Sunday, November 7, 2010

So you want to do a craft show...


Craft show season is in full swing-So how do you get started?

I enjoy doing craft shows. Sure it's a lot of work, but usually it's well worth the time and energy that I put into the shows. One of the comments I hear is how do you get started? So I decided I would make a small series of blogs about craft shows. Some of the topics I'll cover over the next few weeks are how to pick  craft shows, setting up your booths and displays, merchandising, a checklist of what to bring, how to handle customers and other vendor and all sorts of other things! I hope you'll find my tips and advice helpful. 

What would you like to know? If you post your comments, it will help me with some of the future posts!

To get started, let's figure out what show to enter.

First of all, take a good look at what you're selling-what type and quality of craft or art  do you have?Yes, we all think our stuff is the best, we know we're really trying to make something we think others would want. but really, where in the spectrum of crafts do you belong?

Are you selling really high end original creations? Indie or mainstream? Do your crafts demand a high price? Does your work use only the best of materials and original design? How unique are your items? What's your pedigree-have you taken special classes to learn your craft or are you self taught. Have you earned a degree in fine arts? How professional are you? Or maybe you sell a simple craft-maybe even something made by kits, less one of a kind and maybe something  you've seen, and said to yourself-I can do that! Do you do knit,crochet, make childrens items? Maybe it's sculpture, photography or painting. Woodworking, glass or jewelry, soaps or candles, papercrafts to metalsmithing-there's a show for you somewhere.

You will need to assess  how much time and commitment you want to make. Want to really give up you "day"job and make this a career move? Or, like many of us, we do a few shows a year. Planning to outdoor shows-you'll need some sort of covering-Tents can range from under $100 to well into the $1000's-yes thousands of dollars. How much money to you have to invest into displays-are you working on a shoestring budget-you need to be creative.

How  do you find crafts shows?
Well, my first answer is always the answer to most questions people ask:
 Google it!
If for example I google "craft show" I come up with over 1,360,000 results-phew that's a bit large. Let's get more specific "craft shows in michigan 2010" still comes up with over 263, 000 results-still a big list but will help give me some direction. If I narrow it down by my town, it takes me down to 13,000 results!

Here are some spots that I use to find my shows:
These two sites are really one and the same-I find this a very comprehensive list of shows. You'll get to search by dates and areas. The shows often have reviews about the quality of the shows. The bonus is there are some forums to get lots of tips. 
I really don't see enough listing for shows in my area-but many people swear by craigslist-it's worth a shot.
This often has links to higher end, higher quality shows across the US. Provides reviews of shows and forums.

I've known for years of George Walker, who maintains this site and publishes his yearly Michigan craft show guide. He's a great guide, who was a craft "husband" for years, and now goes to many shows personally to gather reviews of the shows. I would rate this a "very good" resource for those in Michigan  who are interested in starting to do do craft shows. His annual craft show listing book sells for about $25.00. Once you get one, and actually start going to shows you probably won't need it again, but it's well worth it for newbies. you can find it for sale in some supply houses and on-line.
If you're an indie crafter-this is a good reference to find more of the edgier shows.
If you're a serious, higher end, quality artisan, you've probably heard about or seen Sunshine Artist. This magazine and site are really aimed at those artisans who make a living at their craft. It has an annual review of some of the very best shows across the nation. It's a bit out of my realm of crafting, but  can give you lots of great tips. I wouldn't recommend this for a beginning crafter, but if you want to step your work up to the next level this might be a very good investment as a resource.
Another subscription based venue. I really haven't used it because, how many craft show listings do you really need to see? But I do hear good things about it.

  • Word of mouth-ask your friends about what shows they gone to in your area, keep a look out for shows and go see a few of them. You'll be able to sort out some show you might be interested in. If you see one this fall, don't be shy and ask the promoter if they have a mailing list. Sign-up to get an application.
  • Local newspaper-many time shows will have a write up or a classified ad calling for crafters.
  • Post a question in the Etsy forums. You might get some good suggestions there for shows.
  • Go visit a few shows that are in your area. Ask the vendors, many of them will have lists of upcoming shows. They can be a great source of insight into "good" and "bad" shows.
If you're in Souteast/Mid-Michigan you might want to check out this promoter:
  OK. Start gathering up some possible shows. Next time well talk about the costs of shows. The jury process-what the heck is jurying anyway?!! When and how to fill out those applications. We'll talk about pictures of your items and booth set-ups. There's a lot to learn!


 Do you have any tips to share?













Friday, August 27, 2010

Weekly BESTeam FEature

wayfaringmagnolia

Hey there! This week's feature is a fellow Michigander or is it Michiganian?  Wayfaringmagnolia just opened her latest Etsy shop and she's busy making sales! That means shes got cute things at great prices.

Her shop has some very interesting things. I really like this vintage brooch:


If you like browsing thru vintage items, or are interested in some hand made prints, head on over to  to Wayfaringmagnolia's shop. Amanda's a crafty person, I love her description of being a professional musician/gypsy...that sounds like a great life!

I'm a big supporter of buying from and supporting fellow Michigan shops. So I hope you will stop by her shop and browse around., Oh yeah, don't forgot to put a couple of items in your shopping cart!

Have a great week everyone.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Weekly BESTeam Feature

Loveelycia

What does an engineer do when she decides she does not want to work as an engineer? She gives in to her lifelong love of all things creative and makes some cute stuff.It's been a while since I last visited Loveelycia, but I see that she still up to creating all sorts of very cute items!



 
Whether you're looking for something vintage, like the orange creamsicle dress or something very cute like one of her series of Every Girl has a Story drawings, there is something new and refreshing to explore in her shop.
 
I hope you get a chance to stop by and visit-you'll never know what you might find, but I bet you will have a great time exploring!
 
Do be sure to let her know how you found her. You can also find out more:
 
blog: http://www.loveelycia.com/
facebook: http://www.facebook.com/loveelycia
twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/loveelycia

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Weekly BESTeam feature

Waterwaif

I hope you'll agree with me that this weeks featured shop was worth the wait. I was sooo happy when I found out that I was going to feature Waterwaif this week. I just love her shop. Her photos are outstanding. Maybe she will share her secrets with us about how to take such wonderful pictures!

It's been so hot and muggy in Michigan this week, I'm looking forward to the crisp cool days of autumn. They'll be here before you know it.Couldn't you just imagine wearing several of these beauties this fall? I'd hurry over to her shop, because before you know it you'll be wanting them to wear. Just imagine going to pick apples and having a cup of fresh apple cider and doughnuts wearing these jonquil yellow earrings?

Can't quite give up your summer days yet? Add these orange shell chandelier earrings to your wardrobe!

You also need to be sure to check out her blog:
http://www.waterwaif.blogspot.com
And I love being a follower of her facebook page-It's full of links to her latest features and giveaways!

http://www.facebook.com/waterwaifYou can also follow her on twitter:
http://www.twitter.com/thewaterwaif


I want to leave you with a few words from her shop,
“for whatever we lose
(like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves
we find in the sea”
~e.e. cummings

Enjoy your week, go find yourself a treasure.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Weekly BESTeam Feature

TurquoiseAngel

I've really been seeing blue lately, must be that I've been hanging around the shop of  TurquoiseAngel! I'm visiting my favorite 3 year old this week-and we've been looking at all the wonderful tutus in this shop! It's enough to make a young girls head swoon! Good thing I got a few sales so far this week, looks like I'm going to be making some purchases myself


What little girl wouldn't be thrilled with one of these beautiful creations? You know I'm partial to this one, The Dream Angel Tutu, in Turquoise-of course!

But there are plenty of things in this shop besides tutus. Go see for yourself!  

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Weekly BESTeam Feature

Lightkeeping

One of the things I most admire is lampwork beads. I love watching them being made. There was a little gallery on Jay Street in Schenectady, New York that I would stop in everytime I was in the area-just to watch one of the artisans there make lampwork beads. The gallery was set up so that you could watch her thru a window-literally inches away from her work bench.  Sometimes I wondered if they didn't have to clean the windows from my nose smudges after I left... I was that mesemerized.

I've got that same feeling looking at lightkeepings work... but this time I'm smudging up my computer screen!
I absolutely love the bright beads Anastasija uses in her designs. One of the hardest things for me as an artisan is to find just "exactly" the combination of colors that I want to put together. I sometimes spend hours looking thru my bead stash looking for that "perfect" combination. In the Hop on the Rainbow Bracelet take a look at the choice of colors...spot on in my view!

I also really love the combinations of turquoise in the Day on the Beach Set it's that turquoise color again-one of my favorites!

I hope you check out  Lightkeepings shop, it's full of delightful finds!

You can also keep up with her here..and do me a favor let her know how you found her.

http://lightkeeping.blogspot.com/
http://twitter.com/lightkeeping

Thanks so much!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Buy Michigan Now Festival

I hope if you're in the Northville, Michigan area on Sunday August 8th you will stop by and say hello. I'll be showing and selling (Hopefully!) my jewelry at the  "Style Sunday in Northville Square" as part  of the BuyMichiganNowFest.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Weekly BESTeam feature

cksilver


There are times when you just feel a certain  connection to another Etsy shop. This is how I feel about cksilver. Everything about this shop I like. From the time you step into the door of  their shop, Marilyn and Cindy, a mother-daughter team, set the tone of their shop. Classic, Balanced, Elegant.

From a simple swirl ring, to a beautiful lapis and silver bracelet,  their creations are exquisite. Can't decide on just one thing or want a gift that keeps giving? How about trying out their Jewelry of the Month Club! What a great idea. Can't decide on something right now? They offer gift certificates too!



I really think you'll enjoy browsing through their shop. The style and tone really speaks to me, why don't you let me know what treasures you have found.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Weekly BESTeam feature

ShopSealedWithAKiss

 

This weeks features shop is shopsealedwithakiss. From adorable felted hair clips, word magnet strips, to sassy childrens's hats, Zoe makes a variety of cute things! I think she gets her creativity from her genes...

~ My sister's store: ComeShopPinkLemonade.Etsy.com
~ My grandmother's store: ComeShopOnTheFringe.Etsy.com
~ My mom's store: TrueLoveHomeDecor.Etsy.com
~ My dad's store: MarketplacePrints.Etsy.com

You can follow her blog at:
www.ShopSealedWithAKiss.blogspot.com
By the way, why don't you wish her a "Happy Birthday!" in the comments...she just celebrated another birthday on July 11th!


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Weekly BESTeam Feature

Nevita

One of the hot color trends for 2010 is turquoise. In the BESTeam members shop, Nevita I found some beautiful things in turquoise! I love the Summer Tunic, the three piece set comes complete with a matching head scarf and belt! Great for a loose summer cover-up on the beach. And how amazing would it look over a summery white dress? On the same theme, if a tunic is a bit too much for you, how about adding a  little turquoise into your wardrobe with a beautiful scarf or this fun fiber necklace?  There is plenty more to be found in her shop, including these cute crocheted earrings.

Coming from Sofia, Bulgaria these creations do have a european flair for design! There are many more colors and choices in her well stocked shop. Also, take a minute to check out her hand knit and crocheted items.

Want to know more about Nevita? You can follow her at these spots:
http://www.boutiqueaholic.blogspot.com/

http://www.twitter.com/handknitbynevita

https://www.twitter.com/handknitbynev

http://www.youtube.com/handknitbynevita

Hope all of you are enjoying all the new shops I've been featuring weekly. It's been a great learning experience for me and I hope it opens your eyes to some new talents. I'd love to hear your feedback, so leave me a comment when you stop by! If there's is something you like to find out more about I'd love to hear what you're thinking about!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Spicy Watermelon Salad

Ready for a change this summer? Why don't you try one of my favorite recipes, Spicy Watermelon Salad!.

Sweet, spicy and citrusy, this  cool salad is a perfect summer side dish.

Stir together in a small bowl:
   1 tsp chili powder
   1/2 tsp. salt-or to taste
   1/2 tsp. red chili pepper flakes

In a large bowl, put in:
   6 cups seedless watermelon chunks( about 1/2-1 inch)
  1/2 medium red onion, diced
   1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced
   3 Tblsp. fresh lime juice
   2 Tblsp. chopped fresh cilantro

Sprinkle with the spice mixture, toss lightly and chill. Serves 4-6.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Weekly BESTeam Feature

moonanglenay




I wish I had a photographer's eye. But I don't.  I really appreciate how those that have this sense can capture images that absolutely stir ones soul. This weeks feature is on moonangelnay, a very talented artist, digital artist and photographer.

Look at the way she captures the image in the archival print "Beyond Boundaries." It just beckons us to look beyond the gate and wonder what lies thru the door. I love images of door and gates, I don't know why, but they always fascinate me.

But is just isn't prints that you will find in her shop, Naomi also sells collage sheets such as the Bamboo Tile Collage Sheet Urban Nature Abstract . If you are into making your own pendants, or using these in other ways, you should check out the series of collage sheets she has! Don't want to make your own pendant? Moonangelnay has ready made options for you, such as this one called "Twilight Rose."


One of the things you have to check out is her blog. She has pages of great photography tips. I've bookmarked her Product Photography 101 tutorials. They are some of the most comprehensive, well written and easy to follow tutorials I have seen. You owe it to yourself, and your products, to check out these tutorials!

You can also follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/moonangelnay

Have a wonderful week.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ashtabula Beach Glass Festival



I'll be off the the Beach Glass Festival in Ashtabula, Ohio this weekend. I'm just going as a visitor this year and I hope to meet several other beach glass collectors and artisans at the festival! I found out about the festival from the sea glass collectors group that I belong to: Sea Glass Artists & Sea Glass Collectors‏. I've found lots of useful information on our groups site. There are many groups, from  Sea Glass Jewelery 101 to local area groups that you can join.

If you're going to be at the festival leave me a comment-I'd love to meet up with others at the festival!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Weekly BESTeam Feature

mysticwynd

"An awareness of peace and love rose anew, As the spirit found truth and the Mystic Wynd blew..."

And so goes the creations of this weeks featured team member mysticwynd. Peaceful and lovely would be just a few of the words I would use to describe her jewelry.  Karens work just has a great appeal to me.



I picked just a few examples of her work that really caught my eye. The first piece, Tidal Pool Necklace in Blues and Greens, is a breath taking collection of  blue, green, and white lampwork, foil glass, and luster glass beads with cultured freshwater pearls across a length of silver chain. The design is finished off with a matching blue-green acrylic go-go pendant adorned with cute seahorse and starfish charms, as well as seashells and a cultured freshwater pearl tangled in a mass of fine silver wire coils.
 
Another piece that caught my eye was the Paua Shell Business Card or Money Clip, I really like paua shell jewelry, I think I hearted this piece for me! Keeping with the ocean theme, my eye caught this fabulous Aqua Shell and Silver Fish Charm Jewelry Set. Perfect for a fishprincess!
 
But it isn't just beachy themed items she has in her shop, just check out the Spirit of the Sonoran Brass Copper Necklace. Clean modern lines in this necklace would make it a perfect accessory.
 
Here are some of the places you can follow her shop:
Blog: http://www.mysticwynd.blogspot.com/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mysticwynd
and become a facebook fan at: http://www.facebook.com/MysticWynd

I hope you are enjoying my team members features. If you have taken the time to read them, I'd appreciate a comment from you! Tell me what you have found.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Weekly BESTeam Feature


CROCHETIZE

Sometimes it's as easy as black and white, or is it?

Look at the workmanship in these gloves. Now, I like to crochet simple things for myself, but I don't have nearly the skill that it takes to make something as beautiful as these gloves. Can you imagine a bride wearing the white ones or as I was looking at them, wouldn't they make a stathement peeking out from under the jacket of your business suit? Wow.

All the way from Lithuania, crochetize does hypnotize us with the beauty of her work.  Although the numbers of items in her shop are small, I think you should check it out. She would be happy to do custom orders! She is also trade friendly!

You can follow her at flickr and twitter as crochetize and be sure to check out her blog at http://www.blogspot.crochetize.com/.

Happy looking!

And Greetings to all from Cape May, New Jersey. We've been on the road and the beach was beautiful!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Weekly BESTeam feature

Gilliauna

Bits n Beads is an online store ran by Gilliauna that specializes in unique bead and gemstone jewelry and accessories from necklaces and chokers to earrings and bracelets, charms, lanyards, eyeglass chains and more. With 250 items for sale it was hard for me to limit myself to just a few items to feature!

 Whether you're shopping for a shimmering champagne key chain charm, a special rosary,  a fresh charm bracelet,  a handmade mother of pearl and coral bracelet, you can't go wrong checking out all the bits and beads of Gilliauna.

And, if one shop isn't enough-then check out her destash shop BitsnBeads.

 It's full of all sorts of bits of treasures-maybe just something you might need for a project!

You also want to check out her two wonderful blogs:
http://www.handmadeshoppingguide.com
and

http://www.colorfulartisanjewelry.com/

There's some much to find here-be sure to take a look and leave me a comment about what you find!

 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

My Sea/Beach Glass collecting trip to the Lake Erie Shore

I've always loved the water. Growing up  and living in Michigan means that you're never more than about  an hour from one of the Great Lakes. I can remember combing the beaches for all sorts of treasures-but it wasn't until I was an adult that I first found a piece of beach glass. I had collected a few jars full-and then used them to line a fish tank. But I never thought to use them in jewelry until recently. Now I've become almost obsessed with finding these jewels.

After a bit of research, I decided to set off to Ohio, on the the southern shores of Lake Erie near Cleveland to look for some glass. I found another collector who offered a collecting trip and off I went! A three hour trip from my home I set off at 3 am to go on my venture. I met up with out host Jen Morrow and three others and off we went!

We hit a couple of great beaches  near Cleveland and this is some of what I found:

I was really excited about my collecting trip...after only about 5 minutes I found this rare treasure:
I was really happy to find this marble!

When I sorted through my pieces of glass I found these pieces of patterned  glass:
 You have to look closely-but those pieces in the center have patterns! I also found a few pieces of pottery:
Not too bad for a few hours of searching. Now I can't wait to go back. Here's one of the pieces that I turned into a  wire wrapped pendant:

The trip was wonderful, the new friends I met were great. If you're ever in the Cleveland area I highly recommend  looking up GenuineBeachGlass.com.
Jen and her husband Don are talented artisans whose work is certainly worth taking a look at.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

LotusMira




I'm a little late posting my weekly team feature-but I think this shop is worth the wait. LotusMiraGe Ephemera has an electic mix of items featuring  vintage imagery, found items, and ephemera. She thinks there is a lot of value both in the artistic chaos of collage, as well as in the simple beauty of something classic.

I find her two sided pendants and bracelets fascinating. I love the imagery.

One of the things many artisans struggle with is placing a value on their work. While wanting to be affordable, we often undervalue our work. I like the piece that she has about this in her shop profile:

As Mary Ann Williams writes:


"I believe that many artists don't put a high enough value on what they do. Many work for pennies. Some do it 'just to earn enough to buy more supplies.' Unfortunately, in doing so, they are educating the public not to appreciate what they do, or at least not the time they have spent on it.

"We have educated the public in thinking that most artists are hobbyists and this is something 'extra' that they do to earn a few bucks. I have seen some beautiful work done by excellent craftsmen and have heard the buying public say 'can you believe what they want for that????' Most times, the prices compared to the hours spent have meant the artist is working for less than minimum wage. Many talented artists are discouraged from continuing their craft because they can't make a living at it and we are thus deprived of the beauty they could create and we could enjoy. Many people think nothing of spending $100 on a dinner out but wouldn't spend $100 on a piece of art that they could have forever. It's because they don't value it the same. It's not because they can't afford it."

http://www.thebeads.com/articles/pricing.phtml
 
How often have you felt that you have to price your items "cheaply" to sell them. Pricing should take into account your supplies, overhead-things like utilities, rent, insurance, advertising as well as wages and a fair profit for yourself.
 
I am slowly raising my prices, realizing that I have not been taking all this into account. When potential customers come into your shop, what perception do they have? Are you an artisan that values your own work?
 
Thanks LotusMira, for reminding us about this.
 
To find out more about LotusMira:
http://LotusMira.blogspot.com/

http://twitter.com/LotusMira
http://www.lotusmira.com/

... and search for "Lotus MiraGe Ephemera" on Facebook!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Weekly BESTeam feature

Lightkeeping
I love lampwork beads, I've always admired artisans who have the talent and patience to work with tiny rods and bits of glass and turn them into beautiful creations. I remember staring thru the glass of a gallery in New York just mesmerized by the beauty and skill of the artist as I watched her work. Now I feel like I'm peeking into another shop of a fabulously talented artisan,  Anastasjia, from Ireland.

Aqua blue artisan lampwork bracelet and earrings set Step into my Garden

There were flowers: delphiniums, sweat peas, bunches of lilac; and carnations, masses of carnations. There were roses; there were irises. Ah yes!

Isn't this a delightful bouquet of flowers to be wearing! It takes my breathe away at the intricate lampwork of the flowers on the beads of the bracelet. 

Why don't you check out all the other beautiful creations at Lightkeeping.

If you would like to follow her here's some places to find her:
http://www.lightkeeping.blogspot.com/
http://www.twitter.com/lightkeeping

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Weekly BESTeam feature

yourtrulydear

ok, i admit it, im a sucker for cute kids pictures. ive got to get me a couple to model some of my things. how can you resist these faces modelling your items. miss jess has a couple of cuties working for her.

You've got to like a girl who like to do things her way. On her blog it says it's the mundane adventures of miss jess-well I find her adventures anything but mundane! You'll have to pop on over to her site to find out what she's been up to lately, but let's just say you'll be be having something common with her when you read this post if i were a boy!


But I digress, what I really want you to do is take a look at her shop. With a cute array of items, ranging from  all sorts of headbands to this adorable boy's bib, you owe it to yourself to take a look her shop.

Here's where you can find her:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/yourstrulydear
http://yourstrulydear.blogspot.com/

Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Weekly BESTeam feature

darlingDandeDesigns

Whether you're looking for something darling to buy, or fabric to create your own darling design, this shop is one you should check out!

Take a look at this adorable necktie onesie! With Fathers Day fast approaching, couldn't you just imagine the great father son pictures that could be had with this outfit! How cute.

And for the little girl in your life...

These bloomers could be customized in colors and fonts for any little darling!

Being a fellow accountant, I can appreciate how busy life gets-especially in tax season. Creating gives us a way to channel our energies into other venues. You will have to check out her shop to see all the other darling designs she has for everyone.

You can find out more about darlingDanDeDesigns on her blog:
http://www.darlingdande.blogspot.com

Have a great day! Leave me a comment, and let me know what great items you have found.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Goodbye Ernie

It just hurts saying goodbye. Even if you never met the man, if you grew up in Michigan in the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and into this century you were touched by this man's voice. Ernie Harwell's voice was a soothing, southern drawl, that called the Detroit Tigers games for more than 40 years. He was an anouncer's announcer.

I wasn't that great of a Tiger fan, just a fringe one. I grew up in the era of Al Kaline, Mickey Lolich, Norm Cash, Gates Brown and Willie Horton. I saw the Bird, the late Mark Frydrich, and watched Denny McClain,  Kirk Gibson, Dave Rozema, and Alan Trammell. These were the players of my youth, and like everyone I heard the games called on WJR by Ernie Harwell. I can remember a time when I moved away from Michigan-far away to southern Florida-I can remember being able to tune in to the "Great Voice of the Great Lakes" station and hear the baseball games at night.-Oh the reception was a bit scratchy, but the familiar voice of Ernie Harwell was as comforting then as a parents voice. It was a voice from home.

Now the voice is silenced.

No one lives forever. At 92, and diagnosed with bile cancer, Ernie knew his time on this earth was limited. He had a great faith and leaves behind his beloved wife of 68 years, Lulu. To all of those who he touched, he leaves us behind too. We thought of him as family, we took him with us up north, to work, on vacation, into our homes and backyard picnics. We will miss him.
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