July 7, 2017

Considerations for Applying to Any Art Event

I've heard many artists and crafters mention that they need every opportunity they can get to show their work. With that said, not all events are going to be a good fit for your talent. It's important that you weigh the options and consider the possible outcomes before applying. No one wants to invest the time and money in a show that doesn't yield a profit. While you can predict everything (like the weather), you should ask yourself  a number of questions to gauge how this event suits you.

  • How much does is cost to apply and participate?
  • What is the likely size and makeup of the audience?
  • Where is the event held? Indoor, outdoor, amenities? 
  • How many vendors will be there? What type of arts? 
  • Are you likely to make a profit or at least break even? 

The goal is to help you prepare for success and know when to seek out a different show. Yes, there are going to be some you should avoid. Consider the following every time you're applying to a new event so you focus on only those that are best for your handmade business!

  • Who is in charge of the event - organizers and sponsors? 
  • Have they put on this type of show before? How many times? 
  • What is the organizer's reputation in the art industry? 
  • What is their motivation in organizing this type of event?

  • What fees are required to apply and participate?
  • How much will it cost you to prepare enough inventory?
  • What additional booth or display items will you need?
  • How much do you need to sell to get back the costs?
  • Will there be a commission on goods sold?
  • Are you asked to donate to a silent auction or giveaway?

  • How much attendee traffic can you expect? 
  • What type of people usually attend this event? 
  • Do you need to cater to a specific group or theme?
  • Do your price points make sense for this audience?

  • How many participants will there be at the event?
  • Do the organizers prioritize legacy vendors or new?
  • Does your art fit in or complement the usual selection?
  • Will your art stand out enough to attract buyers?

  • Where does the event take place? 
  • Is it the same place every time or a different one?
  • Are there indoor or outdoor booth spaces available?
  • What booth sizes do you have to choose from?
  • How is the parking situation for vendors and shoppers?
  • Is this a high traffic, easy to get to spot?
  • Are there other activities and/or food at the event?

  • How long is the event? A couple hours, a couple days?
  • Are you prepared to man your booth the whole time?
  • Do you have friends or family who can help?
  • Is there another artist you can partner with to share?
  • Will you have to miss out on other opportunities?

  • Will the organizers provide access to electricity?
  • Do they offer any setup items to help like booths or tables?
  • What special display items will you need (i.e. extra lighting)?
  • Does the show offer refreshments or support to vendors?

  • What promotion will be done on your behalf to attract visitors?
  • How much effort will you need to invest in spreading the word?
  • If you don’t make a lot of sales, will this event at least provide leads?