How to Find Craft Shows
To find craft shows can be easy, but if you want to participate in one you must find out about it weeks or even months in advance so that you can apply and get your items and display ready for the big day.
When you are working to find craft shows remember that all craft shows require applications in advance.
It is not uncommon, particularly in the case of quality shows, to submit applications two to seven months before the actual show date.
This allows time for judging so that the quality of the crafts offered can be controlled, organized and publicized.
The following are a few guidelines that may prove helpful to find craft shows:
- Online Craft Show Directories
At the end of this article you will find a listing of online Craft Show Directories with listings of crafts shows throughout the US, Canada, and the UK. You could also do an online search typing in the keyword "Craft Shows" and the city or area you are looking for.
- Consumer Craft and Beading Magazines.
Many craft and beading magazines advertise up-coming craft shows. It may be too late to apply but you could write down the contact person and address for next years show.
- Join a craft organization.
Join a craft guild or a local art and crafts association, they are always full of information of upcoming shows in your area and most of them hold their own shows as well.
Most guilds and craft associations produce a newsletter with all sorts of tid-bits to share with their members. Many of them will offer a "calendar of events" and "calls for entry" to various crafts shows and exhibitions, local and across Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.
A great media sources to find craft shows in your local area. Some local newspapers tell about upcoming events and give information on whom to contact if you want to participate. You may see a sign for a show in a store window weeks before the date; if so, try to get enough information so that you can contact the person running the show to see if there is any more space available. Also check with your local chambers of commerce, they can often be helpful in providing lists of nearby craft shows.
- Attend a show that is presently exhibiting.
Most shows are an annual event and are held every year at the same time. If you attend one this year as a customer, find out who is running it and if possible, give the director your name so you will be notified in time to participate next year.
- Other craftspeople.
Talk to fellow craftspeople and get some good leads on up-coming shows in your area. Remember they too are always on the lookout for good shows to apply too.
Don't be discouraged if, by the time you track down a few shows you would like to try, they are no longer accepting applications for the current year's shows. Put the time to use, scout these shows this year. Observe who the typical customer is: male, female, young, middle-aged, old, with or without children, well dressed or not.
Is the typical customer buying or browsing? Observe the exhibitors: Is there a good mixture of crafts? What is the quality like? Is the show more like a bazaar? Are they selling? Speak with the exhibitors. Are they pleased with the show and it's management? Was the show publicized? Also ask them about different upcoming shows they plan to attend; there still may be time to apply to these.
Well, as you have seen, it takes advance planning to meet application deadlines and have the required inventory ready when the show does arrive. In order to keep yourself organized use a master calendar to keep track of upcoming events and deadlines. Write in the shows you want to attend as well as the deadline for application and deadline for receipt of entry fee.
Nine times out of ten by the time you see a show or an announcement for a show it is often too late to apply. To keep yourself informed of future shows you should have a batch of short query letters printed and ready asking to put your name on their mailing list for next year.
Be prepared to pop them in the mail or find their email address when you see an announcement for a craft show you might be interested in attending. This works well because the applications always come in plenty of time for you to fit them into your schedule.
An open show is one in which any craftsperson is welcome to come and participate, exhibit space permitting, and is usually on a first-come, first-served basis.
A juried show, showcases the elite works of each crafts genre: quilting, pottery, woodcarving, weaving, fabric painting, fashions, jewelry, etc. All quality shows are juried and their standards are very strict. You will be asked to submit slides or photos and a resume of your work, also called a portfolio. The selection committee normally consists of respected artisans and/or critics of craftworks who judge products submitted for consideration and select those that they think are best for the show.
When jurying, judges look at aesthetics, function, creativity, originality, technique, marketability, quality of your work and sometimes booth design.
Most well-organized shows are juried so that the quality of crafts offered can be controlled; also to control the amount of any one medium in a show, i.e.: 10 weavers, 10 quilters, 10 potters, 10 woodworking, 10 stained glass, 10 jewelry designers, etc.
The entry deadlines for these shows are usually a good 4 to 9 months in advance (especially major shows which have 200-300 booths), so that all decisions are made and the booths allocated well in advance.
What It Costs
When you find craft shows the entry fees for small open or non-juried shows are generally modest, and can cost anywhere from $25 to $250 for a day, or perhaps for a couple of days. Fees to rent space at juried shows are usually much more expensive, but the quality of the show and the number of people attending this type of show is much greater. Booth fees may start at about $250 and go upwards to as much as $5000 depending on the type and duration of the show.
It is important to determine what is included in the fee. Does the show management provide tables, curtains, lighting, chairs, overnight security, electric outlets? If they are not provided, do they rent these or must you supply them yourself? Do they supply relief staff for exhibitor's to have a break, how about printed programs and advertising? What rules and regulations does the show management impose on exhibitors?
If you are exhibiting in out-of-town shows you must also take into consideration the cost of travel, eating, and staying overnight if the show is some distance from home. All this must be taken into the determination of whether a particular show can be a profitable selling experience.
It is important to keep accurate records of all expenses incurred and all costs associated with show participation as they are all tax-deductible business expenses. Make sure you keep receipts for everything, take a little book in which to record all expenses; even the quarters and loonies for phone calls add up.
Listing of Directories to help you find craft shows:
HERE IS A SHORT LISTING, MUCH MORE ARE COMING SOON!
Festival Network OnLine
20,000 North American art fairs, craft shows, music festivals, and other events. Details include promoter contact info, deadlines, fees, and more.
Arts and Crafts Directory
Your source for American arts and crafts from artisans to supplies.
Craft Site Directory:
Your guide to arts and crafts on the Internet.
Craftmaster News lists art and craft shows, street fairs, festivals, home and garden shows, farmers markets and more. Covering the Western U.S.
The Crafts Report
Craft Show Finder. Use the seach tool below to find the most complete and up-to-date (updated weekly) information about shows throughout the United States
Link to the finest contemporary crafts shows in America, representing one thousand crafts artists from across the nation.
List of craft shows or craft events in Canada
Craft Fairs Directory
Craft Fairs Directory lists over 100 craft fairs in British Columbia
International Craft & Hobby Fair Ltd
The UK's number one creative craft & gift show organiser presents its annual programme of 16 retail events and 2 trade events at the UK's premier exhibition venues.
Indie Craft Shows
The Indie Craft Show Database is your connection to crafting events of all sorts, all over the globe! ICS is a user-driven calendar of craft shows, trunk shows, festivals, any anywhere else you can buy or sell totally awesome handmade goods.
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