Prepping for a Craft Fair

Preparations for my first craft fair are revealing definitive signs of success. I’m the first one to admit that I’ve taken my time getting to this eventual point of participating in one of these events; it’s literally been years in the making. Things had to be planned. Lists had to be drawn up, and, being a list maker, I judged the success of planning by the number of items that move from ‘to do’ to ‘done’. Currently the ‘done’ list has become satisfyingly long, while the ‘to do’ list no longer produces even the slightest hint of anxiety. Minor tasks, such as purchasing sand for the tent weight bags, and harvesting newsprint from long neglected newsprint tablets, are two of only four tasks that remain un-checked.

Lists of pottery items topped the list, with goals for various sized bowls – some nested, for both human and animal use; mugs, pitchers and jugs of various sizes; covered pots, jars with lids, teapots, decorative items, and plates of various sizes and styles rounded out the list. I planned glaze ‘stories’ for groupings of ware, which took considerable research time through trial and error. I eventually chose three clay bodies, white, speckled brown, and dark brown – each with their own particular glaze story. My work, when seen as a collection, reveals a subtle nod to vaguely-cultural artifacts, so the clay body and glaze story were planned with care.

Setting the stage for display created more need for research and development. I built portable shelves, which I’ve blogged about earlier (see Tiny Increments). The display space was coming together after a practice tent set up on the back patio, and the groupings of tables and baker’s racks had found their respective locations.  To get a sense of how much square footage all of these large items required – the tent, two tables, portable shelves, two baker’s racks, and stacks of pottery bins, I gathered all of these items in one place. Then, with a comparative measuring of the interior of my Subaru with that grouping of large items, I had a huge wave of relief when I realized that my mode of transportation was a go.

Technology for point of sale was the next step in the process, since I’d be working with Square to manage the sale operations. I decided that my old cracked-screened I-phone 6 just wouldn’t do – it was time for an upgrade, and added a power backup source for my phone as well. In addition to the Square card reader, I snagged a Square Contactless chip reader, along with a stylus, and a business PayPal account to further support the point of sale. To keep my tech  gear handy, I decided on a  three-pocket denim apron.

Branding and Marketing were done all along this process. My daughter, who happens to be a graphic designer, did her thing and created the branding design for my business cards, hang tags, and large vinyl sign. A couple years ago, I had designed and ordered a pewter stamp, which I stamp on the bottom of all of my wheel thrown and hand-built ware. I enlarged this stamp design in Illustrator software and ordered a custom rubber stamp from Rubber Stamp Champ to personalize the handled brown paper bags I had ordered from U-Line for pottery sales.

The last few items that still need to be addressed are creating the price list, purchasing the sand for the tent weights, and prepping the hang tags with twine. I had purchased some 5 x 7 inch acrylic table-top sign stands to display the price lists. In order to save time instead of pricing every item with stickers, only certain one-off items will have stickers on them. The sand purchase and filling the weight bags is a quick task and the hole punching and tying twine to each hang tag will be done during some quiet evening on the back porch.

The list: craft tent, tent weights, 2 tables, 2 baker’s racks, portable shelves, camp chair, square, power back-up, apron, table cloths, wood crates, 20 crates of pottery, business cards and holder, hang tags, large vinyl sign, table top price signs, paper bags, newsprint, pencils, paper, scissors, tape, twine, cooler, sunscreen, hat, and cash for change