Friday, February 28, 2014

Artisan Fair Applications

Some important things to do when applying to Craft Fairs:

Read the Vendor FAQ before filling out the application.  

Make note of the event date and time.

Determine your booth fee.  Will there be additional charges for electricity, wifi, table and chair rental? Must you provide your own canopy, table, equipment? Is this within your budget?

Apply early.  The number of booths at a craft show are limited.  In addition, rushing to make the deadline does not allow you to be thorough.

Follow the instructions precisely.  Submitting an incomplete or incorrect application to a juried event with hundreds of candidates will be declined.

Submit stellar photos.  Images speak louder than words.  Make a great impression.  No blurry or poorly lit pictures.  Adhere to the size specifications.  
Craft an interesting bio of your business.  This is generally a difficult area for me, and I have a few tips that helped me through.

  • Give yourself plenty of time to write the synopsis.  (At least three days.)
  • Begin by making notes of the most important points to touch upon.
  • Read summaries from other small businesses.  Seek out individuals whom you admire.  Look through magazines, brochures, online marketplaces.  How do they tell their story? Do not copy, only explore for insight.
  • Avoid obvious likeness.  I found small businesses in the same medium and actively abstained from similar wording, so as to focus on the individuality of my work. 
  • Refer to this article about how to write your bio.
  • Draft your summary, stating the main points.  Save it and take a break.
  • Return to your bio the next day with a fresh mind and evaluate. Now you may edit. Save your work.
  • Allow yourself an additional day or more to think it over.  Did you get to the essence?  Does the application have a limit to the number of words or sentences that you may submit? Is your writing succinct?
  • Must you write a separate description in regards to the process by which your work is made?
  • Save your final draft.  You will amend and develop this when applying to your next show.
Website.  Most applications request a link.  Do you have an online shop or a means for the jury to evaluate your work collectively?

Submit the application on time.

Pay the application fee if required.

Verify that you have a Sales Tax Collection Permit.  If not, take the necessary steps to obtain this authorization.

Congratulate yourself for completing the application.  This is not easy, but you did it!

Keep your chin up.  If you are accepted, fantastic! If you complied to application guidelines, yet were declined, it is alright.  The application itself was a giant learning process.  You will improve in every attempt.  Keep trying!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Custom Made Jewelry

The people have spoken.  They like custom made jewelry.

I am feeling honored this week after wrapping up work on several specially made pieces of jewelry.  It truly is wonderful when individuals entrust my hands to craft a meaningful keepsake.

A personalized cat necklace was the first item made.  This particular pendant is marked with the letter "e".  The story behind the design of this special token can be found here.   A percentage from sales of each cat memorial necklace is donated to From the Heart Rescue in Westfield, Indiana.

Pendant is entirely handcrafted.

Next, I was contacted from a client inquiring about a custom bracelet for her boyfriend.  He is a pilot.  She found the P-51 Mustang bracelet in my Etsy shop and was hoping to get an airplane silhouette made into a cuff for him.  She sent me an image and requested that his nickname be included on the copper.

Copper is cut by hand, given a heat patina.

My final customer wished to replace a lost ring.  She found these interlocking rings in my shop which were similar to the missing ring.  Through a series of conversations we determined the number of bands, thickness, and what type of finish she would like in a ring that she plans to wear regularly.

Combination of hammered and smooth bands.

 These stories and pictures exemplify the best thing about working directly with the maker: the end result is precisely what the buyer is seeking.