Saturday, November 2, 2013

Craft Show Etiquette

Today, I spent half my day at a craft show an hour from home, promoting my small crochet business. My mom left her home early, very early to watch my children for me. My husband comes with me to help set up and provide bathroom backup. After a couple hours, I kept hearing the same phrase, "I could make that." There is nothing worse for a crafter to hear, after they have spent hours making sure every stitch or line is perfect, choosing the right materials, and arranging it all on a small table to be pleasant to the eye. So, since I don't have much time before this day passes, here are some rules for craft shows.

1. Don't say "I could make that" or my favorite, turn to your friend and ask if they can make that. If you could make it, you would have already. These are my ideas, my color choices, and my time. You wouldn't walk into a computer store, look at a laptop and immediately declare that you could make it, even if you could. I depend on sales to put my kids in good clothes, or in classes outside of the home to supplement their schooling. It isn't for fun, I am working, so please respect me enough to not say that in my presence. If you want to say it at home or in your car, not where I can hear you.

2. Don't ask for my pattern. I mean really? How would you feel if you ran a restaurant and served something everyone loved and I asked you for the recipe. If I am selling patterns, that is the only time it would be acceptable.

3. Don't try to bargain me down. We aren't at a flea market, I don't get my materials for free or extremely cheap. They cost money. Not to mention that my time is also calculated into the price. This isn't something made by machine, with little human intervention. It is made by my hands, it's Made in the USA, not by some poor soul in a sweatshop overseas. I hope that last part made you uncomfortable so you start questioning what you are buying. $30 dollars for a scarf, you bet. It takes me at least four hours to make one of them, and if I were to pay myself minimum wage, that is at least $28 in labor. So I'm not even making minimum wage over here.

The next few are for people who run craft shows. Now, I know not every person or organization that runs craft shows are guilty of the next two rules but I have seen it happen more than once.

4. Vendors are not crafters. They are people working for the pyramid schemes that are the cosmetic companies, cooking utensil companies and whatever other companies you can host at home parties for. If you have a craft show, and it is more than 10 percent vendor, you aren't having a craft show, you are having a giant home shopping party. Craft implies that skill is involved, vendors are hawking what is made overseas.

5. Promote  your show! Put up big signs on the road letting everyone know that people are selling really cool stuff at your venue! The signs I saw on the road today were pitiful. I happened to be at a church and know that the show is a fundraising event. However, if you don't bring people in and keep the crafters busy, they aren't going to come back. And there go your fundraising opportunities.

All I am trying to convey is that with all the time I put into my craft, please respect me for it. I am not making cheap junk to sell for $2 a pop. I care about what I sell to you, and I would like you to respect that.

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