Sep 26 2009
Talk to the Customers
Talk to the Vendors
Talk to Those in Charge
Fees: What is the booth fee? Besides the booth fee, are vendors required to donate a craft item for a silent auction benefiting the sponsoring organization (this is especially common for non-profit and church sponsored events). This donation needs to be added to the entry fee when comparing costs. In addition to the booth fee, some show promoters charge a percentage of sales. Many times, this percentage is different for those exhibitors who are members of the sponsoring organization versus non-members. There may also be an additional fee charged for electricity (if required), or for the use of tables provided by the show venue.
Booth & Setup: What is the size of the booth? Booth sizes generally depend on the exhibiting venue and are are not standard. Some sizes I have seen through the years are 8’x8′, 10’x10′, and 5′ x 15′. Each show I have been in required that tables be covered to the floor so that boxes and extra merchandise is neatly hidden. Usually, the nature of this covering is left up to the individual crafter, but I did run across one who required that all tables be covered in black. If you have brown table covering and need to purchase black, it will add to the cost of entering that show. Not all shows require a booth, however. I have been accepted into a Christmas House sponsored by an arts organization I belong to. I bring my specially tagged merchandise to the house several days before the show and the show volunteers display my wares. There is nothing for me to set up — but I have no control over the display.
Length of Show: While weekend shows are most common, shows may be anywhere from one day to two weeks. You need to be aware of how much display time in front of potential customers you are buying with your show fees.
General Info: Find out the set-up schedule. If you are required to set up by 7:00pm Friday night for a Saturday show and you don’t get off work until 5:00pm, you might have a problem and will need to pass on the show or get someone to help with the set-up. Are only handmade items accepted, or is buy/sell merchandise allowed (mass produced items imported for resale). Is it a juried show? Will you need to submit a photo of your booth set-up along with photos of your art to be considered? Most craft shows have an application process with deadlines much sooner than you would expect. I enjoy shopping at a local craft show that takes place mid-November. It is so popular that returning vendors must reserve their spot by May 1st and the show sponsors stop taking applications from new vendors on June 1st.