Handmade Cavalcade Recap

This past weekend I sold at my first handmade show! In case you missed my many updates, it was the bi-annual Handmade Cavalcade (holiday edition) put on by the New York Etsy Street Team. I think I made a good choice making this my first show since all the vendors were extremely supportive and friendly.

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The finished mural!

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The days leading up to the event were pretty exhausting, despite my best efforts I still had ridiculous amounts to do and stayed up into the wee hours of the morning the last few nights before Saturday.

Saturday morning I arrived way too early, greatly overestimating traffic. No surprises setting up, I even had time to run grab a pastry for breakfast.

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Here’s how my display ended up. I never actually got around to putting the whole thing up in a practice run at home, but everything functioned as I hoped.

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See the cash only sign on the right? That was my major mistake of the day. Luckily for me, right after I had finished setting up, one of the other vendors came over and recommended that I ditch the sign and grab a Square reader to accept credit cards. I had a smart phone and someone had spare readers, so I was able to download the app and set up an account on the spot. Good thing, almost a third of my sales were credit card, several from people who had no cash on them.

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The booth! The stand on the left was a major headache to set up (I made it stand up with shelf brackets nailed/screwed into the bottom on each side) but I think the height was worth it.

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I was at the end of the lane between handmade light switch/electrical covers by Lu and gorgeous handwoven scarves and blankets by Jean of Fiber Dance Weaving.

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The decorations were minimal but I think the crystals turned out well –I watched them stand at the tippy top of a very tall ladder to put them up!

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I also added some new items exclusively for the show. There were some new card designs, plus day planners (above) and snowflake gift tags (below).

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I’ll be adding them to the shop soon once I have time to take nice pictures.

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I couldn’t walk out without a bit of shopping –I picked up these lovely coasters by Wishbone Letterpress.

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I also did some card swapping with the incredibly talented Ursula at Pepper Press.

Overall it was a really great experience, and I learned a ridiculous amount. I don’t have time to prepare for another fair this holiday season, but I’m looking forward to see what comes next!

Getting Ready for the Cavalcade

I’m planning on posting some more complete information on what I’ve done to prepare for the upcoming Holiday Handmade Cavalcade. Unfortunately I’ve been so slammed trying to get everything done while working and taking care of the rest of my life, that I’m not able to sit down and properly photograph and record what I’ve been working on. Until then, here’s where I’m at:

I acquired a table over the weekend, an old fold-up one that I got from some veterans of the street fairs. Yes it’s covered with a bed sheet. That giant frame on the left is something I’m working on turning into a display, we’ll see how that works out…It’s far from finished but it’s on it’s way!

 

Craft Show Card Display

I have my first craft show coming up and I’m pretty excited and nervous. I’m trying to counteract the nervousness by being as prepared as possible.

One huge difference between selling live and selling online is that you need to totally rethink the way you display things. For my Etsy shop I do my best to take nice photographs, but since my items are all 2D I just show them flat on a plain background. For my table I needed to figure out a way to display my items vertically so that shoppers walking by can actually see what I’m selling.

I had two major restrictions on my display, it needed to fold flat for ease of transportation/storage and be relatively cheap. Since I’m new to the whole craft show scene I’m not quite ready to commit to a large investment until I have a better idea of what works and how often I’ll be doing these shows.

I did a lot of searching on flickr’s Show Me Your Booths group and found a lot of really nice displays. Many displays use a spinning rack, like you see in stores, or tiered wood racks. Unfortunately both of these solutions violate my criteria of being cheap and relatively flat. Another common theme I saw was the use of clothespins and string to display flat items. I really loved this display by Your Secret Admiral, where she uses a wood frame to hang strings and then pins her cards with mini clothespins.

With this idea I headed to Michaels to try to find some way to create a base and stand for my clothespin card display. After a failed attempt with buckets of stones and sticks, I found two wire folding-easel wreath stands. Only $2.50 each! I bought a dowel and after a bit of black paint, I ended up with this:

The dowel sits where the wreath would hang, and I have it attached with twisty ties. Then I swung by goodwill and bought an old black curtain. I cut it up and sewed covers for my two stands:

I took the top part of the curtain that I had left intact and hung it on the dowel through the existing pocket to create a solid background for my cards. On the stand covers I left strategically placed gaps in my seams so that I could sneak string through the seam and tie it to the wire frames. Unfortunately, at this point I discovered that the tension of the string would pull the bases together. After a LOT of experimenting (which I did not document) I finally settled on adding another pole across the bottom, which I twisty tied to my stands to hold everything in place. The hanging curtain covers the pole across the bottom. My finished product looks like this now:

Apologies for the terrible photos, at this point I had been fiddling with the thing for awhile and I didn’t want to re-set up the whole display with better lighting/positioning. I’m debating sawing off the ends so the top looks less awkward, or expanding the bottom to make the display wider.

Once I figure out how I will acquire a table I will stage my entire table setup to see how the whole thing works together. Otherwise my backup plan is lots of baskets!