This weekend (April 8-10) is the Spring Make It show, held in St. Albert, Alberta (just a 15 minute drive from Edmonton). This show is one of the better curated shows on the west coast. The show has one stipulation when you apply--you have to MAKE things with your own hands. This is such a great way for people to display their arts and crafts and really sell to a conscious market that is aware and appreciative of what each individual does. Another thing about this show is that because everything is handmade, you can get your hands on one of a kind gifts for your family or friends. The show happens just at the beginning of the spring season, early enough to get amazing things for mom. Make-It also has a winter show, just in season for the holidays, and shows in Vancouver as well!
Before even beginning to plan to attend a show, as a business, there are lots of things that need to be properly done. Aside from all the insurance and licensing required and recommended for a business, you also need to make sure that you are truly READY to do a large scale show. There are lots of people that are present, a much larger market to appeal to, and at the same time, lots of "competition" from the other vendors (only if people could spend all their money on each and every single vendor equally!). In addition, you have to make sure you have the right staff, support, signage, product, marketing materials, set up, display and help to make a large scale show a success.
In the past couple of weeks, we have been working on preparing for such a show. The Make-It show is a bit different than the ones we have done in the past. This show is INDOORS, unlike our outdoor festivals like the Works festival or Street Performers Festival. This is both a good and bad thing. The good thing about an indoor show is that we aren't fighting with wind, dust, rain, heat, cold, or other natural elements. It's a bad thing in the sense that if you are only prepared for outdoor shows, you really have to change your game to make yourself appealing for an indoor show.
As mentioned before, an indoor show tends to also have lots of competition from other vendors and it's a bit challenging to attract a customer's attention to your booth/space. This show has the challenge of MULTIPLE VENDORS on site, whereas an outdoor show tends to have just a few. Compare a 140 vendors versus 14.
A positive thing about this show, however, is that this is an ADMISSION FEE SHOW. The Make-It show charges $5 a person at the door (or as low as $3 in advance), which is better than free admissions for public festivals and events. When people purchase a ticket to attend a show, they already are coming in with the mindset to spend money, whereas free shows tend to draw all sorts of people from the crowd.
Aside from dealing with the challenges that may come your way during the planning or executing process of a show, there is quite a bit of preparation that needs to happen BEFORE the show begins.
In our next post, we will discuss the PREPARATION phase of the show.