Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Five tips for applying for a craft market or craft show

So you have been making some handmade items, maybe selling them online? Perhaps thinking of applying for a local market or craft show? Over the next couple of weeks, I will be writing all my tips and tricks and your guide to surviving craft, handmade or flea markets! 

I’m a veteran of markets – as a customer, as a business participant and more recently, as a volunteer committee member running a market, I like to consider myself to be a semi-pro (just indulge me ok?). 

My stall layout in just a little 2m x 1m space.
Photo by Narelle Browne Photographer
I have asked advice from other handmaidens, businesses and market conveners and have come up with some great tips and ideas from lots of experienced crafters.

Firstly, some important things to consider when you put in your application.

Five tips for applying for a market

1. Good photography – the first tip is about your photos. Can I go out on a limb here and say that overly edited and filtered iPhone photos aren’t a great reflection of your products. I’m very fortunate to have a girlfriend who is a professional photographer and happily accepts payment in products for taking photos of my ‘collection’ each year. With a little time and planning, you can take great photos yourself. There is plenty of information online to help you take better photos – creating your own lightbox, taking photos in natural light or editing photos after to achieve the best look (see reference links below).
Doesn't this photo of these two cheeky, cutie patooties
show off my dresses much nicer than on a hanger!
Photo by Mel Riddell Photographer
Make sure you have photos of your stall or marquee set up and close up photos of individual products. Include any cool details on your products that might be missed in a standard photo.

Ensure the files you send are not too big or too small. Imagine one poor person downloading each photo if it is 4 or 5mg. They are likely to give up and only open a couple of photos to assess your application. 

2. Description of your products – make sure your application includes clear and concise information about what you are will be selling and have on display the day of your market. Be specific about what you intend to sell at the market; don’t just say ‘dresses’ – what type of dresses, what fabrics, what size range and what cost. 

 A list of items is always better than a general description of your overall business. 

3. Description of your process - if you have a unique making process, make sure you let them know, as curators they are always looking for something different and unique. My process isn’t very unique but I always write that everything is locally made, by me on my vintage horn sewing table in the corner of my bedroom. So not unique but certainly memorable right?

 One of the regular stallholders at the markets I attend makes glass jewellery. She wrote about the process here on the blog. It is so interesting reading about how she creates her products. Don’t sell yourself short. Describe how you make your products – what is 'just the way you do things' could be amazing to someone else. Include a photo of you in your studio if you like. 

Kuhl Design describes her process of creating her beautiful ceramics.Photo by Narelle Browne Photographer

4. Promote yourself – writing about ourselves is probably the hardest thing we have to do. You might need a friend to help with this one! Maybe start by answering these questions and then bringing it all together:
  • who you are – married, kids, day time job in xyz etc
  • where you live – local suburb, on a farm with rolling fields, looking at the chooks running around. You get the idea!
  • what is your experience with your design and products – learnt to sew at an early age, taught by a mentor, studied at college and so on
  • where do you draw your inspiration
  • how you started out in your business
  • where do you see your business heading in the next few years
Once you put it all together you might want to have a short and long version depending on what you require for the different applications. 

Inspired by Paper tells a story of loving paper growing up taking simple 'paper craft' into an interesting story.
Photo by Narelle Browne Photographer

5. Branding and presentation - professional and consistent branding goes a long way! Stall holders and their products are a reflection of the market and customers always notice. Presentation of the items themselves is important and needs to be consistent and interesting. 

You might also like:

Much more to come in the next couple of weeks including what to take, presentation and how to engage your customers. 

Do you already attend markets? Are these tips helpful? Would love to hear what you think and if there is anything I can help you with!


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