Craft shows have long been the forum for indie makers to put their work out to the world. With sites like Etsy making it easier to start businesses, more people are entering the handmade market. As a result, this influx of creators makes craft shows increasingly competitive to get into. So how do you catch a juror’s eye and make sure your craft show application stands out? Follow these four tips for a winning application.
1. Invest in Photography
The single most important piece of the equation is one that you have complete control over: photos. Show organizers are looking for clear, crisp photos that showcase your products. They are checking to see that your work is professional, and they are also trying to determine if your aesthetic will mesh well with the aesthetic of the show and other vendors. If you have the budget to work with a photographer, some product shots and a few lifestyle photos will go a long way. If a photographer is too expensive for where you are in your business, consider a good quality camera or ask a photography inclined friend to help you out. If you can do nothing else, create a lightbox to get a mini-studio effect.
2. Research the Show
Before you apply, do your research and find out if the show will appeal to your target audience or demographics. If the market is not a fit for your work, it’s a waste of both your time and the organizers’ if you apply. Check their website, look at their Instagram, and go to the market (if it’s held frequently) to get a feel for the scene. Look for opportunities that appeal to you and your ideal customers, you’ll have a more successful show. Don’t forget to read all the application directions and the FAQ pages. Show organizers get frustrated with applications that don’t follow the directions.
3. Work on Your Elevator Pitch
Some applications will ask you about your business. They may inquire about your mission statement, what prompted you to start your business, or even ask what makes your business unique. Spend some time thinking about your 30-second elevator pitch. What information do you want to communicate that tells the story of your business in a fast, memorable way? Try to write a 1-3 sentence statement that describes what you do and what makes you special. This is also good practice because at the craft show, you’ll likely get this question from potential customers.
4. Create a Website or Landing Page
If you’re just starting out and don’t have a website, create one before you apply to craft shows. At bare minimum have a landing page where organizers can see your work and contact you. A Facebook or Instagram page will suffice but don’t skimp on the website. A well-designed website gives your business credibility, authority, and professionalism.
The craft show circuit is crowded and competitive. Take the time to make your craft show application stand out by following these tips. To get the run down on all the craft shows in the Seattle area, sign up for the Seattle Pop-Up Markets email.
WRITTEN BY JT Siems