Crafts Shows R Us #7: The Good, the Bad, and the Horrible

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Blog entry by closetguy posted 11-11-2008 04:17 AM 1734 reads 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Crash, Burn, Dog Paddle, or Soar Part 7 of Crafts Shows R Us series Part 8: It's Cold Outside »

Ok, it was not quite crash and burn, but I got second degree burns from the Christmas in Lithia show this past weekend. I did make my booth fee and enough extra to buy groceries for two days, so I guess there is a bright side in there somewhere. You have to look hard.

In its 23rd year, this show is held at a local high school and was highly rated by local crafters. There were around 140 crafters. It was by far the easiest to unload and load into of all my shows. That is the only good thing I can say about it. My space was at the end of a dead-end hallway, off the main traffic flow. I sat there all weekend watching people start walking down my hallway, then turn around and go back. I wish I had a megaphone so I could yell at them “Wait, don’t go!!”.

Friday night setup was a fiasco. When I first got there, I complained to one of the coordinators that my booth was in front of two doors, one going into a classroom hallway and one was an outside exit. The response was “Just set your tables up in front of the doors. No one will be using these doors.” I got my tables set up and my product out and a janitor came up to my booth pushing a trash bin and said she needed to get though to clean a classroom in the hall I was blocking. So I moved all my boards off a table, moved the table, and went about working on other things while I waited for her to come back through. After she was finished, I put everything back.

I was just about finished and two other people came by and said they needed to get into the hallway, so I gently slid the table a little to one side so they could squeeze through. About ten minutes later, they came out wheeling a cookie making machine for the football game. So here I go again taking the product off the table, moving the table and letting them through. When they got through the booth, they informed me that they had to get to the outside door that my other table was blocking. So I move product and the table, let them out, and put everything back. This happened three times during setup before I got out of there.

Saturday morning I found one of the coordinators and complained about all the problems. She apologized and said that no one would be going anywhere near there all weekend. I returned to my booth safe with the knowledge that this was behind me, or so I thought. There was a constant stream of school personnel going though my booth all week end to get into this hallway. To make matters worse, where my booth and an adjacent booth met, we blocked the entrance to the men’s restroom. So whose booth became the gateway entrance to the restroom? You guessed it, yours truly.

I thought the term “bad show” meant that revenue wasn’t too good. I guess this one would be classified as a “horrible show”. They won’t be getting a Christmas card from me this year, or a return appearance next year.

This was my fifth and final setup to accomodate all the “non-existent” personnel that would not be using these doors all weekend.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

5 comments so far

View Zuki's profile


1404 posts in 4076 days

#1 posted 11-11-2008 04:28 AM

That sucks. Nice display though . . alll your research and hard work has paid off.

For “dead end displays” would there be any way to hang something from the ceiling at the beginning of the hallway indicating to people that your cutting board are down here. Something simple to hook in the T-Bar ceiling.

I’m sure that if you asked they would say no . . . but if you put it up I’m guessing the worst they could do is take it down and give you a slap. But . . . after reading your series and seeing how picky some of these places are with booths . . . they may just ban you from other shows. Anyhoo . . . just a thought. :-)

-- BLOG -

View Max's profile


56000 posts in 4272 days

#2 posted 11-11-2008 05:49 AM

Sorry to hear you had such a terrible show. I can certainly understand your reluctance not to dawn there door step again.

I really appreciate the insight that your blog is providing to us here at Lumberjocks. Keep them coming….

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 3922 days

#3 posted 11-19-2008 07:20 AM

“Location, location, location” I guess it does not only apply to real estate. Look at it as a learning curve. I would try to get into a national show now that you have a few shows under your belt. Look into the Mountain Heritage Festival in WV over 75,000 attendees. You will have to Jury for it thought. Also the Thurmont, MD over 100,000 attendees . October Fest. They are very lucrative No information on the Internet but trust me these are big and you want to get in both. A guy I knew made sling chairs and sold out for a total show take of 35K in one week end these were 79 – 250 priced items. You need to bring 2 – 3 hundred items because you very likely will sell out. Hang in there!

In closing I would demand my money back OR a prime spot in the next show OR no entry fee the next year. I would council that if you do a show you need to do the same show 3 times before giving up that show unless you have a conflict in scheduling. Remember people remember you that buy from you and do expect to see you next time and will be disappointed if you are not there.

Catoctin Colorfest, Inc.
P.O. Box 33
Thurmont, MD 21788

View SawDustnSplinters's profile


321 posts in 3780 days

#4 posted 11-21-2008 01:15 AM

I have had a couple of shows like that where you at least break even, but it has been a pain in the back but hauling the 6 foot mantles and aromatic red cedar dining table with matching 5 ft benches and chairs paid off at the last show, I put all my 75-125.00 log jewelry boxes on the table and benches. I sold the table for 1800.00 and the lady paid in cash? and a smaller farm table for 600.00 and sold about 6 100.00 jewelry boxes. The good part was the networking and handing out cards, I had about 4 people want 12 foot mantles, and about 3-4 people interested in dining tables when their houses are finished.

I have an idea, I got a friend who is real successful at doing edge grain and face grain kitchen islands out of exotic woods, like Wenge, Mesquite, walnut, etc….what about a small l-shaped edge-grain counter island as one of your table tops and advertise custom islands and counters…good money in it, oh well just a thought….

Hang in there…

-- Frank, Dallas,TX , , “I have a REALLY BIG chainsaw”

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4159 days

#5 posted 11-28-2008 10:14 PM

I like the idea of requesting a prime location for next year due to the troubles endured this time…. a “second chance” might be a good idea… “give and ye shall receive”. Maybe they’ll bend over backwards for you.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

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