My First Arts and Crafts Fair!

Last weekend I participated in my first arts and crafts fair. Because it was my first such fair, I wanted to do something small and local. The opportunity arose when an organizer contacted me via the “shop local” feature on Etsy. The event was in Milton, Florida, a town with which I’ve had a love affair since I moved to the area. Milton positively shimmers with understated, old Floridian charm, with its beautiful old houses, quaint town center, and good antiquing! I hedged for a little while and then plunged in, knowing that there’s no time like the present to get my feet wet doing something new.

Now, I am a sort of mentally untidy, big-picture type who loathes the small details of planning anything. At least, until I have to do something that petrifies me. Then, I’m all about meticulously organizing down to the last iota. Fortunately, there are many resources on the web to help in planning for a craft fair. I found this checklist particularly useful.

I had a lot of fun designing my space using ideas from Pinterest, from this other handy Indiefixx post, and resources available via Etsy’s recent Etsy Success Symposium. I discovered that a vintage look not only activated the space in a way that complimented and showcased my particular style of work, but it was also WAY cheaper than going with professional booth displays. For example, using an old trunk, an iron-and-wicker screen, and a vintage hat box to display work rather than getting expensive stands and walls from Dick Blick. Here are some pics:

What was great about this set-up was that the trunk and the hat box provide storage as well as display use. The screen and the bookshelf both collapse flat. Everything here is extremely modular and dual purpose, despite being cobbled together from odds and ends.
I wanted to have a number of things with a lower price point, so I concentrated on smaller watercolors in inexpensive frames. I also created paper banners and decorative clothespins sets to decorate my booth and to sell.
The screen and vintage hat box.
This bookshelf collapses completely flat so was very useful.
I certainly recommend bringing along a friend to help!
My fiancé, Mike. He was such a big help carrying stuff, helping me set up, figuring out the tent, and providing company!
Here are some of the paper garlands (now available in my Etsy shop).
A gorgeous day for a craft fair underneath some beautiful old live oak trees.
The event was billed as a fundraiser for the Milton High School Color Guard. The girls were selling goodies and hula hoops. There was also a raffle to raise money for them.
I am not usually happy with pictures of myself, but this one turned out well. Taken with my brand new Canon EOS Rebel t3i and 50 mm lens (also brand new). So nice to have a good camera to take along for promotional purposes!

Business was a tad slow all day, apparently due to several other events taking place concurrently. However, I am not disappointed that I participated for a number of reasons. For one, it forced me to get organized and stocked for many more fairs to come. It was also a good practice run. I met a bunch of cool people there, with whom I will in no doubt be in touch, and it was a lovely day to get out of the house and enjoy the weather. I also think I may yet get a few extra sales and at least one commission out of the day.

I recommend the experience to other artists and crafters, whether you think you are ready for it, or not. Just get out there!

Don’t forget to direct people to your Etsy shop via signage, candy, and a silver tray with business cards.

2 thoughts on “My First Arts and Crafts Fair!

  1. Your display looks great! First craft shows can be very intimidating, but it’s always a good experience. I haven’t done a show in months and I think it’s time I did. It would force me to get organized again.

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