Wednesday, October 19, 2016

3 Things NOT to Do At a Craft Show

With the Craft Show season upon us, I thought it might be a good time to have a good laugh and discuss "Craft Show Etiquette."

This year Little Branches isn't participating in the craft show season, but most of my sweet maker friends ARE!

Let's start with pointing out the obvious. Craft shows are a TREMENDOUS amount of work, y'all! Whether the maker is working solo, or has (many) helpers, there is simply a lot to do.

Think about it... one person (or one + helpers) has to :

Buy + Plan for Supplies
Price everything.
Plan the booth setup. Make props if necessary. Allow for adjustments, because the booth is never what you think it's going to be.
Pack up said supplies + booth props.
Set up the booth up. Make sure you have cash on hand. Make sure your Square is working.
Work the show. Answer the sweet questions. Remind yourself to smile and say thank you and be beyond friendly. (Because even if that is you naturally, after the tenth time of having the same conversation, it begins to feel fake - even though it's actually not!)
Clean up after the show.
Inventory. Ship. List.

And this doesn't even include MAKING THE STUFF, y'all!

I cannot express to you in words how much joy it gives me to be a maker. It is a true blessing, and it fills the weary parts of my soul. God created me like that. The shows are honestly my very favorite part! They are where are customers have faces and names and we get to have conversations. Craft shows make the process beautifully personal for the maker and the customer. So if you didn't know this before, although I'm sure you did, now you can appreciate the work even more when your eyes lay hold of the beautiful handmade products at the local craft show!

And oh, gosh, I know that none of y'all would ever say anything like this, for obvious reasons, but let's just go ahead and get it out of the way anyway, just in case. I want to talk about what shouldn't go on at a craft show.

1. Saying, "I could make this."

Even if you can, y'all. In fact, I bet you can! I bet you can make signs and knit sweaters and paint clay pots! I bet you could make completely beautiful things, but again, these makers - whatever they made - put time and effort into their craft so that someone - maybe even YOU - could appreciate it, love it and buy it. They are hoping you might say "oh - this is exactly what _____ would LOVE for Christmas!" So, please don't say I could make this... even under your breath, or to your neighbor, because that sweet maker will hear it.

She knows you could make it, but the fact is that she did make it... and put her own spin on it. These items are more than likely her heart and soul in physical form, so be gentle, friends.

2.  Directly asking the maker "How did you make this?"

This just puts the maker in an awkward position, y'all. Of course they are excited about their product, but the reality is that they probably failed many times before coming up with whatever final product there is. If you have a specific question - for example, what kind of yarn do you use in these sweaters - I know would have loved to answer that. But asking what pattern they used and how they frame up their sign is just tough for someone to answer. It's like you asking Kentucky Fried Chicken what the recipe is for their batter. You just don't do it.

***Note : If you have a question about starting a business, or how they got started making _____, please ask those questions! I know that I loved talking about my heart on our business!!

3. Take pictures - especially when you are trying to act like you aren't taking the pictures.

I know you would never do this - but this is just a reminder. There are too many people copying other people's work these days. Don't even look like you're one of these people.

***Note : If you do want to send it to someone to ask if they'd like it for Christmas, or if they would want to buy it for someone else for Christmas (because we all do that) just ask the maker. The likelihood is that they would never say no to that. And mostly, they'll appreciate the ask! I promise!

Above all, if you attend a craft show of any kind this fall, be overly complimentary to these sweet ladies (and gents) that pour their blood, sweat and tears into these weekends. They love being there, but what makes it over-the-top fun is when their are fun people that love their items, love their craft and love their story. Make conversation - even when you know you aren't going to end up buying something! It will make your day far more interesting than it would have been just going from booth to booth!!!

Here's to the Craft Season, y'all!!!

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