Monday, December 27, 2010

So What Craft Shows are You Applying to for 2011?

It might depend on whether you are creating as a hobby or trying to earn a living with your craft. As a hobbyist you may not have a state resale number or a federal business ID number (EIN). If so, you may not be able to sell at the bigger shows that actually ask for that information on the applications. Although very few of the Mass. show applications ask for my state tax id, every show I've applied to in Conn. asks for it on the application. And while I've never had anyone come to my booth and ask to see my Mass. resale number, the possibility exists. And every show I've applied to in Conn. asks for your Conn. tax ID number on the application.

Registering as a business and getting a tax resale number also allows you to buy supplies without paying sales tax and often lets you to buy at wholesale prices. On the other hand, you will have to charge tax on your products and send sales tax payments to the state. You'll have to keep records of income and expenses and file income tax. In my town I also pay property tax on my inventory and equipment.

So whatever your situation, you have now compiled a small list of possible craft shows for 2011. Some you attended and feel they would be a good fit and some your friends have suggested to you as possibly a good fit. But you still need to find a few others to fill in the time in between?

Do you apply to the local church bazaar because the table fee is only $25?
Do you shoot for the the $300 arts and crafts show because it's big and should bring a large turnout increasing your chances for sales?
Do you do the high school show because it's indoors and you won't need your tent?

As this is a "learn as you go" business, any of the above could work. And any of the above could be a total waste of money. The additional pages of this blog (on the left) where I have reviewed several local 2010 shows may help you out.

Whatever you decide...

start early looking for shows and information about them even if applications aren't yet available.
--Don't do first time shows. They don't always have their act together yet, may not have advertised enough, and don't yet have a customer following to rely on for traffic.
--Don't do any shows completely blind. Think about your product and if the show is the type or in a location that will attract potential customers. Contact the show promoters and ask about traffic at previous shows. Find out how big a space you'll have to display. Ask for names of vendors who have done the show before and contact them. It's a shame to waste even $25.

Crafts Shows are divided into two categories, juried and non-juried. The non-juried shows are usually easier to get into. Organizers want to fill the spaces and aren't selective about who shows up. They're usually less expensive and loose about the application deadline. Some do try to limit each category so if you sell jewelry, apply early.

Juried craft shows are more selective and usually require photos and detailed descriptions of the crafts that you sell. Entry fees can range from $50 to thousands of dollars and often ask for an additional jury fee of $10-$30. Many have craft show websites where you can download their applications. Some require photos of your craft display in the form of slides or as a CD. They are strict about getting applications by a certain due date.

Finding "your " craft shows is a process and takes time. And even once you've found some great shows, there's always the possibility that you won't get accepted the next year. So always have a Plan B--other shows you can apply to.

1 comment:

  1. You always have such good information!! Thank you!