As I sit here preparing for my first craft show of the year, I am thinking about just how much work goes into preparing for a craft show. What’s funny is I know there are a lot of people out there who do a lot more preparation than I do.
Usually two nights before the show I double check my desk to make sure I do not have any recently created pieces still laying there. If there are pieces on the desk, they get put away into their respective places to make sure they end up at the show. Then I double check my packaging supplies to make sure everything is together. I really should do this a few weeks in advance to make sure I have enough, but I never think of that. Some day that will catch up to me and I’ll be making a craft store run just before a show.
The night before the show I take all of my items, tables, chairs, canopy, displays, etc. down to my living room and pile them near the front door. From here I usually take an inventory to make sure I have everything I will need. However, I have forgotten things on more than one occasion. Usually, it’s not something I can go without either. Perhaps I should consider making a checklist for shows to ensure I really do have everything. It would probably save headaches and fuel (from running multiple trips home).
Craft show days are usually early mornings. Depending on the show and its location, we’re talking earlier than most people get going during the week for work. It’s really amazing that crafters are awake, friendly, and functioning at shows sometimes because they’ve been up before dawn, loaded their gear, unloaded their gear, set up their booth and, depending on the time of year, are sitting there freezing cold or frying hot. I have trouble being cranky on a normal day when I get up too early. So remember, if the crafter at the booth in which you are standing doesn’t seem quite awake, they probably aren’t.
Craft shows are not often paying the bills. These long days and the wear and tear on the body are not always at the expense of big payouts. Even if customers might think things are overpriced, please keep in mind that this is often what it costs to be in business these days. It’s a hard market to be in. We do this for the love of it and possibly a little extra change. If nothing else, it’s enough to keep the business/hobby going.
Why do I write all of this? Not to make people feel bad for us and come out to support us, but because I really find the entire concept of craft shows to be quite ironic. People do it for the love of their craft and for the hope of making a little extra money. At least, that’s why I do it. I hope to hit it big eventually, but for now, it’s a labor of love. Before I got into this business, I would look at crafters and I couldn’t help but think “Wouldn’t it be easier to get a real job?” Now that I’m doing this, I’ve learned most of them have a “real job” and they balance their craft on top of it. It’s all done for the love of the craft.
Speaking of, perhaps it’s time to make sure I have everything I need for this weekend’s show. It’s supposed to be beautiful weather so I’m hoping we have a great turnout. If nothing else, I get to spend the day with my sister sitting out in beautiful weather surrounded by other great crafters and we only have to travel across town to do it!
This weekend’s show is as follows:
Manheim’s Artist’s Alley
Location: Manheim Railroad Station, 210 S. Charlotte St., Manheim, PA 17545
Hope to see you there!