On 2nd of May, Sarah James (pictured above), organiser of the Bovey Tracey contemporary craft festival for the past 10 years came to speak to us about what it is like to exhibit at the festival.
She talked to us about the selection process. There is a panel of about 3 or 4 who quickly look through images sent to them by designer makers. The quality of the images is very important, and it is advised that if you can afford it then hire a professional photographer to take images of your work.
Jewellery is limited to 50 stalls and this is the discipline that has the most entries, so there is high competition in this area.
The main points from this session are:
* Craft fair applications start in September, images are key to success.
* Many makers find craft fairs their most successful platform for selling.
While exhibiting at the fair:
* Smile and say hello - always be friendly.
* keep your stand simple, clutter free, keep things at waist to eye level.
* Consider you product, does your stall need to reflect your personality or be minimalistic.
* Give the work some space.
* Tell a story, be prepared to talk about your work - certain information you must be prepared to give away.
* DO NOT allow photos of your work.
* Let your work do the talking.
* Place an image of your work behind the stand.
* Jewellers have work out, not behind glass, always have a mirror, allow people to try things on.
* Make friends with your neighbours, let them know what you're up to.
* Corner stands are premium.
* Try not to sit down.
* Any press? put it out on your stand.
* Always have your prices out.
* Get business cards from any one claiming to be from a gallery, this way you can check them out and send on whole sale prices once you know they are genuine.
When sending Images
* Simple and plain, only one detail shot per collection
* use a graded background.
* Don't go mad with photoshop.
* try to keep to a similar style with your work in your images.
* Keep lighting good.
* Research - visiting shows.
* Plan ahead.
* Build your data base - collect email addresses of important contacts.
* Use the free stuff.
* Evaluate - look at what works and what doesn't
* grow your network.
* Love what you do.
An excellent and informative session on how to exhibit at a high end craft fair.
Main stalls are expensive, but there are graduate opportunities which are cheaper and a good way to get your foot on the ladder.
I found the information on the selection process particularly interesting, and advice about taking good images indispensable.
I'd like to extend a massive thank you to Sarah for coming and sharing her knowledge with us.