Monday, May 30, 2011
(above: thousands of visitors at Renegade Craft Fair)
As the summer craft fair season gets into full swing, the time seems right to talk about selling your goods in person, and bringing your Etsy magic into the real world. This is part one in a series of three posts about how and why to participate in craft fairs, art and gift shows.
First off, some great reasons to participate in a craft fair:
1. Extra income! Many artisans like to do craft fairs throughout the year to supplement their income, or just as a regular paycheck. Some people even tour the country during the year, participating in large craft fairs many months out of the year.
2. Local exposure! Craft fairs can be a great way to attract local buyers. Even if shoppers don't purchase from you on the day of the fair, many people will grab your business card, and perhaps make a purchase from you at a later date. The added online traffic after the fair can be just as profitable as the sales you make the day of the fair.
3. Additional promotional opportunities! Many bloggers and magazine editors visit craft fairs to discover up-and-coming designers. A feature on a well-read blog or popular magazine can be an invaluable boost to your business.
4. New wholesale accounts! Buyers for many local businesses often come to craft fairs to scout for new merchandise for their stores. This can mean new sources of income, as well as more exposure for your business.
5. Networking with others in your field! Craft fairs are a great place to meet other artists and craftspeople. At a busy fair you can make connections with tons of new people, both customers and potential collaborators and mentors. Perhaps you'll meet a gallery owner who'd like to show your work, or another artisan who you can collaborate with on a new project.
(just a few of the many craft fairs you could participate in!)
While participating in craft fairs can be a bit daunting at first, a little planning can make things much easier. First, do some research about what fairs might attract your target market. It's important to find a fair that will attract both a good number of attendees, and advertise to your target market. You may want to start with craft fairs in your town, but it may pay off to look for larger fairs that you can travel to easily that are a little further away.
Think about how much you'd have to sell to break even, after considering booth fees and setup costs (renting tables, buying display elements, paying for travel, etc.) It can be a bit of an investment to begin doing craft shows, but these added costs can pay off big time if you find a show that is suited to your wares. Be practical about what you can afford for your first fair, and once you've considered all the costs involved, apply to a show! Many craft fairs are juried months in advance, so keep that in mind as you plan for upcoming craft fair seasons.
Next up in this Craft Fairs 101 series: You've been accepted, now to plan your craft fair booth! Lots of tips about how to display your awesome goods, coming soon.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Friday, May 27, 2011
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
I’m Laura Johnston. I'm a passionate, understanding, creative, detail-oriented and open-minded person. I started my photography business while I was still in college and have been working for myself since then (I’m all of 24 now). My first job ever was at a Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins, I am a tomboy at heart, and I love plays on words and witty humor. I have incredibly eclectic tastes in everything except for food. My preferred menu has approximately the variety of a five year old’s. Ha!
|The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes|
What... in that small 5% of my time left over? I sleep! Haha. Seriously though, I like to spend time with my wonderful soulmate and our two dogs, Cody & Chloe. I take breaks from my creative ‘jobs’ and do other creative things for fun (play saxophone, make jewelry, draw, craft, write). I also love, love, love exploring and wandering in new places, whether it’s somewhere in town I haven’t been yet or a whole new country.
When I was in first grade I drew an illustration for a book report: a fat little gray elephant in profile, facing left, wearing a bright yellow t-shirt. What book? I don’t remember. The response I got from my classmates and my teachers about the illustration really pushed me to draw more, and from that point I did. I spent soooo much time in classes from first grade all the way through college doodling and drawing. So that’s where it started.
|Stem of Consciousness|
For photoshoots with models involved I piece a strong team together, which depending on the concept, will include models, make-up artists, hair stylists, wardrobe stylists, and/or assistants. Sometimes the shoot concept is premeditated, and sometimes I come up with a concept inspired by the model I’m going to be working with. I’m a believer in creating the image in camera versus in photoshop, so I don’t use a lot of frills and fancy actions on my images. Most of my photoshop work involves detail-oriented tweaking that takes the raw image I shot from the camera to a smooth, polished final product.
|Aquatica Fine Art Print|
My creative process for artwork is pretty organic. I typically don’t premeditate anything, but let the medium and the moment guide me. If I’m drawing I start with one subject (even sometimes just a random shape) and just build off of it until it looks and feels like a finished composition. Balance is key. When I paint, I clear the floor and put down a large mat or piece of cardboard and place my canvas on top of it. I’ll have water and paper towels and my paint box handy. Then I just start grabbing colors and mixing the paint with the water and grab more colors dance back and forth with the medium until the composition comes together. Most of my paintings are very driven by color and mood.
Three main interests: people, animals, and nature. I am very interested in psychology and find people fascinating, so I really enjoy portrait work. Our experiences, our emotions, the way the each one of us has a story of our own. Aesthetically, the female form has always been inspiring to me and is a common theme throughout my artwork and photography. I grew up with a brother who had muscular dystrophy and as a result was incredibly thin. I think this has translated to a lot of my figure work (mostly seen in my drawings) and has also spilled over into photography via an interest in working with thin models. Nature has been a solace for me from the time I was young and I still feel so at peace whenever I’m just sitting barefoot in a patch of grass or walking through the woods. It’s always beautiful but sometimes it's completely breathtaking, and I’m lucky when I have a camera to capture those moments. When I don’t, I take a mental picture to use at a later point in paintings or elsewhere. My love of animals is not expressed much through photography (unless you count the millions of photos of my two dogs), but there are often animal subjects in my artwork. I’ve actually recently opened my second Etsy shop, which is dedicated solely to my animal friends!
Right now I’m focused on expanding my product catalog to include a wider variety of items. I’ve recently added woodblocks, postcards and posters. Coming soon are bookmarks, stickers, coasters and photo jewelry! My hope is to reach a wider audience by providing not only wall art, but functional art as well.
Be active and involved in the community and keep pushing yourself to move forward, whether it’s with new product, an updated banner, or contacting blogs to feature you. Etsy is a wonderful place, but Etsy doesn't create success for you; you still have to create it for yourself. This quote helps me out sometimes when I’m stuck or afraid of new ideas, “Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.”
Facebook has been wonderful for me and that’s where I do a lot of my promoting. When I first opened my shop on Etsy I built lots and lots and lots of treasuries to promote my work a little at a time to other Etsians and their friends. I still make lots of treasuries now.
In ten years I would like to be showing my work in galleries across the globe. I’d love to have a studio with glass walls where I could do amazing natural light studio shots indoors. In my dream studio I could create to my heart’s content, without worrying about messing up the carpet (because there wouldn’t be any) or getting paint on the walls. But besides that and a more steady income, I don’t want ten years from now to be too much different from right now. :)
Visit Laura's Website
Visit Laura's Etsy Shop
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
Vintage Cotton Halter Dress by aiseirigh, $56
- Summer Evening 8x10 Fine Art Print by aVeryStory, $20
- Melody of Spring Original 9x12 Watercolor Painting by paintedbliss, $65
- Woven Picnic Basket by AMradio, $49
- Vintage Lunch Tin by thepetitemarket, $18
- Picnic Wooden Cutlery, 10 sets by ititems, $7.90
- Eco Square Plates by janeecollings, $8.70
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Remember the Manly Man Contest discussed a few weeks ago? Well, on the 18th the votes were finally tallied and the results are in.
Here are the amazing final entries
The Earnest Hemingway - Need...
Life and Death Cross Stitch ...
Paw Ingalls - A Primitive Fo...
This is a Pipe - Magritte Pa...
Found Items Ball Chain Neckl...
Elvis Tie in purple print
Large Vintage Shoe Shining B...
Before we get to who won the vote, let's take a minute to thank our teammates who have so generously donated prizes to this contest!
The Winner's Choice of Hand Painted Necklace from TuckooandMooCow
A fabulous pink Coffee Mug Cozy from CornFlowerBlueStudio
A $25 gift certificate to LauraJohnston's Etsy Shop
A free print or package of labels from CalamariStudio
and a choice of any item up to a $20 value from MyOliviaJewelry
DovieMoon with the Shoe Shining Kit
and PixiePocket with the Elvis Tie
OldWorldPrimitives with "Paw Ingalls"
and the Grand Prize
CalamariStudio with "Ceci est une pipe"
Runners up will have Etsy minis from their shops in the sidebar of this blog for the next 2 weeks. 2nd place will also have an Etsy mini displayed as well as receive a small prize package. 1st place will receive all of the above listed prizes as well as an assortment of handmade and crafting goodies!
Thanks so much to all Aspiring Artisans who entered! You are awesome!