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:
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!