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Posts tagged craft show
I'm Heading Your Way Chicago!
Hey all!  In about a month, Good Natured Art will be in Chicago for a Renegade Craft Fair on September 19+20, AND I'll be teaching a couple workshops on September 22 at The Niche Lab.

So I have just under four weeks to make as much felted art as possible for Renegade, which means I probably shouldn't be blogging, but hey, procrastination is fun too, right? Seriously though, I'm honored to have been chosen as a vendor for Renegade, plus the husband and I will be sneaking in a few vacation days into the mix while we're there.  We're staying in an apartment that I found via Airbnb that is super close to the craft fair location in Wicker Park.  We'd love any restaurant recommendations if you have any!

I'll be teaching another owl figurine workshop and an all NEW wool painting workshop.  These are so fun for me, and I get tons of great feedback from students.  Here's a few shots from a previous owl workshop this year:






They are affordable classes, you'll get to keep the supplies, and space is limited, so sign up soon!

On a related note,  I will soon be able to travel around more to teach even more workshops, so leave a comment below if you know of a space or shop to host one near you.  Let's all learn how to felt!!


Craft Show Recap - The Hip Handmade Market
The cutest damn vendor badges ever!

Last Saturday, I was a vendor at the Hip Handmade Market in Joplin, MO.  The very first Hip Handmade Market was back in March in Webb City, MO, and I was a vendor then, too.  As a small business owner, I have to do my research before I sign up for shows, especially if they are out of town.  I have to be selective for a few reasons.  One: I have to make sure the audience is right for my product. (Which brings up another point--you have to know your audience if you are a seller of anything. Maybe I'll write another post on that later...) I make very specialized pieces that won't appeal to the bargain shopper.  I don't do craft shows to make quick sales of cheap things.  I sell quality artwork and collectible pieces.  My prices are fair for the supplies and time I put in.  Period.  Two:  My inventory is finite.  There are only so many things I can make. If I'm going to spend a day or two hanging out at a show (read: not producing more products), then I want to maximize my exposure to my target audience.  Three: I want to have FUN!  It takes a special person or group of people to make a craft show fun for its vendors and volunteers.  Great music and food go a long way--just sayin'.

So, with all of that said, I can HIGHLY recommend The Hip Handmade Market as a vendor AND a shopper.  Really, you know a craft show is a good fit for you and your wares if you can admire and support the other vendors.




Emma, the show coordinator, does a phenomenal job organizing and planning and promoting.  I know she puts in so much time to make the show perfect and amazing for everyone.  She even drove thirty miles to meet me one weekend to get a few things for a TV spot.  She certainly didn't have to do that, but she did, and that makes her amazing. Also, 2014 is the first year for HHM.  So, if she can pull off amazing shows the very first year, imagine what can happen in the future.



So, next time a Hip Handmade Market pops up (likely Spring 2015), you should come!  And if you make handmade things, and you think this might be your audience, you should definitely apply!  I had such a great time meeting and chatting with shoppers and other vendors and very much look forward to the next one.
Danicraft show
Craft Show Etiquette for Vendors & Shoppers (Revisited)
I'm bringing back the information in this post, because for me, it's very relevant.  If you're a handmade shop owner too, it might be relevant to you right now as well.  Besides, we all need a few reminders from time to time about simple things we can do to make our craft show visits and venues way more pleasant and fun.  Even after rereading my own advice below, I realized that I needed to remember a few points as well. 

So check out my version of proper craft show etiquette, and please feel free to comment or add to it at the end of the blog post!
 
 
Vendors:

-Say hello and introduce yourself to your booth neighbors. You may not like their crafts, and you may even be competing directly with them, but you'll be in their company all day (or for multiple days), and you may need each other's help at some point. (Think bathroom break, breaking bigger bills, borrowing set-up supplies like tape and scissors, emergency display rescue...)
-Be mindful of your space. Booth space is a precious commodity. Please be considerate about your allotted space and don't let your display creep into others' spaces. That is definitely an awkward conversation that can be avoided. However, if you do have to address this issue, being nice (even cheerful) goes an incredibly long way.

-Be friendly. Greet your customers! Ask them how they're doing. Be genuine and smile. Please smile. Also, small talk can be a powerful selling tool.

-Teach them!  Don't assume that they know all about your craft or what everything is at your booth.  Offer them little tidbits of information. This will take practice.  After a show or two, you'll get the hang of the most frequently asked questions from your customers.  (For example, a lot of people assume that my pieces are knitted then felted or are boiled wool pieces. I say politely, "Actually, these are made with needle felting.  Have you heard of that before?"  Usually, that leads into a short explanation or demonstration of what needle felting is.) If they're interested, they'll stay and browse and even ask more questions.  If they're not, they'll move on. No big deal. 

-Keep your space tidy.  Shoppers don't want to see your all your boxes or trash bags.  They just don't.

-Please don't start tearing down your booth before the actual end of the show.  This really bothers me. I'm definitely there to sell my handcrafted goods and share about my craft, and I'm going to do so for as long as possible. When vendors start to pack up before the advertised closing time, shoppers start to feel pressured to leave.  None of us want that!

-Leave your space the way you found it.  Out of respect to the folks who put on your show and to the venue hosting it, don't leave behind any remnants of your set-up, and be sure to clean up any trash.
 
Shoppers:
-Please don't haggle or expressly state that you feel items are overpriced. I can guarantee you that any handmade artist has spent a lot of time and thought trying to come up with the right prices for their work.  There's probably been some trial and error involved, too. This work might even be an artist's only source of income. Not only do we need to cover supplies, but we deserve to get paid for our time and labor.  Our time is just as valuable as yours, so please be respectful.

-Please ask permission to take photos. It's just rude not to.

-Please keep an eye on the children with you.  Most of my stuff is very kid friendly and durable.  But that doesn't mean it's okay for your child to put one of my owls in her mouth. Yuck.

-If you have questions, or even a custom request, please, PLEASE ask! Most vendors are more than happy to accommodate your requests!

-If using cash, try to pay with smaller bills (twenties, tens, fives, ones). If at all possible, please don't try to buy something at 8:30 a.m. with a large bill, unless, of course, you'll be spending most of that bill.  Most vendors would find breaking a larger bill early in the day difficult to do.



There you go.  Simple tips to make your craft show season wonderful and stress-free. (Ha, who am I kidding?)
Danicraft show
Cider Days in Springfield
Last weekend was a unique, annual event here in Springfield, Missouri called Cider Days.  Each year, a cute, historic downtown street is blocked off and filled with art, craft and food vendors. It's so much fun, and this year was my second year there with Good Natured. We had wonderful weather and great crowds! Folks bring out their entire families and even their pets! We saw so many dogs, a few cats in slings, a ball python, a rat, and even a hamster in a bowl--what??

I took a few booth photos, but we forgot to take photos of our crowded booth and how busy we were---uh, because we were so busy!


 

I was able to start a list of people interested in classes or workshops, so if you're local and you want to be on the contact list for that, let me know!

Oh, and I won an award! The jury gave me the Outstanding Local Artist award!! I am so honored to have been chosen out of all the artists and crafters, and I've been on a high ever since! (This giant sign is now hanging on my refrigerator at home, by the way.)



One more photo to share.  There were grasshoppers everywhere.  This one decided to rest on a tulip.  Meh. I don't mind.



Danicraft show
My Maker Faire Experience
The Tulsa Mini Maker Faire was last Saturday.  Maker Faires are so different when compared to a traditional or indie craft shows.  It's basically like a giant show-and-tell, and if you make something (anything) and want to show it off or teach others how to do it, these are a great place to do so.  This is the second year for the Mini Maker Faire in Tulsa, and it's my second year to do it as well.

What I enjoy most about the maker faire is that I get to teach others and demonstrate how needle felting works. And by the end of the day, we have a collaborative painting that faire attendees have contributed to! (You can see the in-progress needle felted painting of food below in the last photo. Also, I'm really good at making awesome faces when I'm talking and having my photo taken at the same time.)




Having experienced the Maker Faire again and enjoying a day of needle felting demonstrations and selling DIY kits and supplies helps me to realize that I really want to teach this stuff!  If you are local-ish to the Springfield area and would be interested in doing a workshop of some kind, let me know.  Leave a comment or email me (goodnaturedbydani AT gmail DOT com.) 
Danicraft show, diy, needle felting
Some Updates for You!
Last weekend in Kansas City at the Strawberry Swing Indie Craft show was great!  We had to persevere through a surprise storm that lasted for hours, but the sun eventually came out and we had a fabulous time.  I met some wonderful new customers, saw some fabulous repeat customers, and shopped for some new treasures for myself as well.  I discovered that my new felted paintings in embroidery hoops are wildly popular, so you'll be seeing more of those!




I'll be in Tulsa on Saturday, August 30 for the Tulsa Mini Maker Faire!  I'm taking special orders now for pick-up during the show! (Email me at goodnaturedbydani at gmail dot com.)  I'll also have some DIY Ball Garland kits available then, and I'm considering making another kit.  Maybe a DIY owl? What felted thing would you want to make?

One last thing--a VW update! (If you're a new reader, you may not know that my husband and I bought a VW camper van.  It needs some work and love, so that's exactly what it's getting!)  Currently, there is an old Subaru in my driveway, taking up space that we don't have.  My husband is taking out the engine and wiring (and making ridiculous faces in my photos) and putting it into our van.  Apparently, this is a pretty common modification for Volkswagens (oh, the things I'm learning.)  I'm so proud of him for figuring out all of this, but I'm definitely ready to get rid of this extra car.  Keep up the good work, honey!


Danicraft show, volkswagen
Craft Show Season is HERE!!
The Strawberry Swing in Kansas City is less than two weeks away, which means my version of craft show season (read: the period of time when Dani gets little sleep and her arm goes numb from felting so much) is here!  As usual, I've come up with brand new products  that need brand new displays right before a show.  So, no pressure.  Actually, my amazing husband put together exactly what I had in mind for a new display, now it just needs to be painted.

If you are in the area, you should stop by the Strawberry Swing! Here are the deets:




I'll also be in Tulsa at the end of August, for the Tulsa Mini Maker Faire!  Will I see you in either city?
Danicraft show
Weekend Craft Show Recap and Some Thoughts on Craft Show Etiquette



I attended my first holiday show last Saturday: a small show at a local high school. It's my third year. This particular show was actually the first one I had ever done back in 2011. I was a bit disappointed in the turnout, but I still had good sales, which all occurred by noon--weird. Three years ago, almost all the vendor spots were full at this particular venue. This year it seemed as though only half of the available vendor spaces were taken. Yikes. I think maybe some more promotion might be in order for next year.

So, I'm going on my third year of shows, and I have some thoughts to share, especially as the busy holiday craft show season begins.  I wish all craft show shoppers and vendors practiced a general set of etiquette guidelines like these....

Vendors:

-Say hello and introduce yourself to your booth neighbors. You may not like their crafts, and you may even be competing directly with them, but you'll be in their company all day (or for multiple days), and you may need each other's help at some point. (Think bathroom break, breaking bigger bills, borrowing set-up supplies like tape and scissors, emergency display rescue...)

-Be mindful of your space. Booth space is a precious commodity. Please be considerate about your allotted space and don't let your display creep into others' spaces. That is definitely an awkward conversation that can be avoided. However, if you do have to address this issue, being nice (even cheerful) goes an incredibly long way.

-Be friendly. Greet your customers! Ask them how they're doing. Be genuine and smile. Please smile. Also, small talk can be a powerful selling tool.

-Teach them!  Don't assume that they know all about your craft or what everything is at your booth.  Offer them little tidbits of information. This will take practice.  After a show or two, you'll get the hang of the most frequently asked questions from your customers.  (For example, a lot of people assume that my pieces are knitted then felted or are boiled wool pieces. I say politely, "Actually, these are made with needle felting.  Have you heard of that before?"  Usually, that leads into a short explanation or demonstration of what needle felting is.) If they're interested, they'll stay and browse and even ask more questions.  If they're not, they'll move on. No big deal. 

-Keep your space tidy.  Shoppers don't want to see your all your boxes or trash bags.  They just don't.

-Please don't start tearing down your booth before the actual end of the show.  This really bothers me. I'm definitely there to sell my handcrafted goods and share about my craft, and I'm going to do so for as long as possible. When vendors start to pack up before the advertised closing time, shoppers start to feel pressured to leave.  None of us want that!

-Leave your space the way you found it.  Out of respect to the folks who put on your show and to the venue hosting it, don't leave behind any remnants of your set-up, and be sure to clean up any trash.

Shoppers:

-Please don't haggle or expressly state that you feel items are overpriced. I can guarantee you that any handmade artist has spent a lot of time and thought trying to come up with the right prices for their work.  There's probably been some trial and error involved, too. This work might even be an artist's only source of income. Not only do we need to cover supplies, but we deserve to get paid for our time and labor.  Our time is just as valuable as yours, so please be respectful.

-Please ask permission to take photos. It's just rude not to.

-Please keep an eye on the children with you.  Most of my stuff is very kid friendly and durable.  But that doesn't mean it's okay for your child to put one of my owls in her mouth. Yuck.

-If you have questions, or even a custom request, please, PLEASE ask! Most vendors are more than happy to accommodate your requests!

-If using cash, try to pay with smaller bills (twenties, tens, fives, ones). If at all possible, please don't try to buy something at 8:30 a.m. with a large bill, unless, of course, you'll be spending most of that bill.  Most vendors would find breaking a larger bill early in the day difficult to do.



What are you thoughts about these guidelines? As a shopper or vendor (or both), do you agree with these? Do you have anything to add?

I love craft shows--as a vendor and a shopper.  I love knowing that when I make a purchase, I'm (hopefully) supporting that artist enough to allow them to keep creating. As a vendor, I love connecting one-on-one with customers. I love chatting with them about their own crafting endeavors and about what they plan on doing with my products (i.e. adding to their collection of pigs, hanging birds from a wreath, etc.). So this holiday season, hit up a local craft fair or two--and have FUN!



Danicraft show
Mini Maker Faire in Tulsa
So last Saturday, I attended the first Mini Maker Faire in Tulsa as a vendor.  If you've never heard about Maker Faires, their slated as "The Greatest Show and Tell on Earth."  This was my first show in Oklahoma, so I was really excited to have a new audience for my felted goodies. 

But then the weather forecast came in: rain.  And boy, did it! We arrived in Tulsa right around 9:30 a.m.  We had just enough time to make one unloading trip to our tent site before it started to pour. We finished unloading in the rain, threw a tarp over everything, and eventually got the tent up so we could at least have some shelter (miraculously, we're still smiling).  But by this time we were soaked.  My jeans were wet for hours! At least I had the forethought to grab my wellies!


The rain kept coming, but eventually it did lighten, so we began to set up displays around noon.  Part of my tent included a felt painting that anyone and everyone could contribute to!  I prepared a canvas with the beginnings of a flower garden so Maker Faire attendees could add their own flower.  I had SO MUCH FUN teaching others about needle felting and showing them how to do it.  I really had fun letting curious kiddos add to the painting, too!  By the end of the day, we added twenty flowers!  My plan for this painting is to add a few more flowers and hang it up in my studio.  I mean, what a fun souvenir, right?!



There were so many cool exhibitors that stuck it out and braved the rain.  There were 3D printers, robots, beer brewers, wood carvers, instrument makers, a buffalo fiber spinner, laser artists, and SO many more.  It was a really cool place to geek out over lots of different things!



Oh, and there were mini donuts...



Eventually the sun came out (before it set), and we had a wonderful evening.  The organizers and volunteers of the Maker Faire were outstanding.  Seriously.  I had a great time, and I'd do again next year!

Danicraft show