Mine has evolved over a 35+-year career in shows
Some of this will not apply but a few may help if you arethinking about taking your wares on the road
Every rack I have breaks down flat for packing-I originally made my own funky racks but now these are about the 7th generation racks made by professional wood workers-most are silver maple with birch plywood with strong backs glue on front-they nest in fan flat on edge. If youare starting out think 10x10 booth as most are that size. Start with what ever you can-door skins with fabric covers can work. It does not need to be the cats meow at first. Now I have enough racks in all sizes to do a double booth or abooth and a half or whatever comes along-I carry two canopies at all times inspace case on van roof-but one is enough-white tops shed the best light I feel on wares.
For a sales table mine is a solid wood table which does not fold up-I put my bag box under it and it has a drawer for all that stuff youneed now and then for shows-clips pens –cards-tape-glue-new brain. It fits inmy vanload well.
I use a portable cash register that I will add the currenttax rate-as I always add tax to product. Some have tax built in price I do not.It’s your choice.
This makes cash sales a snap-I use a wireless nurit 8000 forcredit cards.
Shop your merchant services for the best rates and add ALLthe fees to compare apples to apples.
After my 1st 20 years of crawling in and out out trucks I got a extra long 1 ton van and that has helped my back-If you are starting out a VW is fine- just consider your back when you are young. Nuff said on that
I always carry extra bags and a few towels for rain. As wellas a box of wood shims for all the uneven ground you will be in. If you are doing a lot of street fairs on pavement a small box of kitty litter for oilspots will some day save you. As well as wood sticks to keep my box bottoms dry in rain and some white tarps to wrap them.
I also use a poly polypropylene rug from an oriental market to cover street at shows. It rolls up is light and does not hold any waterever. These are harder to run down and are very cheap.
I use paper bags for pots, as customers have to take custody for them, as they are not plastic bags that they swing around like a bag of fruit-plasticbags kill pots I have found. I cannot say how many broken pots come back afterthey rebagged them in a plastic bag s over the years.
On that subject my rule is when a person breaks a pot inbooth I ask them to buy something of same value or pay me ½ for it-they alwaysbuy and feel they are getting something-I feel its more than fair and so do they in an already bad situation. The faster you clean it up the better-nothing other than Godzilla gets folks moving away like smashed ceramics.
As far as packing I use banana boxes and apple boxes forpots-I learned long ago that you can pack a whole layer of mugs with zero paperas long as they are tight-then add one layer of paper and put the next layer of mugs right on top.
I have been doing this with most forms for 25 plus yearswith very little breakage. The whole trick is tight packing.
It is true with auto packing so if you hit the brakes it’s all tight.
I have a metal cage in van but you can use say a piece of plywood in your car keeping the load from killing you in a crash by coming forward. I have known potters who have died from no cage when the load got themin a wreck. -Ok safety tips done
Just consider this some.
Some other thoughts are get to show early and check out yourspace
Think about your neighbors-be considerate –we are all in this together.
You know the bumper sticker (mean people suck)-You will be next to them for 2-3 days. Talk out border issues before setting up next to theball toss booth.
Talk to promoter about relocating away from the ball toss booth before setting up.
Set up on time and stay for whole show no matter what happens unless there is a death in the family. Do not read books paper in booth-remember you paid to be here and this period is your sales time you can read all day on Monday? What matters most is your sales opportunity is only during these show hours. Keep involved and chipper-bad attitude is downer-Move stuff around be friendly dust whatever keeps you fresh.
I always pack a lunch so I can eat in or behind booth so I’mnot waiting in a 30-foot food line while sales leave my empty booth. Have some drinks handy cold or warm . All this is common sense but trust me I have seensome weird stuff at shows. It goes without saying do not bring your dog chicken snake or cat to show which I have all seen in neighbors booths.
I never try to sell my pots-only answer questions about use-making -firing -washing etc-pots sell themselves. Everyone evolves his or her own manners on this.
I use umbrellas and sunscreen as I’m fair skinned (a realbummer)-Do not get fried in sun-it will not help sales.
Try to sell the stuff you have not the items you do not have like an order for a left handed double handled Uncle George custom name mug.
At pack out consider you neighbors as well-move youcar/stuff if its blocking folks. We all want to be elsewhere now. Work as a professional it will come back to you.
Take what will apply for you out of this. My show experiencehas been great overall for me after all these years I try to return every year to the shows that work for me-I have a large customer base in many western states and return customers are over 40 % of what I do-It can work for you to.
Heres some various booth shots as well as my newer van before the dealer crashed it.
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