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Thread: Set-up for crafts shows

  1. #1
    Member newbie1001's Avatar
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    Hi there,

    I started quilting and sewing items for sale at crafts shows this year and are now right before my first big event, which I decided to do on short notice because the 3 small events I've done so far weren't really worth it. It is an outdoors event and I'll be provided the space only, no tent or anything. Tables won't be a problem, I can get those, but what would you recommend as tent or canopy? The space will be 8 x 10 big. I seem to remember people here on the forum talking about selling at crafts shows, so maybe someone can give me some advice on what worked well for them. I'd appreciate any help!

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    quiltilicious's Avatar
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    8x10 is kind of small for an outdoor show, especially since the "standard" popup tents you can get at WalMart, Costco or other places are 10x10.

  3. #3
    Member newbie1001's Avatar
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    I just checked the info from the organizers, I was wrong about the size, the space is 12 wide and 10 deep. So you think one of these pop-up tents will do the job?

  4. #4
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by newbie1001
    I just checked the info from the organizers, I was wrong about the size, the space is 12 wide and 10 deep. So you think one of these pop-up tents will do the job?

    I would think so. Also don't forget a folding chair and a cooler with water. Use a fanny pack or something for taking money and don't forget to bring a bunch of change and singles for making change. For displaying your quilts you may wish to make an upright display of some sort. My DH made a very nice one for me when I was doing craft shows. We used garden lattice attached to 2 x 4 lumber. He hinged it in the middle so it was managable and easily transportable. Then he fashioned 2 stand units for the 2 x 4 to slide into using L brackets. I could then hang quilts and small painted items using S hooks which I could place anywhere on the lattice. The thing also doubled as a nice back wall to my booth. good luck at your craft show!

  5. #5
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I see many set up canopies...but the cheaper ones do not do as well in windy conditions. You may need to bring something to help weigh down the posts if they are in parking lots where stakes can't be used.

    One member here who is big into these events has bought a more commercial type canopy.

    I have seen some use the screen tents, putting down a barrier between the tents floor and the ground as protection. They seem to work really well, providing a little more shade too :D:D:D

  6. #6
    np3
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    I always use a canopy but the weather might be different here. Craft shows are hard to predict. What sells one month, won't get a glance the next month. And the "duds" from the first one will be popular the next time. Don't get discouraged yet. I always check into how much advertizing the craft show does before I agree to participate. You need a lot of traffic to be successful. Good luck. :-D

  7. #7
    Member newbie1001's Avatar
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    Thanks a lot so far!

    I do have a display rack for my quilts. My husband made me one of PVC pipes, it slides into two old heavy umbrella bases, and nothing yet has been able to knock that thing over!

    The sturdiness of a canopy might be an issue. Maybe for the first show I'll rent one and see how that does.

    This festival supposedly has between 65.000 and 100.000 visitors over the 4 days it lasts. That should be a pretty good crowd.

    And thanks for the encouragement!

  8. #8
    np3
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    If you think you want to continue doing this, and you have a clever husband, check with him about making something to secure the poles for the canopy. It would be less expensive in the long run. We used tie-downs and stakes for grass or ground areas and he made concrete weights in buckets for concrete or asphalt areas. Just an idea....

  9. #9
    Senior Member Katia's Avatar
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    You definitely need some sort of weight. Hopefully you won't have a problem but if the wind picks up you will be glad you are prepared. I have done dozens of outdoor craft fairs and the wind can be your worst enemy. Your stuff might not be breakable, but your neighbors might be, and it does not take much of a breeze to turn a canopy into a sail.

    One way to make cheap weights that do not look too bad is to use the big pvc pipe. You can get it in various diameters. I think the 4 inch works pretty well. Cut it to whatever length you think you can handle. 18 inches or there about works pretty well. Then glue caps that fit to one end. Then fill with sand. For the other end drill a hole and install an eye bolt with washer and nut on the inside. My husband recommended that that end is screwed on, but if that is not possible they do make a good permanent glue. You need to have at least one, preferably two for each corner. I hang them with good bungie hooks, but a rope with hooks would probably work better. After they are hung you can bungie them to the legs.

    Another thing we have done in emergency situations, when we forgot the weights or needed more is to use gallons of water. A gallon of water weighs about 8 pounds so you would need several per leg, but they do work. Some people even use empty gallons then fill them on site, if you have water there.

    I would think for a show where you are selling your quilts that using your best quilts for your walls would give the whole booth a great look. If heat is a factor, maybe just tops so the air can move would be good. I've seen beautiful booths full of quilts that are simple and not fussy. Just the quilts on the three inner walls and then more stacked on tables across the front. Sometimes simple is better. You want your product to shine.

    Oh another idea, if you are on a corner or have a outer wall that is exposed, hang a quilt there. Anything that will draw the crowds eye to your booth. Also if you can make some sort of flag that you can stick to the top front of your booth is also good. It makes people that might want to come back, find your place.

  10. #10
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    Good luck! Hope you have a perfect weather for shopping day and lots of buying customers.

    Don't know how many items you have - as a shopper, too sparse looks uninviting - but too cluttered is also a turn-off.

    The suggestions for your personal comfort are also good. Might even want to pack a bit of extra bathroom tissue - just in case.

    If you don't get a cover, maybe plastic sheets or tarps to cover your items in case it rains?

    You might want to also pack a few hand wipe things - and maybe some cloths to wipe down your space, if necessary.

    Also, nice table covers help the presentation.

  11. #11
    Super Member Tink's Mom's Avatar
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    Weights are the most important thing....next to the tent...get an ez up or another brand like it. I have 4" PVC pipe with a bottom cap and filled with cement..another cap at the top, with an eye bolt inserted in the cap. I have 1 for each leg, but for windy conditions I have another set to add on. These weight about 28# each.
    Cinder blocks tied with nylon rope will work, so will weights from a weight bench...
    Use a table cover that goes to the ground, so you can store boxes,etc. under the table....don't use plastic table covers, it makes it look amatuer.
    Be prepared for all weather. I also have clear shower curtains to attach across the front of the booth so people can come in and shop, but my merchandise doesn't get wet. You will need 3 shower curtains and 2 5' pieces of PVC plus a connection in the middle.
    Good luck

  12. #12
    mlaceruby's Avatar
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    I have a large check list!!
    something to cover your items quickly in the event of a sudden rain shower and to cover the sides of the rent at night-most of these events will have security but check!
    snacks,water,sunscreen, baby wipes and hand sanitizer, business cards(you will have tons of other craft shows looking for vendors for their show)
    take something to work on!! it draws attention and they will come look! I have been invited so several shows this fall because I demonstrate my craft!
    Be aware- this isnt a quilt show they will want to touch!!
    some shows I do better with small items some with large

    as someone else said don't get discouraged!

  13. #13
    Member newbie1001's Avatar
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    Thank you for all these useful tips! The weights in the PVC pipe are a great idea. I was thinking of using weights at the bottom of the four tent poles, wouldn't have occured to me to hang them off the tent! And the shower curtains are a good idea, too. This forum is just so great, I was just saying to a friend the other day that there isn't a question in the world that you don't get answered in this forum!

  14. #14
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    Set your booth in a U-shape or L-shape with your tables, quilt racks, etc. Gets people to walk IN to your booth and they take more time to look at things. If you just have your table across the front, they only scan as they walk by and they don't really SEE your inventory. If tax is included in your price, have a sign saying so. If you are going to take special orders, be prepared with prices listed in writing.

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