Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Many small business owners struggle when it comes to pricing their items - how do you know if you are charging enough for your product? How much do you pay yourself? What about wholesale pricing? I've collected some helpful articles to guide you through the process of pricing your handmade goods:

The Art of Pricing via the Etsy blog
Determining Your Overhead via Handmade Marketing
Preparing for Wholesaling via the Etsy blog

l'heure bleue (just before the snow) - Treasured Finds

You can see more beautiful finds here.
Thank you to Veronica Vartic for these Treasured Finds!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

How We Celebrate the Season

Merry Christmas, everyone! Well, almost... As we get ever closer to that giant, overly-commercialized, chilly, and sometimes kitsch holiday known as Christmas, we'd like to give you a closer look at how we makers of the Aspiring Artisan's Guild celebrate. 

Jingle Bell Holiday Cheer Necklace in Red and Green
Sarah of MyOliviaJewelry's family has a tradition of having to guess what each present is before they can open it. This was started by her great-grandma when the family couldn't afford many gifts. Guessing takes a good long while so it would draw out the present opening and make it more fun. This tradition has encouraged some creative gifts. Her grandfather once wrapped up a big rock from his backyard that her uncle used to sit on and read books as a kid!

Hand Painted Moleskine "le penguin" Cahier / Notebook and Gold Snowflake and Crystal Earrings
Laura of LeAnimale and Rachel of ExhaustedCreativity both have the Christmas tradition of opening a present from under the tree a night early Christmas Eve in anticipation of the day itself!

6 Crimson Red Holiday Bows
Rachel of cornflowerbluestudio takes an active approach. Since she and her husband live far from any family and don't celebrate Christmas themselves, they usually go on a hike that day. When they lived in Arizona they would spend a few days around Christmas at the Grand Canyon hiking the South Rim and now that they're in Alabama they go to a nearby state park on Christmas Eve and enjoy the crisp air.

Reusable 25-day countdown to Christmas Advent Calendar
When April of MooreMagnets was young she, her dad, and brother used to take a long drive home looking at all of the luminaries that were put out on Christmas eve. "It was a big thing that the town used to do, and one of the most beautiful things to see. As we got older my brother and I continued our long drive home, and even as teenagers when we didn't like each other it was something that we always did. We made a lot of memories on those drives, and I think we both are disappointed that fewer and fewer people put the luminaries out on Christmas eve," says April.

Wire Wrapped Garnet Necklace
Our wonderful AeridesDesigns moved to the U.S from england in the 80's, but her mother keeps Christmas very English. Christmas Crackers are becoming more common in the US, but the British way is to pop open the crackers with the person next to you at dinner and then wear the paper hat on your head throughout your meal. "We do that still, including my husband and my brother in law (who are both American, and both grumble at the idea, but play along)," she says.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What Does Sustainability Mean to You?

A while back  I was thinking about how when people build houses now, they don't often build them with the mentality of passing them down generation after generation the way they used to. Homes often aren't built with quality enough materials to be able to truly stand the test of time. I wonder if it isn't a byproduct of being the age of throw-out-and-upgrade. People don't, in general, buy with the intent of items lasting through generations anymore (although it seems this has been changing more and more in the last few years). This leads me back to the currently fashionable word "sustainability."

To me, it means creating something lasting--in whatever form that may be. In the context of handmade businesses, this may mean creating an heirloom quality piece, making something that will stand the test of time and not become a yearly re-buy for the customer, and creating lasting relationships with your customers who come to value your work even more through knowing who you are and how it came into being.

 On the Aspiring Artisans Guild, we are all micro business owners. In order to thrive in this economic climate, we've had to look at ways to make our business models sustainable in the long run. Partnering with Artisans Gallery Team in a project titled "People and Planet First" I would like to open up discussion here: What does "sustainability" in the context of a handmade business mean to you?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Business Tip of the Week :: Opportunity or Time Waster?

One thing any small business owner knows is that there is never enough time! We have so many ideas, projects, lists, requests and demands... so how do you know which activities are valuable to your business and which ones are time wasters? Well, I just ran across this great video full of helpful info on how to make the distinction. It only takes a few minutes to watch and the strategies may save you from wasting time in the future!

gift guide: best friend under 75 - Treasured Finds

You can find more gift ideas here.
Thank you to oh dear watson for these Treasured Finds!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Time Management - Manage Your Time, Don't Let Your Time Manage You

Happy December 1st! I've Just finished up my 4th November on Etsy and we are smack dab in the middle of holiday shopping season! I hope that you are all doing well, making sales, and getting your own holiday shopping done if you need to do any!

I can actually say that this November has been the least stressful November of all of the November's I've had on Etsy. I credit most of that to managing my time, being prepared, and setting realistic deadlines. I also made the conscious decision not to do a lot of extra craft shows and markets this year too, which has made a world of difference!

Last year and the year before, I vowed that I would start putting our Christmas tree up on November 1st, but thankfully I managed to get all of the decorations up on Thanksgiving weekend and we enjoyed a couple days off for friends and family.

So, what is my secret? I've been managing my time, and not letting time manage me. You may ask exactly what that means ... Basically, I know how much I can get done in a day and when I am pushing my expectations of myself. So, I have been scheduling projects each day and allowing lots of extra time to communicate with customers. Customer questions and requests seem to be a lot higher this time of year, so I have learned that I need at least double the amount of time each day to communicate.

I've also been careful not to over promise. So, when I tell customers how long custom orders are taking, I am sure to account for a bit of cushion to ensure that packages go out on time. Purchasing tracking on packages also seems to be more important than ever right now, so that customers can see exactly where their items are in transit.

By managing my time well, I have been able to have my most successful month on Etsy, and still fill the house with the smells and activities that come along with the season and my family.

So go forth, and manage your time!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Link Love :: Creative Resources

I've put together a quick list of interesting information about running a handmade business and being a creative person. I hope you find some inspiring and helpful information!

a video of Elizabeth Gilbert talking about nurturing creativity
Trust via The Business of Being Creative
Advice From an Etsy Veteran via Handmadeology

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Business Tip of the Week :: Get Your Name Out There

Have you ever thought about how many people would love to buy your handmade items if only they knew you existed? How do you reach people who have no idea about your shop, boutique, or website? Here are my top three tips for getting your name out there (without breaking the bank):

1. Advertise on blogs. Many bloggers have very reasonable sponsorship rates and some will even do an ad swap so you both get more exposure. Make sure to think about your target audience when choosing a blog for your advertisement - does it appeal to the same type of person that would be interested in your product?

2. Find some local press opportunities. Many local magazines and newspapers love to feature small businesses. Do you ever partner with local charities or contribute to the life of your community? Do you have a collection of vintage dresses just begging for a spread on the spring style page? Do your homework, refine your story, and submit your idea.

3. Make a video. Shooting a video about your product or your business and putting it on youtube.com is a great way to show customers your personality and establish a bond. Plus, you can show off all the ways your item can be used, how it's made, or a million other things that potential buyers may find interesting and/or amusing!

A Berry Good Gift Guide - Treasured Finds

You can find more berry themed gift ideas here.
Thank you to Michabella for these Treasured Finds!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Customizable Gifts - Treasured Finds

You can find more customizable gift ideas here.
Thank you to Calamari Studio for these Treasured Finds!

Business Tip of the Week :: Customer Service

Customer service is an important part of any business whether it is an online shop or a local boutique. As handmade business owners we want to be professional, friendly, and encourage our customers to return for more purchases - and this is where having great customer service will make all the difference. Here are my top three tips for keeping your customers happy:

1. Post your policies. Information on returns, exchanges, and shipping should be carefully considered and clearly posted on your website or in your store. Think about being fair to the customer and fair to your business - harsh policies may discourage buyers, but lenient policies may ending up costing you money in the long run. Take the time to find a balance that's right for you.

2. Show your appreciation. Customers love to feel appreciated and noticed when they are patronizing a small business so a little personal attention goes a long way! If you operate an online shop you can include a thank you note with each purchase or include a small sample to encourage repeat business. If you're running a local boutique you will want to greet each customer and consider giving out coupons to repeat customers. It's the small things that count!

3. Listen to your customers. When you get positive feedback from a customer be sure to let them know that you appreciate it - it means you're on the right track! And if you have a complaint to deal with remember to be courteous and patient. Be a good listener and try to resolve the problem while sticking to your shop policies.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Time Management - Procrastination ... Friend or Foe?

Hi, My name is April, and I am a procrastinator.

Do you find it odd that a person that is a self-admitted procrastinator also writes posts on time management? Well, I do!

The thing is, I generally use my procrastination to it's fullest advantage. I know that I get tons more done when I procrastinate than when I try to work steadily along. However, I trick myself ... I fake procrastination.

The way that I have found to "fake" procrastination is by saving things up and scheduling them all on the same days. This includes household tasks like cooking and cleaning, as well as work tasks like making similar things on the same days. I also tend to write due dates on my calendar at least 2 days in advance. So, if I tell a person that their order will ship in 7 days, then I write it down as due on the 5th day.

As for household tasks ... I only do laundry once per week ... as much good that I see with doing a load of laundry each day, I find it much more productive to do all of the washing, folding, and putting away at one time. The same way that I can cut a lot of wood the same size if I cut 3 pieces at one time versus cutting them one at a time.

So, for all of you procrastinators out there ... start channeling that energy ... it can be a good thing!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Aspiring Artisan: Moore Magnets


Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi! I'm April! I am the sole owner/creator behind MooreMagnets. My husband and I have 3 boys, so I also answer to mom, hey you, and various other grunts and mumbles. I spend most of my days in jeans or sweats and tee shirts ... it is a rare day that I dawn a skirt or something that needs to be ironed.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I love the beach, mountains, and spending time outside. We spend lots of time making fires in our fire pit, cooking marshmallows, and talking about our next DIY project around the house. I wish that I could tell you that I am an avid scuba diver, as I have been certified since I was 12 years old, but I don't get to go nearly as often as I would like.


What does the typical workday look like for you?
I usually get up around 5:30 or 6 am each morning and my day starts with coffee and getting boys off to school. After that I usually plan my work time around the weather. Since I do lots of my work outside I try to spend the nicest part of the day outdoors, and save inside work for the extremely cold times or extremely hot times in the summer. I love the flexibility that being self-employed allows me.


What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?

I think the biggest piece of advice I would give is to not take any one piece of advice as the gospel. There are tons of things that people told me to try that worked for their shop, but I either wasn't good at it or it didn't work for me. So, I took each piece of advice with a grain of salt, used the pieces that worked the best for me, and continued to be open to different advice until I found what worked best.


How do you promote your work? What do you find to be the most effective?
I promote in a variety of ways and with a variety of methods. I do craft shows locally and I find that the ones that are strictly handmade items work best for me. I also have participated in online reviews and giveaways that I find to be most effective during the gift-giving season. I am also a big believer in targeted online advertising where I have taken the time to think about the aspects of my items that are most useful to certain groups of folks and then I advertise those specific items to that group.

What inspired Moore Magnets?
I didn't specifically start MooreMagnets as a business, or because I was particularly talented in a specific craft. Really, I just wanted a cute magnet board for my boys to use and I couldn't find one and decided to make one myself. After that I was asked by friends and family to make one for their home, and the business naturally progressed after that. I offer a lot of products now that were either requested by customers or created to fill my own needs.

What specific steps are you taking to grow your etsy shop?
I am continually trying to come up with new product ideas. I think this has been the biggest thing that has helped me to stay inspired and also attract new customers.


In ten years, where would you like to be?
I honestly hope that I am still doing what I am doing today ... only in a bigger space. I would really like a more dedicated space inside my house to work with paper and fabric, and I would like that space to have a door that can be shut when I am off and spending time with my husband and boys. I'd also be happy underwater on a scuba diving adventure!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

DIY: Create You Own, Custom Art Wall

Hi there, folks! Hillary Doggart-Greer here from hilariagalleries. As an artist, I am constantly changing things up in my home and especially on my walls. Here lately, I've been crushing after some of the beautiful, multi-frame botanical print displays that can be found all over home design magazines and blogs these days.

Pottery Barn

Unfortunately, though, I do not have 8-10 beautiful, wooden frames sitting in my basement. So I thought to myself, "Self, how could I recreate this effect without spending major cash?" I went shopping around my house and studio and found eight, 11"x14" canvases that were leftovers from unsuccesful art efforts (no, not every painting I begin makes it to the post office, sadly). If you are not an active painter, no sweat--5-packs of these canvases can be purchased on the cheap at Michael's hobby stores anytime. Just wait for a sale or print off one of their many coupons that are available frequently.

The next step was to paint all of the canvases the same, egg-shell white color (this would prove to be the "matting" when finished).
Then came time to consider the "frames". Firstly, I marked an even inch from each side to create a semi-perfect rectangle.

I then attempted to paint the edges out using a deep, chocolate brown. However, this did not pan out so well--this method produced a lot of brush marks and an uneven tone. Not good; I was really looking for a nice, clean finish. I finally decided on using a piece of cardboard as a reverse stencil for the rectangle. Since my canvases were 11"x14" in perameter, I simply cut the cardboard to 9"x12" size. After laying the card board centered upon each canvas, I then used a deep brown, gloss spray paint to create the "frames." Unfortunately, I do not have a pic for this part, since I had to take a break to prepare dinner for three little ones.
Here is the final result:

While you could use any photo or print you'd like, I chose to use free, vintage printables from NYC Digital Gallery. I picked different images that were relevant to our family. For instance, in this "frame" I mod-podged a print from an antique calendar for the month of October, since that's when my husband and I got married.

To apply the image, simply print the pic using your home printer onto some decent cardstock. Cut to size and then apply mod podge to the back of the paper. Center the print onto the canvas and then mod-podge over the paper itself. Voilà!

I took this opportunity to down play our huge, old school TV. The use of multiple, dark rectangles helps to soften the big, black blah that is the square of our television. Total cost of this project: nada! Yup, nothing. I had all of the materials on hand and even if you don't have them at home it should still be a low cost, high impact project.
Happy Decorating!

November glow - gift ideas under $40 - Treasured Finds

You can find more gift ideas here.

Business Tip of the Week :: Designing a Booth

As the holidays approach many creative business owners are gearing up for seasonal craft fairs - a great place to sell your work, get your name out there, and network with other creative professionals! You can find more about choosing and researching fairs in this great AAG article, but once you've chosen an event how do you go about designing your booth?

Here are my top tips for putting together a great display:

1. Neutralize the background. Clutter behind or to the sides of your booth can be distracting to customers, so hang a curtain or find another way to define your space. This goes for the area under your tables, too!

2. Provide a mirror. If you're selling necklaces, scarves, bags, or anything wearable you should make sure to incorporate a mirror into your display to encourage customers to try things on.

3. Create dimension. Vary the height and depth of your products and display pieces to make the whole picture more interesting and eye catching.

4. Mark prices clearly. Customers may be uncomfortable asking about prices so make sure that you provide tags or signs that indicate the cost of each item or type of item.

5. Replenish your display as merchandise sells. No one wants to look at an empty booth so make sure to restock your displays throughout the fair. Remember to take a step back and view it from the customers point of view!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Aspiring Artisan: Letterhappy


Tell us a bit about yourself.
hi there! i'm christen strang and i'm the artist behind letterhappy. i'm a 25 year old southern belle born, raised, and currently living in mobile, alabama. and i love all things bright, colorful, fun.. and well, happy.


Apart from creating things, what do you do?
although one day i would love to create happy things full time, i currently hold a part time day job at my former high school. i stand at a copy machine as big as my car for five hours a day and make copies of tests, quizzes, and assignments for the entire school. needless to say, i'm a pretty big deal.


What made you first want to become an artist?

i was actually an education/english major for my first two years of college. if you had asked me what i wanted to be when i grew up, from the ages of 4 to 19, i would have said "a teacher". i was making out my schedule for my junior year, and realized that i didn't have any more spots open for the classes i really enjoyed, like art, photography, design, etc. not only that, but i was actually dreading my student teaching blocks. i had to make a decision, and i had to make it fast. i took quite possibly the biggest leap in my life, and changed majors to art business with a minor in graphic design. art had always been my passion, i just didn't realize until that moment that it would also end up being my career. it was the best decision i ever made.

What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?

don't get discouraged. celebrate every single sale. take amazing pictures. give awesome customer service. be yourself. put your personality into what you do. and above all, LOVE what you do.


How do you promote your work? What do you find to be the most effective?
i have a twitter, {http://twitter.com/christenstrang} a facebook page {http://facebook.com/letterhappy} and a newsletter {http://eepurl.com/dE4dY}. i use all three to keep my customers and friends in the know about new products. besides those, my most effective method of promotion {specific to etsy} has been renewals. don't just let your amazing work sit there and wait for someone to come along and find it. put your goods out there, wave them in people's faces.. you're awesome and you have great stuff, your potential customers just don't know it yet.


I love the variety of items in your shop, where does your inspiration come from?
a lot of my typography work is heavily inspired by song lyrics. i love taking the beautiful things that we hear and turning them into beautiful things that we can see. the same goes for my cards.. mostly words and sweet sentiments, with a little bit of humor thrown in there. i'm well on my way to making letterhappy a full service boutique of sorts.. a little bit of jewelry, a little bit of vintage, and even a few screenprinted shirts make their way into the shop every now and then.


In ten years, where would you like to be?
ten years seems like a lifetime away, and i'm not sure i should even speculate! above all, i'd like to still be doing what i love.. and happy.. of course. :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Neutral Fabulosity - Treasured Finds

Vintage Chaise Lounge at French Eclectic
Chiffon Romper at Love Baby J Couture
Guardian of Memories by Stephmel Photography and Fine Art
Button Flower Earring by The Angry Weather

For more fabulous items please click here.
Thank you to Peaces of Indigo for these Treasured Finds!

Business Tip of the Week :: Take an E-Course

Most handmade business entrepreneurs love to learn new things - a new craft or technique, business strategies, marketing tricks, you name it and we like to learn about it! A great way for us to learn new skills is by taking an e-course. We can fit it into our crazy schedules and work through the class at our own pace - a definite bonus during the holiday season when things get really busy! Here is a roundup of e-courses created just for creative small business owners:

Dream Job : this is a great course that I took myself! Elsie and Emma tell there own dream job stories and give a lot of practical advice for running a thriving small business.

Indie Business : an interactive class for those building online and local businesses. Previous courses have included printable workbooks and live Q & A sessions. You can sign up for the next e-course on the website.

Handmade Horizons : an eight week e-course that includes videos, worksheets, and group coaching calls. This course is geared towards new business owners looking to take their business to the next level.

Handmadeology : this site has quite a few free e-courses on different topics related to selling on Etsy.

Blogging Adventure : a free e-course about blogging designed for crafters.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Time Management - Warning, Warning ... Approaching meltdown status

I was supposed to post this yesterday, but I am a little behind. Do you know that feeling? The kind where you feel like a cartoon character who's head is about to explode.

The biggest thing about time management is that you either feel like you are managing it well ... or you don't, and sometimes that feeling can change hour-to-hour.

So, when you see the big red lights flashing in your head it is time to stop and re-group.

Often our lists are long and stressful because of ourselves. The things that actually need to be done that day are short and manageable. If they are not, then we need to be honest about what we are committing ourselves to. So, stop, and really think about what you absolutely need to do today, and make sure eating and sleeping are on that list!

Go through the immediate list and do the things that take the shortest amount of time first. Just getting a few things off of your plate immediately will most likely boost you to get on with the rest of your day.

Now, I'm off to work on my own list ... as my head is screaming "meltdown is rapidly approaching!"

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Crafting Custom Orders

Offering custom orders is a great way to connect with customers and offer something special. People love items that they helped to design and were made just for them. Taking custom work is great for the artist as well. It provides an opportunity to do something creatively different and can often lead to new design inspiration. I have completed several custom orders that have inspired new products.

To make sure the transaction goes smoothly, there are several things to remember when accepting custom work.


le custom pet by leanimale

Communicate with your customer - Communication is key when taking on a custom piece. Talk to your customer to find exactly what they want. No detail is too small to discuss. You really want to get a clear picture of the client's expectations. It can be easy for two people to interpret things differently, so getting a lot of information is vital when creating a custom piece.

Calculate a price - Realistically consider the time and material cost it will take to complete. It is easy to underestimate how long it will take to create a custom piece. Honestly consider the time it will take to finish; you do not want to undervalue your work. Taking hours longer than anticipated may pressure you to complete the project and you do not want the quality of your work to suffer.


custom silhouette pendant by tuckooandmoocow

Set a date to ship - Take a look at your schedule and set a reasonable date to ship. I often will have to order materials for custom orders, so make sure to consider the time it will take to get supplies. Giving yourself a little extra time is always a good idea and can avoid a stressful situation if something unexpected happens. Make sure to communicate with your customer when to expect their order in the mail. Many people will not realize how long it takes to complete a custom piece. Being up front with the lead-time will avoid any confusion and dissatisfaction.

Create a custom listing - It is a good idea to ask for payment up front, or at least a deposit before investing the time and materials into a custom piece. To create a listing on Etsy without a photo of the finished product, you can create a custom listing. A custom listing image can easily be created using the free photo editing program picnic. Edit an existing product photo by adding text. Include the details of the piece in the listing’s description.


custom order by cornflower blue studio

Take photos– Pictures of the finished product are important for several reasons. Sending photos of the final product for approval is a good idea before shipment. If your client is unhappy or wants changes, it is much easier to remedy the situation before mailing the item out. Pictures of custom items are great to include in your portfolio to showcase a range of work. Also, I have had customers return for a second, similar custom order. It is very handy to have detailed photos so you can create a replica of the original piece.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Talking about craft fairs...

For the last year and a half I have been doing lots of craft fairs. Any kind of craft fair you can imagine, the tiny ones (only 5 or 6 artists in a very small place), the big and very well known ones, the new ones, the just started ones, outside, inside, during any season and time of the year, successful ones, crappy ones, you name it! I have even sold in a public square below a mountain in Montreal where people gather on Sundays to play drums and have a lovely day outside and where a bunch of artists and hippies sell their stuff on the ground. After all this I can proudly say I can tell you I have learned a thing or two on this topic and I would love to share it with you.

First of all I would suggest you do your research right. There is a bunch of information you have to consider before doing a craft fair and these are some points I think are important:

1. Is it a well known fair or is it new?
2. What kind of crowd attends this fair?
3. How much is it?
4. Location
5. Indoors or outdoors (both have their complexities)
6. When is it?

1. Is it a well known fair of is it new?

I have done both and even though I have had pleasant surprises with new craft fairs, I have also had bad ones. For example; the location was not as good as promised or no one knew about it so there were no clients at all! A well known craft fair or design fair has gained its reputation over the years by making things right, buy choosing their vendors right, by choosing a good location and a good time to make their event and also by doing a good advertisement of it. A good and successful craft fair will be able to provide you with photos of previous events and you can even ask other artists who participated on it about their experience. Do your research!

2. What kind of crowd attends this craft fair?

This is very important because if you go to an event with the wrong crowd you`ll have no sales. Do you know which kind of people appreciate and buy your work? Age, gender, profession, background, etc...

3. How much is it?

Some craft fairs are less expensive than others. Make a budget that includes the cost of the fair, transportation expenses, your display and your packaging supplies before making a decision to participate. To have a successful event you`ll have to make profit after paying all this previous expenses, so if you have never done a craft fair start with an affordable option so you can have the experience and see how it goes.

4. Location

For people like me with no car and living in a city where taxis are super expensive this is very important. I usually pack everything on a big (rather huge) suitcase and go like a gypsy carrying this and another big bag on the metro and buses, not the most gracious way to go around but I deal with it and save myself some money, sometimes one of my friends would be super kind with me and drive me to the fair (and I would be so happy when that happens). If you have a car (lucky you) check the parking options beforehand, you don`t want to be going around for 30 min. looking for a parking place when you have to set up your table by 11am!!! Location is also a good indicator of what kind of crowd will attend. Check if there is an ATM nearby, must of the times only cash is accepted in this events and sometimes clients don`t have enough so this could help your sales.

5. Indoors or outdoors (both have their complexities)

I usually prefer indoor fairs because I don`t have to deal with rain or wind (I`ve found myself hanging from a tent trying to stop it from flying away!) This also depends on your work. In both cases make sure what is going to be provided to you: table (check the size), chairs, a tent (for an out door event), wall space, rack space, electricity, etc... In my case I try to get wall space to display my cards hanging from a thread but in some places you cannot nail things on the wall so take this in consideration).

6. When is it?

There are craft fairs all year long. Best ones of course happen at the end of the year due to all the gift giving frenzy, but depending where you live, there are some other times of the year that are excellent or maybe not that good for doing a craft fair. For example, here in Montreal everyone goes out for the summer and I discover this while having 3 very bad craft fairs last summer. I just could not understand why I was not selling at all until someone explained this fact to me so now I will not do summer fairs.

Once you have decided to participate in a craft fair you have to plan many things. What are you going to sell, do you have stock or you need to prepare for it?, how are you going to display your work?, price tags, packaging, business cards, etc... I always take some tools to repair any of my dolls or jewelry in case something happens to them and I make sure to have enough change. Remember, you are going to be there for many hours so the least you want to be is hungry, bored or uncomfortable, take water, a yummy lunch and a book or whatever you can do while being there that will entertain you. Oh oh oh and do charge your cell phone before going, you want to be able to make a call in case... well, in case you need to!

In my opinion craft fairs are an excellent opportunity to show your work in a different way and to meet your clientele in person. It makes me happy to see the smiles of people faces when they see my work and I have met wonderful people and even made some good friends doing craft fairs. Even in the events where I have had very little profit I have gained something or learned something so I have never had regrets. Some of the retailers that sale my work have met me in a craft fair and some of the customers that knew me in a craft fair have looked for me later on to buy a doll or something. You never know!!!

My last advice would be to attend a craft fair yourself, specially one that you would like to participate as a vendor. Go and spend some time there, look at the crowd and get some ideas for your display from other vendors, ask questions, get the feeling of it! This will give you a very good perspective of the event itself and then you can go ahead and try it!

Good luck!!!