Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Got Craft - A Review

(Photos courtesy of and © Lotus Events)

This is another post that is long overdue...On May 4th I participated in Got Craft, a bi-annual craft and fine arts fair hosted here in Vancouver. This was my second time at Got Craft and although this year was a much bigger show (40 artists instead of 25) and had many more visitors (double the amount from last year), I found that sales were very low. In fact, I was quite disappointed with the results and I'm not sure if I'll sign up again, or participate in any more shows period. They have a Christmas show coming up later in the year, but to be honest, I might just stick with my Etsy store.

The only thing that keeps me coming back to these kinds of shows are the networking opportunities - networking with other artists, and with potential custom clients. On occasion I am also lucky to meet a few AIL readers that stop by to say hi and introduce themselves - which I really enjoy. Sometimes I also come across a fellow printer or past student of Jim Rimmer's, and we get to geek out on letterpress-related conversation. There are so few of us out there that it's always fun to talk to someone that shares the letterpress obsession - to be honest, I think my husband just cringes inside when I blab on and on about paper and ink and impression depth and...

I met a few retailers from the Vancouver area that showed interest in wholesale - and so I sent them our catalog, order form, and some background information. We'll see what happens.

I've come to the conclusion that your success at a craft fair really depends on a variety of factors, and will be a function of:
  • how well the show is promoted
  • the type of visitor that attends the show (in affluent areas, visitors seem more inclined to make purchases, rather than just browse - in my experience anyways)
  • where your table is located (you never want to be right near the entrance, people scoot past you for some reason and go to the 3rd or 4th table in)
  • variety of goods and price points
  • display
  • your approachability
  • etc.
At Got Craft, I think there were a lot more browsers than buyers, it's kind of bad timing for purchases (no big gift-giving occasions coming up - like Christmas), the economy is going down the toilet (less disposable income when you are spending $1.40 CDN/litre on gas), and I don't think I had an ideal table location. Or, maybe this market is not appropriate for what I am selling. Who knows.

This past weekend my husband and I also went to the hardware store and bought some hard plastic to go under the press (make oil drips easier to clean up). We reorganized my studio and made things more ergonomic. I haven't printed anything since, but am excited to see how it all works out. I have plates arriving tomorrow and Friday for two custom projects, so it won't be long.

Happy letterpressing!

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