It’s the summer craft show season.
Most of the shows, in the northern part of the US, anyway, are held outdoors. Merchants set up tents and sell at festivals and other outdoor public events. With any luck, the crowds are out and about enjoying themselves, and, we hope, spending their dollars on soap, candles, and bath and body products.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? A day or a weekend spent in fun and games collecting said dollars. Those who have done these shows, however, know the truth. They spend hours in preparation manufacturing adequate quantity. They set up their booths, sell for the long hours that the shows often demand, experience fickle crowds, and then take it all down and return home with what is left, all the while with a smile and perky attitude. This description doesn’t even begin to mention the “good shows gone bad”–rain, wind, mud, extreme heat, even hurricanes and tornadoes, and so on, wreaking havoc on tents, customers, and vendors, alike. Indeed, the life of a professional crafter who sells at outdoor shows is likely to include tales of surviving (or not) extreme conditions and other adventures of selling on the road. Those who think it’s an easy way to make money will be quickly taught otherwise, even at their first show.
Not that it’s all bad. Sometimes crafters hit the jackpot and find their goods selling like the proverbial hotcakes (although I have yet to see hotcakes being sold at all, quickly or otherwise, but I digress). They meet wonderful people, be it other crafters, show staff or customers. They glean valuable feedback about their products, and they might even get the opportunity to participate in some of the activity going on around them. Not the worst way to spend the weekend, indeed.
Do you vend at summer, outdoor shows? Do you find them to be enjoyable and lucrative, or do you not participate, seeing the shows as too much of a gamble, too much work, or tough on product?
If you do like them, please leave your best tip for other readers to not only survive the shows, but to thrive at them.
Until next time, stay happy creating bubbles and wax fun.