Creative Entrepreneurship

When artisans first decide to enter craft shows and art festivals, one hardly knows where to start. I remember asking my craft show mentor, “How do you find out about shows?” She gave me a short handwritten list of a few shows I might want to try. She said, “Once you start doing shows, you’ll hear of them all the time. You’ll get approached at shows to do other shows.” And she was right, of course.

I’ve always posted my show schedule on my Pine Tree Designs website. Frequently I’d get emails from other artisans asking me for show contact information. I saw the need for an online location where this sort of information could be stored and viewed by others. At least I’d have one place to direct these inquring artisans. It was really just my way of cutting out the middle woman – me!

I noodled on it for a while, then remembered Yahoo Groups – email groups formed around common interests. So I set up Rochester Artisans (called Rochester Crafters initially) and emailed about 30 of my crafty friends, inviting them to join the group so they’d have access to this show information.

About 7 responded right away. That was January 2010. Two-ish years later we have 353 members. Yeah, I guess there was a need!

We all know about the big shows and festivals: Clothesline, Lilac Festival, Holiday Bazaar at Rochester Museum and Science Center. But there are tons, metric tons, of smaller shows. These are perfect for artisans just starting out, but they are also good for seasoned veterans looking for exposure in a different part of town, or perhaps a niche market (quilters love my hand stitched paper art) or to support a particular fundraiser (pet rescues, for instance).

Probably the #2 perk for a membership to Rochester Artisans is the Files section of our Yahoo site. (#1 would be the friends you’ll make! Seriously, I’ve never met a nicer, more sharing group of men and women to work with.)

That’s where you’ll find our annual Excel spreadsheet (also offered in text format) listing in chronological order, lots of shows, including: date, location, contact info, website, fee, is it juried?, is it handcrafted only or is buy/sell allowed? and application deadline.

It’s only March 6 and there are already 46 shows listed. We ended 2011 with 82 shows list. Pretty sure the 2012 list will end up even longer, as more and more shows are looking to Rochester Artisans for support, publicity and networking.

And to make it super easy to apply, we have applications, filed by month, for 98% of the shows on the spreadsheet. One stop shopping; it could not be easier!

In closing I have some lovely parting gifts. Carol Merrill, tell them what they’ve won!

~ ~ ~This is the first show the Rochester Artisans have been involved in producing and we could not be more thrilled. We are proud to be in partnership with the Shriners, to help boost their fundraising efforts to fund the 22 Shriners Children’s Hospitals, in North America, providing free, totally free, medical care for those in need. (Every penny raised by the show goes to the Shriners to help the children. No Rochester Artisan makes a dime off of this show.) All of the information and the application are on found on this page of this very blog. Please consider applying!

Help Shriners Help Kids 2nd Annual Arts & Crafts Sale, co-produced by Rochester Artisans.

~ ~ ~

I was lucky enough to be stationed next to the very talented potter, Sara Senour, at last October’s St. Rita’s Sale. My wonderful new friend Lori Prince introduced us as she sang high praises of the Maplewood YMCA craft show that Sara ran for it’s inaugural debut (is that redundant??) in 2011. Lori says as a vendor she’s never been treated better by a show. In addition to being supremely creative, I think Sara is sharp as a tack and is very dedicated to producing a well attended, high quality show on October 13th. I’ve been working with her helping to recruit lots of talented artisans to apply for her show. You can find all the details at the website she set up (brilliant! see? told you!). I really hope you’ll consider applying. The fee is remarkably low, just $25-$35 and I know you’re going to see a lot of bang for your buck.

Maplewood Family YMCA Craft Show

~ ~ ~

Here are 3 more applications that were sent to me just this week by the organizers.

2012 Brighton Rec & Parks Arts & Craft Sale

Spring Fling & Mothers Day Extravaganza 2012

2012 1st Annual Spring Craft & Vendor Fair Application

All of this can be yours for the low, low price of free! Honestly. Just click the purple Join button in the right sidebar, follow the steps. So easy.

Feel free to use the Share button below to pass this post around to your friends you think could use this information.

~ Stefani ~


Comments on: "Wonder What You’re Missing?" (3)

  1. Super seriously fabulous post, Stefani!! I just used the show database Monday to get working on my show schedule! It’s the FIRST place I look for shows since you created this wonderfully caring community.

    Sharing everywhere!!


  2. Stephani-
    Thank you for this great website. Tom Zachman recommended your website to get the word out about our show. It has been a great tool. Keep up the good work.
    Wendy Dandrea


    • Rochester Artisans said:

      Thanks Wendy – good to hear from you! Tom speaks highly of you always! Good luck at your show this year. I’ll do all I can to help spread the word.


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