Craft Fair Preparation Demystified! part 4

Friday, May 20, 2011

So I'm back from San Mateo. Set up went well except for the fact that it's hella windy with ish blowing EVERRRRYWHERE. Add that to the cons list of an outdoor fair. Oh, and I FORGOT A SHEET! I even mentioned it in the first post. duh-DOY! Anyway, let's recap the day as:

8. Setting up the booth
So you've gone through the checklist. Checked it once & twice. You've packed the car so neatly and off you go. On the way to San Mateo, I took the liberty of stopping at an Ikea. Ikeas are just soo far away from the center of civilization I feel like you should take advantage whenever you're within a 4 mile radius (at least!). So I stocked up on frames in the event I run out this weekend. It's better to be safe with an option of returning than sorry.

The first thing you do on-site is check-in! I know the impulse is unload the car but really, slow down. Have your friend/parent/lover/chauffeur wait in the car while you check-in and get your bearings. The lovely folks running the fair will probably give you a map, any freebies, IDs of some sort, information on where to load and then park your car, and most importantly, they will direct you to your booth. Some craft fairs offer a free dolly service which is always wonderful and always should be taken advantage of.

Unload the lot, then have your friend park while you carry it all to your booth. It's courtesy to those fellow vendors wanting to get in there and unload. Of course, it's always good to watch your belongings but I've never witnessed or been victim to any thievery at fairs. To be on the safe side, be sure to keep the pricey goods and monies on your person.
What works for me is unpacking big to small. Establish the big furniture like tables, shelves, tablecloth and just keep moving all the smaller pieces around it. When I pack things, I tend to group it together as first unpack this, then this, then this whole bag is just under the table, etc. You'll get the hang of it the more fairs you do.
Even though Maker Faire is one of those fairs where you set-up only to vend the next day, I set everything up as if it were ferreal (see the first pic above). It's just so I know what works and what doesn't and I'm not panicking moments before the fair. I let the booth be for a while and assessed what needed to be fixed based on its orientation (i.e. gauging from which side the crowd will be moving), how it looked squeezed between two neighbors, WIND FACTOR (ugh!!), lighting, etc. I take note and figure out ways to solve the problem, hopefully fixing it right then & there or bringing a solution tomorrow. For example, to combat the wind, I'm bringing putty to place on the bottom of the cards and white linen to place behind the shelf so my HOWL doesn't fly away.

Oh! And when driving to the fair, take note of your surroundings. Remember that sheet problem I had? I noticed a Ross on the way and had my parents pick up a sheet for me while I set up ;)

Once done fixing the booth, it's good to wander the grounds, establishing where the nearest bathrooms are and of course, FOOOOOD! Don't be shy--chat it up with your new neighbors and fellow vendors!

Here are some of the sights I saw while wandering Maker Faire with my mama santos.
big ass bike
2 R2D2s!!!
This thing shoots out lightning or something. CRAZY!

Anyway, I'm excited for tomorrow. I aim to get plenty of sleep tonight and my helper, Kevin, has just arrived. So seeeeyaaahh :)
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