Pop quiz, hotshot…

“There’s a bomb on a bus. Once the bus goes 50 miles an hour, the bomb is armed. If it drops below 50, it blows up. What do you do? What do you do?”

the quote will make more sense in a few minutes…

I participated in a particularly irritating craft show today.  once all was said and done i made a nice profit, and if that was all i was looking for, i’d have to walk away happy.  BUT.  *sigh*  i don’t know what to say about all the non-craft vendors at a show that was advertised in numerous locations as a CRAFT show.  there was one central part of the show in the school gymnasium, then vendors trailed out into the lobby and hallway, and down the hall into the elementary library.  and i was in the library with 8 other vendors in a 6×4 space. i was there with a national candle home party rep, a national chocolate home party rep, an international botanical based skin  care consultant, handbags from NYC, handpainted jewelry from a national home party company (and handpainted by who?), a booth for children’s birthday parties – which looked very cute, but i’m not sure classifies as a CRAFT, a rep from a  local chiropractor doing nerve evaluations and lunchbags that were probaby almost definately not made by the lady selling them.  and me.  queenvanna.  doesn’t my table look nice?  i made all that stuff.

 

can you see any other problem with this scenario?  besides the non-craft craft show vendors?

ah, the library location.  no, it was not ideal.  we were down a hall, the door didn’t open all the way, so you really had to LOOK in to see us.  they were making announcements in the gym for the patrons to be sure to check us out in the library, but meh.  after seeing 40 or so vendors in the gym, would you take a stroll to the library?  ooh, look, there’s a bake sale along the way… and there’s the door.  oops, were we supposed to check the library? 

and if they did, they’d take 3 steps in, be asked if they were familiar with those national products with no lead in their wicks, or not tested on animals, or they can donate $20 to the church and get a free back eval at the dr’s office… and *poof* they were gone.  and there i was, standing there smiling my fool-head off just trying not to scream.   like i said, i made a nice profit, about 5x the table fee, but i wonder how much better i would’ve done if i was in the gym… or in a library with other *handmade* crafts.

i am not against the home-based business people, i’m really not.  i have a kitchen full of stonewear and serving pieces from a business like this.  i’ve got candles from the business that was represented next to me.  for heaven’s sake, the scrapbooking home-party is where i got my start in all this.

so what’s the answer, crafty people?  i know i’m not interested in this particular show again, but would something like this make you scrutinize your prospects more?  ask questions about just who they’re letting in??  i’m not pleased that my contract said i’d be in the gym and i was relegated to the 2nd class citizen area, or that the peaved off vendors (2 of which sold nothing at all in 5 hours) started packing up and beat it out of there an hour early.  i did too, because how ridiculous would it be for just ME to be in that freakin library?????  so tell me hotshot, what do you do? what. do. you. do?

 

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14 Comments on “Pop quiz, hotshot…”

  1. MandyJo Says:

    You drop back and punt.
    And possibly kick someone’s a double s later in the day.

    What a crock of sh*t! Clearly, you have many reasons to be irritated, and even more reasons to never participate in that circus again.

  2. MandyJo Says:

    Oh, and yeah – your table looks great. But that’s a given. It always does.

  3. Lilli Says:

    I definitely do not think that home based businesses should have been allowed in. Like you, I’m not against them but they are by no means crafts.

    I also do not think that you should have had to pay the same price for a second rate location as for the premier location, and you should have been warned about it.

    If I were you I submit a written complaint so that they can be more aware of their decisions in the future. I would also let them know that as of now you have no plans to be a future vendor because of your bad experience, but you may reconsider in the future if they get their act together.

    But that’s just me. =)

  4. Christy Says:

    I would get on the horn with whoever I need to get on the horn with! And discuss my issue.

  5. Katie Says:

    I had half of your issues last year – we were stuck in between vendors in what was advertised as a CRAFT Fair.

    We did voice our concern and apparently we weren’t the only ones – this year at the same show, the vendors will be out in the hall while all of the crafters/artists will be in the gym.

    So definitely say something to the organizers. Hopefully they’ll listen!


  6. I would have been frustrated and mad also. I also second what Lilli said about writing them a professional letter stating your intention not to return unless they better manage premier vs secondary costs and who qualifies as a crafter.

    I am in a situation myself where I am in an ‘ongoing craft fair’ at a storefront. The problem is, half the sellers there aren’t crafters. They are Pampered Chef, Tupperware, Avon and other non-handmade stores. I also have no issue with those businesses outside of that venue (I plan to sell Pampered Chef myself) but within the stated intent of the venue, it’s far out of place and made me feel I had been falsely sold a bill of goods. I complained to the owner and currently have a free table while she re-thinks her approach. If it hasn’t changed by the time Christmas is over, I will be removing my items.

    In the end, you have a right to expect that the expectation set forth to you by the venue is going to be upheld. If not, you certainly deserve to be upset and respond.

  7. becca.elpy Says:

    I think it’s great that you made 5x the booth fee though. That gives me hope. The shows I’ve done, I’ve been lucky to break even to the table fee.

    I have done a show like that. They put on their app that every item MUST be handmade by the vendor. Day of the show I was put across the aisle from a man selling Ty Beanie Babies for a $1. He did a bang-up job. I went back this year as a visitor and there were more resellers. People selling handbags that looked like designer rip-offs, calendars like the ones you can get in a bookstores, jewelry I know they didn’t make…not for the prices they were selling it for. I haven’t decided if I want to do that show again, even though it’s right here in town.

    So I guess this is more a commiseration post than advice. I would definitely ask the show organizer of future shows if they’re allowing resellers/home party people from national brands, perhaps statistics of past shows- traffic, location, number of vendors, list of previous vendors(if they’re available). If they allowed resellers/house parties in the past they will probably do it again. It seems crafters and artists have to be as selective about which shows to apply to as the organizers are/should be about who they let in. It’s extremely disheartening to do a show that’s not as advertised.

    As for this particular show, perhaps you should talk to/email the organizer. It’s possible that they just need feedback. It seems like they should put all the crafters in one room and the bake sale in another. Or maybe limit the number of vendors to however many can fit in the gym. Shoppers don’t want to hunt for vendors. That was an odd idea. Of course, it’s easy to suggest talking to the organizer as an outsider to the situation. hehe

  8. Sheila Says:

    Yes I TOTALLY AGREE vanessa. I went today just for the fact that you put a connection to it on facebook and I had 2 little girls and we wanted to see crafts for christmas gifts. I would ask for your table fee back. I think they re-negged on the contract if it said you would have been in the gym. Yes I only went to the library because I didn’t see you in the gym. but if i didn’t know that i probably wouldn’t have gone into the library. Everything you said was absolutely true! i didn’t either bother walking to any of the other booths in your room (except the one for the kid parties because i was with 2 girls)
    my mom agrees also.


  9. Dude, that’s almost exactly how my first craft show went. It was in a school, and I had pictured everyone being in the gym or cafeteria. Instead, it was 3-4 people per classroom, which made it hard for people to just browse around freely. And in my [teeny little room] there was someone selling some national organic body care line. She was very loud- as soon as someone came in, she yelled across the room, and started her sales pitch before people hardly got in the door. I had quite a few people who seemed very interested and said they would be back, but even if they could navigate their way through the labyrinth of classrooms, I doubt they would want to be hollered at again by “Would you like to sample some all-natural, completely organic lotion?!” lady.

    Whoops, that turned into a rant. But yeah, I can definitely commiserate. If it is an annual thing, I would definitely write a letter and voice your concerns. (I wish I would have done the same, but it woudl have been a moot effort anyways, since that was the last year they had a craft show 😛 )


  10. BTW, your table looked gorgeous!!!


  11. I think most of us can say that we’ve been there and done that. I’m still sitting on an email requesting feedback for the last show that I did. It’s supposed to be a monthly open air market type of thing that goes May-October. I was personally invited to join them, but I honestly doubt I’ll be back next summer.

    The show was being run by a group of about 4 or 5 women. They gave themselves the prime locations, allocating everyone else down at the other end of the park.

    The didn’t advertise at all except their blog, which wasn’t nearly enough. Their communication with their sellers was non-existant. They changed the hours of the October show but didn’t tell anyone. So I was sitting there in practically freezing weather for two hours waiting for someone to show up. The assumed everyone could be set up in 30 minutes, so I was still setting up nearly an hour after the show had started.

    When they invited me, they told me it would be entirely hand crafted. By the end of the season, it was maybe half and half. When I asked them about it, they said they never intended it to be 100% handmade. They wanted to include things like vintage, or home decor. Yet at that last show I was sitting next to two people who honestly looked like they were homeless, and were trying to recruit people as sales reps for Tahitian Noni. Yeah… that’s what I want!

    When I asked them about that, they said normally they wouldn’t have let them in, but the original person for the booth spot didn’t show and they thought it’d be better to have them there than have the spot empty. The problem, I was the only booth PAST them. Most people took one look at the two of them and never even came close to my booth.

    Ultimately, I was very disappointed. The location and surrounding neighborhood has TONS of potential (and a fair amount of disposable income), but the lack of organization and foresight from the promoters will ruin it before it ever has a chance to take off.

    I may still email them back and be VERY frank about my problems with them. If they don’t try to make excuses for their mistakes, I might give them another chance next summer, but I doubt it. I’m hoping to get into a different weekly farmer’s market instead.

    But like everyone else said, talk to them. It might make a difference.


  12. I know exactly how you feel, this is the same thing I have been saying, to anyone who will listen to me.

    Cookie Lee is not some little old lady sitting home making her jewelry by hand, but every craft show I have been to, that Jewelry booth is there.IT IS NOT HANDCRAFTED!

    There is also a brick and mortor store down the street from my home, they just bought in international well know store, they are a big business, but every CRAFT show in our area there they are with a big fancy booth.

    I agree it is wrong, wrong, wrong,they should not be allowed to be in Craft shows.

    Sorry for the rant, I could go on all day, but I wont.

  13. Mary(Enchanted Moon Designs) Says:

    I totally agree with you. I just finished a bazaar this last saturday. Supposedly a “craft” bazaar and like you am totally disgusted with the non-crafters that haunt every craft show. Why cant there be a VENDOR AREA, where these types of non handcrafters are located. I think that they should be happy to all be in the same place and not feel out of place together. This last show that I did had among it, a womens rights booth (no craft there), Cookie Lee (who certainly does not craft her items by hand, unlike I do), some kind of body butter dealer, Discovery Toys, Avon, Pampered Chef, etc, etc. I am getting tired of competing with these guys for business. I take pride in my work (as Im sure most handcrafters do) and do not want to be put among those just trying to sell others wares!

  14. Toni Says:

    Vanessa, I used to make and sell beaded jewelry. I even had an interactive website that my husband built, with pics, prices, etc for each item, tied to a database, which deducted from inventory (and automatically taken off the site) when the item was bought. I had done a few craft shows, but I found that A. to make any money, I had to do the 3-day ones, which I didn’t have the energy for, and B. not every craft show is worth it.

    I would suggest looking for shows that are juried – that is, you have to submit pics of your products and be approved. Usually these won’t include businesses like the home party ones.

    As for my jewelry, it became an expensive hobby (and a tax write off for 3 years) so now I just make them for gifts.


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