “The main idea is to make noise – everyone, all on the same week, calling attention to American crafts.”
The original concept for this celebration and focus on craft is loosely based on the success of “Restaurant Week” which has spurred interest throughout the country. In that spirit, the American Craft Week website has a state-by-state directory listing events taking place in galleries, studios, and arts…

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The Day After

The day after a craft show is filled with so many emotions; from exhilaration to disappointment, excitement to exhaustion, renewal to questioning if you have chosen the right path.  While all these are valid reactions, try to avoid extremes.   All craft fairs and art festivals are learning experiences, whether hugely successful or ‘a marketing opportunity’.  Take some time to put this experience in perspective.

What was it about the venue that made it a success or a failure in your eyes?  Accessibility, advertising, entrance fee, booth layout, parking availability.  Were you the only vendor in your niche or just one of many?  Were there only handmade vendors, or were buy/sell items displayed in many booths?   Consider these factors when choosing which shows to apply to in the future.

What did you learn about what you sell?  Too much inventory, too little?  Not enough color choices or sizes?  Too many?  Need more selection or were customers so overwhelmed by the choices they had trouble deciding?  How about your prices?  Did you sell out in no time because buyers couldn’t believe the bargains, or did they put items down once they checked the price tag?  There is always some of that, but if everyone does it, perhaps it’s time to revisit your pricing strategy.

How did your display look?  Did you take pictures?  Now is a good time to make note of what worked and what didn’t.  Determine what new display items you may want for the next show.  I’ve included a few of ones Daffodil Corner and Happy Whosits used at The Big Crafty.

If you had a fantastic show, congratulations!  Get busy replenishing that inventory.  But remember, there are probably still things you can do to improve for the next one. 

If you just about broke even, don’t despair.  Objectively look at the reasons the results weren’t what you hoped for.   Plan to adjust what is in your control to do something about.  For example, record breaking high temperatures in Asheville isn’t something I can control.  But I can have a more varied selection of critters for shoppers to choose from.

One More Day to the Show

The Big Crafty is now less than a day away.  Here’s what I have accomplished in the past few days:

  • All inventory logged, tagged and packed into plastic tubs for transport to the show
  • All the table covers are clean and packed into their plastic tub
  • All display materials such as wooden trays and baskets are packed
  • Got starting cash from the bank
  • Camera with extra batteries ready to go
  • Packed business cards, holder, calculator, pens, paper, tape, twisty ties, lint remover, order book, scissors into the ‘junk basket’

This afternoon I loaded the car and deactivated all the OOAK items that were listed in my Etsy shop.  I updated my shop announcement as well.

I also made something new especially for this show:  crocheted flower pins.  These are great worn on a jacket or pinned to a hat.  I took a few quick snaps to share:

I’ll beback next week to give you an update on how the show went.

Getting Ready for The Big Crafty (cont)

In my inbox today I found the Vendor Details email from Brandy and Justin.  Daffodil Corner and Happy Whosits will be in booth 10 this year, in front of the Biltmore building.  This is on the opposite side of Pack Place from the Art Museum.  I’m a little nervous about being so far away from where the action is.  I think this side also gets more direct sun, so it may hotter.

The instructions also included time slots for unloading, based upon booth number.  Of course booths 1-29 are first!  The plus is that we get more time to set-up.  The downside is what time I have to leave home to be there before 9:30 AM! 

I printed off all the instructions. Then I mapped out my route via Google maps and printed that too (I haven’t driven to Asheville from here before).  Lastly I printed out the ‘bring show list’ Sue and I use to double check when packing the car.  With Sue in Charlotte and me two and a half hours northwest, coordination is essential.  For example, I have the tent, weights, table covers.  Sue has the tables, chairs and cash box.

The link to NC Sales tax info in the instructions reminded me to check the rate for Buncombe County.  It’s 6.75%.  Some counties in NC have higher rates, so it’s always good to double check.

Then I got back to tagging the inventory that I started yesterday.

The Big Crafty – T minus 7 days

Daffodil Corner is participating in The Big Crafty on Sunday, July 8 from noon to 6:00 pm in beautiful Asheville, NC.  I am sharing the booth with my good friend and former co-worker, Sue of Happy Whosits

As this, my first craft show of 2012, is a week away,  I thought it might be fun to do a kind of countdown to the big day, describing the activities each day of the last week before the show.  I’ll call today T minus 7.

I checked the long range weather forecast via the National Weather Service website.  Temperature predicted to be around 88, with a chance of scattered thunder storms.  That means dress cool, bring the tent sides, and have plenty of water on hand.  Picked up a case of bottled water while running errands this morning.

This is a good day to check inventory, making sure each item is listed on my inventory spreadsheet.  Any items which fall under CPSIA guidelines must have the “care and feeding” tag, as Sue calls it.  This is a tag which contains an inventory tracking number, date created, content and care instructions.  Each item gets a price tag at the same time.  Lookout dining room table you are about to get inundated.

More tomorrow…

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