Curious about what it takes to get into indie craft shows? In our featured event series, we ask the organizers for the inside scoop on their event. Today we are checking in with organizer Megan Green about Craftin' Outlaws, held in the spring and winter of each year in Columbus, Ohio. Here's what she had to say.
1: How many attendees do you expect at each of your events?
Megan Green: "For our spring show I expect 2,500 - 3,000. We expect to double those numbers at the holiday show. We are working with a PR person to really push our show into new outlets this year."
2. What is the cost of your shows? What does that include?
MG: "There is a $15 application fee and a booth fee of $125, both being non-refundable. Accepted exhibitors receive a 10x10 booth a 6ft table and 2 chairs. Wifi and electricity is provided."
3. What is the number of apps you expect to receive and how many vendors do you accept? Would you say your event is competitive?
MG: "I would most certainly say our show is competitive. We always have more applicants than exhibitor spaces. For our spring show we have 88 spots and will have 100 for the holiday show. We tend to have 150-200 applications per show."
4. How are applicants selected? What is your criteria?
MG: "We do jury every applicant. The Outlaw jury looks for diversity in product and in brand. It seems that every year we have a new dominant application category. Meaning we used to receive a large pool of jewelry makers apply. The next year it was t-shirt designers. The current trend right now is paper and letterpress designers.
"Like most show we are looking for the best of the best among the applications. We review websites instead of submitted photographs. I find that websites offer a better view of a companies overall product line. We look at 3-5 listing on a given site. We then break it down to listing descriptions, price and quality."
5. What can a vendor who is applying do to "wow" the jury?
MG: "A unique take on existing genres is the best way to "WOW." Like I stated before when you are reviewing several jewelry makers against one another you need to be doing something that we haven't seen before or doing it in a way that creates a brand and a story to potential customers."
6. What's your biggest applicant or vendor pet peeve?
MG: "Applicants sending over photographs when you've been directed not to. Every show has a different format for photos so doing your homework as to what the show requires is extremely important.
"Vendor pet peeves is being a grumpy vendor during your set up and tear down. It's a busy time for organizers and there are a great deal of people trying to set up. When you complain about not getting a dolly for load in or complain about waiting for an elevator doesn't help anyone. We all want the same thing to get set up or torn down as quickly as possible.There is a time and place for constructive criticism to the organizer(s).
"Organizers are like moms, we have eyes in the back of our head. We are multitasking while setting out fires and we see and hear everything. But ultimately we want you to have a pleasant experience. We want you to sell out of goods and we spend months trying to make that possible. When you have a bad experience we want to help make it better. Even if it means we take those bad experiences and make them better for the next show."
7. Anything else you'd like to tell interested vendors about your events?
MG: "That Columbus is a great city! We have amazing things to explore for out of town vendors while visiting our city. We have a hardcore group of local talent which created a huge support base for handmade goods. I have high hopes for our current venue as well. Being held at the Greater Columbus Convention is offering more room for shoppers to shop and vendors to spread out."
Photos throughout by Jessica Miller Photography.