Craft Show Attitudes
We had the privilege to attend a craft show in Hanover Ontario in Canada on November 8th, 2014. I haven’t been to a craft show for a while. But this time, I went with a different point of view. How can we improve the attitude and appreciation for craft shows?
At the bottom of this article, I welcome your comments to what you think.
There was a great mix of craft vendors at the Knights of Columbus Hall. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was definitely wanting to see handmade items by various different creative points of view. Every table was full and they couldn’t have got any more people in there. Kudos to the organizers for creating an event that was well attended by both guests and vendors.
For myself, I was looking for something for my home decor to accessorize my natural Christmas ideas. However, being a lover of crochet, I’m automatically drawn to the crochet tables of course, not to purchase, but to engage the creativity involved. I know first hand the time and attention to detail. BUT WAIT… I’m going to a craft show and not buying crochet items? What gives?
While at the show, we purchased handmade soaps and baked goods. I did buy one crochet item from Krista’s Hook’n for a mannequin sample for a future show.
Daniel and I took a half hour after our visit to share our thoughts about the show. What was a miss and what was really great.
Firstly, I’m a crocheter… so I have the ability to crochet items. Out of respect though, I never photographed any samples to knock it off. I have seen that before and think it’s unfair to the creator. While I’m there, I’m more interested in purchasing items of other crafting genres that I do not have the capabilities or desires to make for myself.
The biggest cuss words in a craft show to say out loud is to say, “Oh I can do that myself!” You might as well just slap the vendor’s faces. It’s rude. It’s better to praise the effort as people who know how much time and creativity that is involved when you know how to do it.
It’s embarrassing to some degree, fans that I have met along my path, primarily at Spinrite Factory Outlet as it’s local to us were recognizing me. Meet Krista from Carlsrue Ontario. She had a great set up that I was impressed with. She’s met me before.
She hand an assortment of projects that were in the neutral tons for both adult and kids. Krista admitted that her kid size hats were not moving but the adult sizes were. I’m not surprised. Krista did a few things to help herself at the show. It was Krista’s first ever craft fair to attend as a vendor.
- Beautiful presentation with clearly labelled prices.
- Her prices were inline with what people are willing to spend.
- Hats were modeled on heads and stands.
- She was standing at all times which makes her approachable. She wasn’t being distracted by a friend or other vendor gossiping.
- Krista also had a fun story and easily laughs and engages.
- Krista has been paying attention to trends to know what is coming ahead so she is not trying to sell outdated styles.
One thing that shocked us the most was the prices. Cheap, cheap… cheap. I was flabbergasted how cheap the handmade items are. To our point of view, obviously these women were there because of passion and sharing their creativity. Amigurumi Dolls that are pretty good were about $15. Winter Hats ranged from $10 – $30. Depending on the yarn and styling, the prices were really fair.
Tammy – Handmades
While there, I also met Tammy Klages. She had a table filled with goodies from practical, fun and items to treasure. I was floored to see her children’s sweaters (about 10 years old kids) were only $15. The stitch work was above standard double crochet and really well done.
Tammy was commenting that her big item of the show was her socks. She nearly sold out when we passed on by.
- She had a good presentation that was well organized.
- Her prices were clear and concise.
- She had humour as well. She said her first home is in Hanover Ontario but her second is the Spinrite Factory Outlet in Listowel.
As expected, you will see exhibitors selling items that aren’t handmade but purchased for re-sale. For me, those are a no go as I am looking for original handmade items. While for me, that doesn’t work for what I am looking for, others will gravitate toward those sorts of items. It has it’s place at the show.
While some exhibitors were outgoing, there were many waiting for guests to make the first comment. As a guest, it’s easily to sneak on by if the engagement is reliant on the guest to make first contact.
As a crafter, we are educated in costs of materials and do cross compare the creativity involved for time and materials. While I did buy a hat from Krista, I knew I wouldn’t have time to make a sample to be on exhibit with our mannequins. Knowing the cost of the yarn was about $7, the time was abut 2 hours. $25 is a fair.
Some vendors had really great ideas and attention to detail. For example, while I am not a quilter or involved in sewing, I can appreciate the time and precision involved. For myself though, my house decor is more modern. For dinner, Daniel and I tend to spill our drinks or food. The cat likes to jump on the table. Though the placements from another exhibitor were really pretty, I know if I bought them, I would put them away never to be used. So I had to be practical with my purchasing as well.
We Learned Through Being More Objective
- Presentation of the table is the item we look forward as we move down the tables. You can tell the vendors who have just slapped up their products on a table verses vendors who have put thought to their over all presentation. The presentation determines if we are convinced to invest.
- Engagement of the vendors. While we go through many of the tables without a greeting from the vendors, the ones who engaged us has an opportunity to share about them. The ones who didn’t jump on business right away were more prone to capture our attention and give the vendor more time to enlighten us. One of the exhibitors I really wanted to talk to was too engaged to talk to a friend sitting with her. While I did double back, you knew that you were interrupting her, so I continued along. I wanted to know about her creativity in more depth but decided not to interrupt her conversation. I wondered if the conversation could have waited until after the show to give undivided attention to guests who have attended the function.
- The need for what is on display. While there were many ideas that were worthy of purchasing, the truth that was for us, our decor or sense of taste didn’t match many of the items that were available. You are most likely not to buy something if it’s not going to align with your personal tastes.
- It’s the attention to detail in an item. While some items were pretty plain Jane. Other items had fine details added to it which increases the value and creativity involved. But I won’t deny, others had too much extra details added which has a tendency to top it over to the tacky realm. To each his own and I know what I deem tacky is a great find for another. My tastes aren’t the majority of the world and do recognize we each have different thoughts.
Overall, I really enjoyed the show. I met some nice people along the way. I did come out with a delicious Apple Pie and Date Squares by one vendor. Daniel picked up a gift pack of handmade soaps. We prefer the handmade soaps over store bought soaps. They tend to smell nicer and easier on the skin.
At the end of the day when the show is being packed up. It all comes down to whether the vendors presented a great table and were engaging. It is more important on the type of guests that were attracted to the show. If all the guests are there looking for ideas to knock off, the show didn’t benefit the exhibitors. However, the guests were there to spend money, buy into the creativity in others and provide something unique, it makes the world of difference.
- So how do you get more people out to a craft show.
- Have any suggestions leave it below in the comments.
- Would love your feedback!