Monday, July 20, 2009

A wonderfully talented (and wonderful) photographer

Some months ago, I was contacted through my flickr account by a photographer in Portland, asking if I'd be willing to loan her one of my parasols for a photoshoot. I'd actually just sold the one about which she was inquiring, so I custom made one up in colors to go with the theme, and sent it off to her.

Here's the original one about which she'd asked, and the one I made especially for the shoot:

And you can see some of the pictures from the shoot here.

If you're going to ComicCon this year, be sure to look for Vorpal Images in the art show!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Applying to Craft Shows – Why did I get rejected?

So you just applied to a show or fair, and got a “Dear Designer” letter from the organizers. Most often you just get a form letter that doesn’t let you know why you didn’t make the cut. Sometimes they’ll let you know if you ask them politely, but most often you’re left wondering. Here’s a few reasons why you might not have been selected.

1) Do your research before applying

What kind of fair or show is this? Does your merchandise fit if there is a theme or special occasion for the event? Seems simple, but lots of folks don’t take this into consideration. If you have one type of wares that would be appropriate, do you have enough of that type to fill a table or booth with merchandise? And can you show this to the organizers? If the answer is no to any of these questions, you probably shouldn’t be applying to that particular show. If it’s yes, make sure you demonstrate this when applying.

2) Your application

Did you fill out the application correctly, and legibly? Seems simple enough, but sometimes if you missed filling out a field, or didn’t provide all the information they requested, they won’t actually bother to look at your wares, and your application will go straight to the circular file.

Seems harsh, but if you’re talking about a large, well established, and/or juried event where competition is fierce and they get three or four times the numbers of applications for the spaces available, something this little can make a huge difference. If possible, try to type in your information on the form, but if not, then treat it like an official document – use blue or black ink, print legibly, and stay on topic. Do not alter the format! If they're looking at a large quantity of applications, this will probably get you rejected out of hand, as it makes reviewing yours more difficult.

And also, even if you’ve been in conversation with the organizers, they’ve told you how they love your stuff and really want you to vend, if you don’t turn in an application, or wait weeks or months to finally send it in, you may not get a space after all, because those organizations have an obligation to make selections and notify prospective vendors in a timely fashion so they have time to prepare, advertise, make travel arrangements, and all those other behind the scenes things that go on in planning an event.

3) Your goods

There’s always that section of the application that says something along the lines of “Describe your wares.” If you’re lucky, you get 5-6 blank lines in which you have to describe what you’ll be selling. I’ve had applications that gave me one line, and it’s impossible to cram in anything that will accurately describe what I sell. That’s where “see attached” or “see enclosed photos” is good. Remember the old adage – a picture is worth 1000 words.

I have a simple word document into which I’ve inserted pictures, with titles describing what line or style the pictures represent for my wares, that I include if I’ve never applied to an event before. If I’m reapplying, I’ll include a sheet that shows new styles I’ve started doing since the last time I showed at the event. This is especially important if your website (like mine!) isn’t very detailed. If all the information I included on my application was a link to my site , I probably wouldn’t get into many events.

While you’re at it, including pictures of your booth or table from a previous event is a good idea too. Showing them pictures of your setup gives you credibility, lets them know you do have the stock to fill a table for a day or a booth for a weekend, and puts you in a more professional light. If this is your first event, doing a test run setup on your dining room table or setting up your canopy and tables in the back yard is a good idea, just so you can figure out what works and what doesn’t. And while you’re at it, grab the camera and snap a few shots! As a jewelry seller, I’m in an extremely saturated field, but I’ve been told by organizers that I was selected over similar applicants on the strength of my display setup.

4) Your professionalism

If you are rejected, for whatever reason, badmouthing the event and the organizers will make it likely that you may not be accepted if you do apply for their future events.

photo by Emma Jones - check out her wonderful blog here.

It may have been something as simple as their having had too many applicants that did the same types of wares. They picked the first 10 they received and you were #11 to get your application in. Maybe you found out about the event too late and they’d already filled all their spaces. Or it could be that if you’d included a little more information or improved your photos or tweaked your display, they would have picked you, and if you improved your application you’d get accepted the next year. But if you publicly disparage them for not picking you, you stand a good chance of blacklisting yourself there, and maybe even for other events in your area.

It should also be noted that publicly announcing "I've applied to such-and-such show. Cross your fingers for me that I get in!" is good, but saying "I'm vending at such-and-such show" before you've been notified that you have been accepted? Not so good.

Now go forth and apply, and good luck to you!


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

DIY Wedding Craft Contest

There's a contest on the Martha Stewart website right now, for DIY wedding crafts. It's not a craft per se, my necklace, but I still decided to give it a go with a photo of this piece, my Manna from Heaven freeform freshwater pearl necklace. Click on the picture to go to the voter, and at the bottom of the picture are 5 stars with a "rate it" button.


Product shot that turned out absolutely fabulously:

Vintage Pink Rhinestones
by *dbvictoria on deviantART

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Etsy Admin to visit Seattle!

Etsy has finally secured a location for their Seattle stop on their Summer Tour!

Here are the details:

* Who: Maria ( CEO), Matt and Anda (Etsy Admins) will be in Seattle for one night to visit, talk a bit and answer questions!
* What: Etsy Summer Tour '09 Seattle
* When: Monday, July 13, 2009
* Where: Greenwood Collective, 8537 Greenwood Ave N Suite 1, Seattle, WA 98103
* Time: 6:00pm to 8pm
* Open to the general public!

Here is a Google map.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Landfill Art Project

1000+ rusted metal hubcaps are being transformed into works of art. You can read about this project here, and view a gallery of completed pieces here. As a sneak preview, here is the piece my mother just completed for the project: