Applying to be part of a market or event can be a daunting thing. No one likes receiving a rejection email. After last years Handmade Holiday Market, we got a lot of questions from makers who didn't make the cut. The jurying process is difficult; organizers want to create a market that showcases a variety of high quality goods the reason you 'didn't get in' can often be a tricky thing to nail down. Organizers have a stressful job; they want to create a diverse, beautiful, curated event and the hard truth is, not everyone gets in.
First off, we want to thank you for being a maker. At times it's a trying thing to be. You are part artist, photographer, manufacture, sales person, marketer and so on. It can be tricky to wear so many hats.
And so we have put together so ideas and feedback to help you have the best chances of 'getting in'; for whatever event you are looking at.
Things to Consider when applying to an event:
Is my product a good fit?
Is this the right venue or event for my products? Think about how it will be received by the clientele at the particular event. It took me a while to really nail down who my ideal client was, and now I only apply to events where I know those clients will be.
Compete the Application Correctly
I actually hate that I wrote down that sub-title, but I have too. Make sure that you send everything that the organizers ask for. If they ask for three photos, send three photos, not five. Make sure to re-read the application form before you send it to ensure you don't have any spelling errors - always remember that every step of the way you are representing your brand.
This is your chance to really wow the jury with your products. They will not be able to hold your product in their hands, so your high quality photos need to highlight how great your stuff is. If you are unsure about what your photos should look like, have a peek around the event page for ideas, you can often see work from previous vendors. Most events use the best photos for advertising the event so having high quality shots is in your best interest. (Below find some examples of some of our favourite shots from applications to last year's holiday show).
Items are Appropriately Priced
The price of your item needs to reflect its value, if you price your items too low you might not actually be making any money, and folks, well that is the point of selling your work. Plus, you can’t have two people selling handmade mugs one for $5 and one for $25. Use a formula and research what others in your area sell their work for.
Have an Awesome Display
Does your display really stand out? Do you have a great sign? If you are simply laying your items on a table you might want to rethink the design of your table/booth. Remember that every aspect of your work - your sign, set-up, product packaging, price tags, etc. are all part of your brand.
Working Website/Social Media
Organizers like to know that you will also help advertise the event. Having at least one up-to-date social media account or website is great. If you haven't updated your website in a while, after you finish reading this get over there and get on it.
Read Through all of the Details
Make sure you read through all of the event and application details to ensure that you aren't emailing the organizers to ask questions that they have already supplied the answers for.
I Got in Before, I'll Get in Again
If you previously got accepted to an event, don't get lazy and think that you'll automatically get accepted back. Be sure to show them what's new and exciting with your work, a new line or new materials you are working with.
Gosh, this is so darn important. Did you get upset about not getting in at an event and so you decided to complain about it on social media? Or maybe you took part in an event and were just grumpy and generally unhappy the whole time. Serious folks, people notice this kind of stuff, and then you don't get accepted back a second time. Most of the organizers of small events and craft shows don't get paid, or get paid a really small amount. They are just nice people, just regular human beings out there working to support their maker community.
And now I'm off to make things.