A sneak peek at the first craft show for Sugar & Thyme along with some tips and ideas for new crafters looking to start doing craft shows.
I did it!
A few weeks ago I attended my first craft show as a vendor.
What. A. Rush.
It was a total adrenaline rush, seriously. I feel so in my element. I love getting out there, seeing my vision come to life , showcasing my designs and meeting people. I love it!
After weeks of preparing, designing, and late nights printing and matting with Mr. Mother Thyme working as my “assistant”, everything came together.
I thought it would be fun to share my story since I found many people have an interest in learning and seeing what others do to create their booths for craft shows. I’m one of those people. I am grateful for the wealth of information I found on the internet and Pinterest with some great ideas and looks.
Just to catch you up, on top of being a mama to 3 year old twins, and developing recipes for MT, I am now designing printable artwork which can be found in my shop Sugar & Thyme on Etsy. If you want a little back story about how Sugar & Thyme started, click HERE.
Mr. Mother Thyme and I have loved attending art and craft shows for years. Even before the twins, we would spend weekends wandering local shows. It’s just fun. We have had this idea for years. We would often say to each other that this would be a fun thing to do. I have a new appreciation for crafters and the time it takes to prepare for each event. When I decided to start doing local craft shows I honestly had no clue where to start. One day I spent hours trying to find upcoming shows. I found a few, but I knew there had to be more out there. The question was, how do you find out?
When I coordinated the Buffalo Baby Expo, I met a lot of awesome vendors. I got to chatting with one vendor who eventually told me about an upcoming show she was doing. I got in contact with that show and luckily I was able to get into the show as well.
The next few weeks I was working night and day on my inventory, printing my designs, matting and packaging them. In the midst of it all, I had to visualize my entire store on an 8 foot table. You just can’t toss everything on the table and cross your fingers that people will come. You have to make it look inviting and have a presentation that will draw shoppers to your booth.
It is common to have a 10×10 foot space for craft shows. You need to design your shop within that space. Since the show I was doing was only an 8 foot table, my space was even more limited. Thankfully I was able to snag a corner spot and was able to do an L shape booth to give me a little more room.
I set up my “shop” in our basement ahead of time so I new how I wanted it to look. I found cute baskets and wire baskets to hold some of the prints. I also used crates from Joann’s and plate holders to create different vignettes on the table. I purchased banquet tablecloths on Amazon and topped them with a cute runners from HomeGoods.
Where our plan kind of fell apart, or I should say is still a work in progress is with the panels (which are set behind me in the pictures). Craft show panels can be very expensive. You need something easy and portable. I found a great idea on Pinterest using 3 doors on hinges to create a backdrop where we could hang some of the framed designs for sale. Mr. Mother Thyme and I went to Lowe’s, grabbed 3 doors for about $25.00 each, and a few packages of hinges and put them together. Success! I loved the look of just the solid wood, I didn’t even paint or stain them.
The day of the show, it was freezing cold and super windy. It was a long haul from our van to our booth. Carrying the panels didn’t go quite as expected, but Mr. Mother Thyme got them in. When he went to hang one of the framed prints the next thing I heard is crash! Yep, it came crashing down. The doors were hollow (which he knew) and the nails didn’t have anything to grasp onto. With the clock ticking, we didn’t have any time for to come up with a backup plan, so I decided not to hang the prints. No biggie. We know now, if we decide to continue to use this idea, he is going to use screws instead.
Another thing I learned from doing a show is not only is your booth/shop design essential, but you want to be able to easily get everything in and out. I realized having a ton of bins for different supplies was too much, especially for a one day show. Finding portable products to quickly and easily move your items in and out are essential for setting up.
I designed my own logo, business cards and banner. Business cards are great to have visible on the table or in the booth. I got the idea of tucking them in some chocolates along with the little sign, thanks to Pinterest, of course.
Some other things you want to have on hand if you are looking for ideas to do this yourself is a locked cash box (Obviously. I ordered the SentrySafe through Amazon), pens, credit card machine if you are accepting credit cards (I am working with Square), tablet or smartphone fully charged plus an extra charger, sign up sheets if you want to create a mailing list, receipt book, inventory book, extra price tags, ribbon or yarn, tape, duck tape, safety pins, push pins, stapler, scissors, cough drops (yes!), bottled waters. I have a large bag just for these little supplies. Not that I needed all of it, but it’s good to have on hand.
On the business end of starting a craft or vendor show business, you will also want to check with your local county and state about collecting sales tax if applicable, along with a Federal Tax ID. You should also get a DBA for your business (which I did) so you are legit.
The best part about the day was our booth was next to Marie, an Independent Representative for Miche, who I enjoyed chatting with all day. She had a wealth of information for me about doing shows and how to find out about shows. If you are new at doing craft shows like I am, find out join local Facebook vendor groups and chat with other vendors to find out about local shows. I had no clue these existed but they do and now I have the rest of the year planned of shows I’ll be at. Exciting!
I hope you get a chance to check out my shop Sugar and Thyme on Etsy. All the prints are currently instant download, meaning you can download it right to your computer and print it at home or your local print shop. I am always adding new designs, so make sure you keep checking back for what’s new. Matted prints are available to have easily shipped to you directly. You can also enjoy a 20% discount on any order! Enter coupon code MOTHERTHYME at checkout. <3