Saturday, May 4, 2013

ART SHOWS 101: Survival Tips for Show Artists and Crafters Vol. 7

                    Five Things You MUST Do Before Your First Show

1.) Obtain any and all permits needed for your shows -- NOW!

This mostly applies to obtaining your Certificate of Authority a.k.a. Sales Tax ID number. Once again, here are the links to New York State Department of Taxation. If you are participating in an out-of-state show you will need to contact that state’s tax department.

Online Permit Assistance and Licensing:

New York State Department of Taxation (main website):

Some shows, like the Saturday Artisans Market, require a city vendor’s permit too. If this is the case the show promoters will tell you what you need to file for and how to go about it.

2.) Signage  

You want your potential customers to know your name, right? Decide now on what type of signage you want for your booth. It doesn't have to be fancy or cost a lot of money. Consider a hand-painted sign that coordinates with your work, or a table sized vinyl banner easily ordered from your local print shop or Vista Print (online service).

3) Hand Outs

Be sure to have business cards, or flyers, or upcoming show lists (or all of the above), to include with each purchase. Have extras to hand out to people who are interested in your work but not ready to buy at that moment. 

4.) Have a Display Plan

Do a dress rehearsal! Know in advance how you are going to set up your tent, table, panels, shelves and product. Having a good idea of where everything goes will save you SO much time and stress the morning of the show.

5.) Set your prices!

It’s best to have a price tag on each and every item you plan to sell, but this isn’t always possible. Price stickers don’t stick well to some surfaces, and it just doesn't make sense to price some items if you have many and they are displayed together. Use printed signs for items like these and place several of them near your items. Print up signs for any type of deal you may be offering too -- such as “Buy Two get One for Free”, “$25 or 2 for $40”, etc..

Until next time -- keep creating!



  1. Another great post Alison! You're really providing a great service to all who want to jump on the craft show circuit!!

  2. This was so helpful. Thanks Alison!

  3. Really great reminders Alison! I have been so frustrated at shows when I can't find any signs for the name of the artist or info about what they sell, or where they're from. If prices aren't clearly marked, I'd walk away. All of these are necessary. I just bought new business cards the other day - have to make sure I can get through the summer with a full supply!

  4. once again more awesome info!