Friday, March 22, 2013

Be Set-Up Ready

After you get your tent ready, it's time to work on your product displays.  Obviously, everyone displays their wares in a different manner because we all sell very different items.  You can't expect what works for someone selling paintings to work for someone else selling afghans.  For that reason, I'm not going to be too specific on displays.  This post is just meant to give you some things to think about and some things that have worked (or not) for me.

Think about your aesthetic.  What sort of customer are you selling to?  For me, my work has a slightly vintage feel to it, so I cover my tables with vintage thrift store table runners and doilies.  It helps people identify fairly quickly whether what I'm selling is for them.  This does mean that not everyone will come into my space, but that's okay.  It's better to have people pass me who won't buy and free up space for my perfect customer.

Be mindful of weather concerns.  If you make lightweight things, try to have a "windy" plan.  Selling earrings and pendant on card stock displays means that I'm stocked with things that take off like little kites in a good gust which means hanging them on shutters only works on a still day. 

Look around online and when you go to events to see what other people are doing.  You won't want to recreate someone's complete set-up, but certain elements might speak to you.  Make mental, or even written notes, of things you might want to try or adapt for your own space.  There is a certain amount of trial and error.  If something doesn't seem to be bringing attention to your items, you can always try something else.

Once you have an idea of what you want to do as your set-up, practice.  Set your tent and displays up in your driveway.  Set it up and take it down a few times.  The more you do it, the easier and faster it will become.  As your friends to look at your displays and see what they think.  Where are their eyes drawn?  Is it to the items you want to market most?  Get some feedback.  It will help determine what works and what doesn't.  The better your display, the more likely you are to have a good show!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Get Your Tent Ready

The first thing you want to set up in your space is your tent.  Your tent will not only provide your shade on hot days, but it clears marks the boundaries of your space.  It's important to be able to clearly see the space you've been provided with.  First Friday Indie Market, like many craft shows, provides a 10' x 10' tent space, so you want your tent to be a 10' x 10' straight legged tent.  You may be thinking "Why does it have to be a straight leg tent?"  There are a number of reasons.

1. Straight legged tents are more stable.  You don't want your tent to have any excuse to tip over.   Tent weights are another big part of that.  Remember tent weights, that will come up again later.

2. Straight legged tents have a true 10' x 10' footprint.  That gives you a better idea of the space available to you.  You want everything to fit within your space.  If you have to walk around the outside of your tent to get from your sitting spot to help a customer or leave your tent to walk around, you need to change your layout.  Remember it's important to be courteous to your crafting neighbors as well.  You don't need to be tripping over each other to get around your set up.  It's an invasion of personal space and reflects an unprofessional attitude. 

3. That true 10' x 10' footprint also provides the most shade for you and your customers.  It also looks more professional and inviting. 

As soon as you have your tent up, you want to weight it down.  Tent weights are a MUST.   The last thing you need is a runaway tent causing chaos.  Many companies sell sandbag attachments for tents, but, if your like me, you really don't want to hand over any more money to them.  There are plenty of ways to make your own tent weights.  A quick Google search will provide loads of ideas.  In my case, I used a quick and dirty method.  My tent weights are simply milk jugs filled with sand and sealed with duct tape.  They may not look pretty, but they work.  Besides, whose going to looking at your tent weights when they're so busy perusing your lovely wares?  Just make sure you have about 20 lbs for each leg.

My sexy tent weights
Just remember that step one is setting up your tent and step two is putting on your tent weights, and you've got a great foundation for an excellent show!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Ready Yourselves!

It’s about that time again. The days are warmer (occasionally), the birds are returning from their winter vacations and this year’s first First Friday Indie Market is almost upon us! It seems like it was New Year’s yesterday and Christmas was last week, doesn’t it? Ready or not, here comes the season!

I don't know about anyone else, but I'd rather be ready than not. That means lots of planning, checklists, and failsafes. All that preparing doesn't mean I don't forget anything. It never fails that as soon as I sit back and look at my set-up, I remember something that never made it into the car. The good days are the days when it's something small, like glass cleaner for my mirror.

Throughout the month, I'll blog ideas to prepare yourself for craft fairs with special consideration to what you'll want and need to have for First Friday. Whether you set up with us for the April market or not until the holiday craft fair season, I hope this will be helpful to you. Let's all be ready and make this the best year of FFIM yet!