Holiday Art + Craft Market 2016

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So, I recently wrapped up my time at the Holiday Art + Craft Market put on by the wonderful Crafty Wonderland.  I have to say, it was so much fun! It's been a LONG time since since I had done something like this and all my previous experiences were for much smaller venues. This one was huge! And people came specifically to buy awesome stuff. I was talking the whole time. So many people stopping by the booth had so many great things to say, which is helpful for me. Overall, everyone really like the whimsical vibe of my art. Some really enjoyed all the various monsters, while some enjoyed the food and others liked the colors. This is all really great to me! Since this was my first time, I wanted to do a little write up detailing my booth setup and overall experience. I hope and plan to take part in the next one this coming Spring!  

So, I started out with some thoughts based on running string that I could clothes pin my art to. This makes for a fairly flexible art setup that looks decent. A lot of people use PVC to make booths so this was my path. Here's my initial booth plan with a labeled system to make setup easy.

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I've never built something like this before, so every step was a learning process for me. I purchased all the PVC materials from Home Depot and sliced and diced each one accordingly.

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After some initial adjustments, I was able to get the setup ready to build. The PVC structure only takes about 5 minutes to setup, which is great! I did all of this in my garage. The structure ended up being a little over 5ft deep by 10ft in length.

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Next up, I ordered some photography studio backdrops to cover the PVC. I attached each panel using velcro. Again, this makes things super easy to setup. The PVC and backdrop setup together takes maybe 15-20 minutes. The most tedious part was safety pinning the backdrops so they are nice and tight. This adds maybe an extra 15 minutes or so. Not a big deal, just tedious. This was my initial test run in the garage to make sure the setup was as straight forward as possible.

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Using some found materials from my garage, I was able to wrap up all the PVC using some super professional looking weed barrier fabric and some bungee cords. Easy to transport and easy to setup.

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So, I was ready for Crafty Wonderland at this point. Here's the setup on day 1.

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Since I'm sitting in my booth the whole time staring at my art and my booth setup, naturally I started thinking of ways to improve. One of the things I noticed right away is that people avoided the corner of the booth with the framed art. This means they were missing out on the cool stuff hanging there. So after day 1, I relocated the books and frames next to my table. This made an instant improvement and suddenly people started to walk into the booth to get a better look at the art.

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I pretty much stuck with this setup for the remainder of the show. Overall, I think it's a pretty good setup. I like inviting people into the booth to check out the art. I think it's easier on the eyes rather than trying to put it all on a table or on  a wall behind me. This allows people to look at the art in a more private manner without having to look past me. Looking at the setup now, I think it's too frumpy. The backdrops dont really stay nice and tight and there are spots that I dont think look good. Not that I think people really noticed, but I'm always trying to find ways to improve. The PVC was ok, except it was too light and not sturdy enough. The whole booth ended up moving over the line by the end of the event. If anyone bumped it, the whole thing shook.

So, I'm planning to do a completely different setup next time but still maintain the indented shape to allow people to come into my booth to see the art. I have a few months to prep for this, which  is good because I built this setup in about 1 month this time around. So hopefully, this next one will be a HUGE improvement. In the mean time, I have a TON of inventory to get on my site. This event created a bottle neck for my work load so I've been pretty busy trying to get ahead on my projects. Hopefully at the beginning of the year, I get some more free time to get stuff on the site.

Thanks to Crafty Wonderland for hosting a great event. I'm so glad I was able to be part of it and plan to do the next one. Thanks to everyone who came out and talked to me about my art or bought my art. It was great and I hope to see and hear from you soon!

Jason

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