Some of you have probably noticed that I've stepped up my craft show game this year and I figured I'd share a bit of my love/hate relationship with this important venue for the handcrafted artisan.
Craft shows are kind of the bread and butter for any modern day craft-person. It's the easiest way to get out there and get selling however in my opinion it has it's own pros and cons. Personally craft shows have never been my favourite means of selling. I'm fairly shy and have never seen myself as particularly talented at selling myself or my work. Therefore it shouldn't be that surprising to hear that the thought of standing in a room with a bunch of other amazing artisans trying to convince you to purchase something I created, generally made me cringe.
Craft shows take a lot of time to prepare: creating a display, making up enough inventory, packing, transporting, unpacking, hours on your feet talking to customers followed again by packing, transporting and unpacking. I am truly lucky to have friends and family members who are willing to help me because I don't know how I would be able to manage at a lot of these shows on my own.
Selling in a store or online might provide sales without as much of the hassle but don't offer the same interaction with my audience that craft shows can. Whether a person makes a purchase or not every minute spent looking at what I have created instead of walking past, and every compliment is the biggest boost I could ask for. And that greatest compliment, when someone makes a purchase, is that much better because I get to know why they like the piece and who will be wearing it. That feeling makes all that work feel worth it.
Another major pro from craft shows is the connections you can make. This year I have met so many wonderful artists who were happy to spend lulls in traffic chatting and sharing tips and tricks for the next show. I love seeing all the beautiful things others have created and drawing inspiration for new things I can try in my own work. I also look forward to seeing those friendly faces again when I see them at another show.
So although I know there will still be bad shows along with the good ones and I will be focusing more on getting into stores (I am trying to build a business after all). I won't be hanging up my show hat any time soon. I hope you'll come out and visit me at the next one!
Valerie Lynn Yamashita
A native of Southern Ontario, Valerie has spent most of her life in pursuit of various forms of artistry including: sewing, knitting, paper craft and photography however it is her passion for jewellery which has ruled the day. This passion has lead to the creation of Valerie Lynn Designs, a business aimed to share Valerie's love of wearable art to the world.