5 Craft Show Must Haves

5 Craft Show Must Haves

I’ve been doing my fair share of craft fairs for 10 years now, so I’ve learned a lot of tricks along the way. My craft show tool kit has evolved a lot over the years, and now there are a few handy items I can’t live without. Here are my top 5 craft show must haves.

1. A great tent!

If you’re planning to do outdoor art markets or festivals, a good tent is an absolute MUST! Many shows require everyone to have white tents, to keep things looking classy & uniform. My EZup canopy tent has lasted me through many years of craft shows, and it’s still going strong! I have the kind with four zippered side walls, which are great for closing up shop overnight or keeping out the elements on a rainy day.

2. A professional looking tablecloth!

After years of fussing with big pieces of fabric and homemade tablecloths, pinning and tucking just so to keep it looking nice, I made the move a few years back to fitted tablecloths. They’re so much easier, and they look super professional. They come in a variety of sizes to fit different lengths of folding tables. (Click here to see my favorite 4-foot lightweight folding table for craft shows!) You could always screen-print or add appliqués to the front to customize it with your business name or logo!

3. A comfy & tall chair!
I spent years sitting on low chairs, uncomfortable stools or just standing during craft shows, to stay eye-level with my customers so I could talk to them. My tall fold-up director’s chair has been a lifesaver since then, and many of my craft show buddies have asked about it and picked up one for themselves!

4. Shopping bags or gift wrap!
You’ll definitely want to have some sort of shopping bags or gift wrap available! What size you need depends on what you sell, of course. I usually keep a few sizes on hand – small organza bags for jewelry and some bigger paper bags for larger items.

5. A convenient hand truck or dolly!
Finally, if you’ll be hauling all your stuff to and from your car or truck to your craft show booth, you’re going to want wheels! I cannot begin to tell you how much our Magliner convertible hand truck has changed my life! I don’t know how I could do Frenchmen Art Market without it – I can get everything I need on it in one trip and haul it a couple of blocks back to my car with ease:

craft show cart setup

It’s pretty high end, so if you’re just getting started, I also use a smaller Magna Cart for shows where it’s easier to do multiple trips back and forth to my car.

Miss Malaprop: my craft show booth at Gretna Fest 2012

Craft show bonus points:

A curtain backdrop for sun protection and visual appeal!
Doing outdoor art markets can take a lot out of you, especially if the sun is hitting your neck all day long. That’s one reason I came up with the curtain backdrop seen above. I made it by sewing together three semi-sheer curtain panels. On each outside edge, I added a few pieces of ribbon to make it easy to tie off the edges to the sides of my tent poles. At the top of the curtain, I use spring clamps to attach it to the top of my tent. Easy-peasy! Not only does it block the sun, but it also provides a colorful and eye-catching background for my booth! (Hint: sew in something at the bottom of the panels to give them a little extra weight so they stay more secure when it gets windy!)

Gridwall for displays!
Many artists use gridwall panels to display their artwork. This type of setup works well for fine artists who have paintings or photographs to show off, but most gridwall systems have other accessories available like clip-on baskets or shelves or hanging racks, which can also show off clothing or accessories too.

Even more craft show must-haves:

Want more craft show tips & tricks?

Check out my e-book, How to Make Money at Craft Shows – Art Market and Craft Fair Tips & Tricks.

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The Perfect 4 Foot Table for Craft Shows

The Perfect 4 Foot Table for Craft Shows

I sell my handmade jewelry & art at a lot of local craft shows, which means I’ve used more than my fair share of folding tables over the years! I recently discovered the perfect 4 foot table for craft shows. It’s made by the camping company Coleman, and I’ve been using it a lot for my current craft fair setup.

I already had a couple of standard 4 foot wide folding tables. Most normal 4 foot wide tables are 2 feet deep. However, I had noticed that my 6 foot wide folding table is 3 feet deep. (That’s a lot of extra space for displaying my handmade goods!)

I have these great fitted tablecloths for my tables, which I got from Amazon a few years ago. One is for a 4 foot wide table, one for a 6 foot, and one for an 8 foot table. I had noticed a long time ago that my 4 foot wide tablecloth was much deeper across than my old 4 foot table was. The 4 foot width was fine, but there was a lot of extra fabric because the table was not as deep as the fitted tablecloth. My tablecloth was totally made to accommodate a 4×3 table, which didn’t seem to exist!

Recently, I’ve been sharing a booth at a local art market with my friend Kendra. After trying out a few different setups, we discovered that using shorter width tables, paired next to each other at the front of our booth, was better for sales than a longer table on either side of the booth, which forced customers to walk into a crowded booth. However, while using my old 4×2 table, I kept wishing I had that extra foot of table depth to display more stuff on!

The hunt began, and ended, with the only 4×3 foot table I could find! I quickly ordered this table by Coleman from Amazon and sent Kendra the link as well – she ordered one too!

On our first weekend using our new tables, we couldn’t believe how spacious these tables were compared to the old 4×2 tables!

This table folds up a little different than our old tables, since this one is designed for camping. The leg extenders actually come off completely and have storage slots underneath the table for transporting it. There are moveable support beams to make the table sturdy. And it’s very lightweight compared to a lot of my other folding tables.

If you’re looking to expand your craft show set up, but need to keep the tables small and lightweight, this table is a great option!

Just getting your feet wet with craft shows?

Be sure to also check out my post on 5 Craft Show Must Haves, plus the e-book I wrote with all of my tips & tricks from 10 years of doing craft shows. It’s called How to Make Money at Craft Shows, and you can download it instantly via Etsy for just $9!

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New Orleans Mini Maker Faire 2014

the crowd at at New Orleans Mini Maker Faire

Yesterday was the very first New Orleans Maker Faire. If you’ve been following me for a very long time, you might remember that I had the chance to attend one of the original Maker Faires in San Mateo, California back in 2007, thanks to my win in Etsy’s Upcycle Contest. While yesterday’s event wasn’t quite the spectacle of a big Maker Faire, this “Mini” Maker Faire was a great first showing for NOLA makers. There were over 1,000 people in attendance, despite the rainy weather and the fact that there was so much else going on around town at the same time.

Noise Co at New Orleans Mini Maker Faire

circuit bending with Noisician Coalition at New Orleans Mini Maker Faire

We were in attendance with Noisician Coalition, letting people play with our homemade instruments, circuit-bending and making new drums out of trash cans and packing tape. (Apologies to anyone near our booth – it got a little noisy, of course! Hopefully next time the weather will be good and we can set up outside!)

3D printing at the New Orleans Mini Maker Faire

cardboard creations by The Bally Who at New Orleans Mini Maker Faire

cool gadgets at New Orleans Mini Maker Faire

There were so many cool gadgets, and more 3D printers in one room than I’ve ever seen. (I think David’s head was ready to explode with giddiness.) One of my favorite exhibits was the cool cardboard set made by the bALLY who? All around, it was an excellent first event for NOLA’s maker scene. I think there’s definitely a lot of room to grow though – luckily this isn’t the first and only. The organizers told us they plan to keep growing and turn this into an annual event. For more info, check out nolamakerfaire.com or follow them on Facebook.

You can see more photos from yesterday’s New Orleans Maker Faire event, or check out some of my pictures from the California Maker Faire in 2007.

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75+ New Orleans Instagram Folks Worth Following

75 New Orleans Instagram Folks Worth Following

Like the Louisiana doodle above? I drew it! You can get it on products ranging from iPhone cases to luggage tags in my Zazzle shop!

For me, visual forms of social media, like Pinterest and Instagram, have quickly overtaken my interests, replacing Facebook and Twitter as favorite places to spend my time online. Let’s face it, pictures are just prettier and more interesting to look at!!

I follow a lot of locally based New Orleans Instagrammers, and so I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorites. I’ve broken them down into loosely organized categories to make it easier to digest. Dig in, because here are 75 New Orleans Instagram folks that I think are worth the follow! (Plus a little lagniappe after each section!)

nolaporches on Instagram

NOLA Porches features the porches, stoops, and doorways of New Orleans, as captured by @foxtotally. photo by nolaporches

NOLA on Instagram

gonola504
hotelmonteleone
igersneworleans
inthenola
newinnola
neworleanscvb
neworleansmademe
nolaporches
offbeatmagazine
showmeyournola
thescoutguideneworleans
visitneworleans

Lagniappe

nolafests

NolaBeings - portraits of New Orleanians on Instagram

“My dad made me go to an after school program and I decided to pick band just to get it out of the way. When I was playing in the band I started to enjoy it more than I thought I would. Eventually I started getting better and better because I practiced my trumpet.” “What do you want to do with the trumpet in the future?” “I’m not sure yet – probably travel around the world. But first go to some kind of college or some kind of music college to study jazz music.”

NOLAbeings features portraits & stories of New Orleanians daily on Instagram. photo by nolabeings

Gorgeous Photos of New Orleans & Louisiana

abandonednola
nateus
nolabeings
pamelagt
zydecorebel

Lagniappe

11ewitt
noladatphoto
nolagrey
unclebug

sunset in New Orleans, photo by HattieSparks

Hattie Moll is the lady behind Hattie Sparks, a boutique located uptown on Adams Street that focuses on products made by independent designers and craftsmen. photo by hattiesparks

Awesome Folks Around Town

andyknola
cieraholzenthal
dominiquecellis
goinvade
hattiesparks
humidhaney
jgalatas
kellyamccartney
kristyoustalet
mags504
mauxfo
melodicbabble
nadineblake
nancyrhett
nolamaven
nolamomsblog
waxxman

Lagniappe

eyelikeart
gracelovesnola
jenkarpowicz
jennrich17
jhesikamenes
kylejune
margmaiz
melissabastiannoig
nolapartyof2
northshoreparent
tiffanynapper

jessleighjewels - vintage jewelry on Instagram

Jess Leigh Jewels is a New Orleans transplant, by way of Ohio. She creates gorgeous jewelry using repurposed vintage & antique pieces, like those seen above! She can often be found at Frenchmen Art Market on weekend evenings. photo by jessleighjewels

Artists & Makers

bongachopshop
frenchmen_art_market
jessleighjewels
lionheartprints
maddarling
misskerryfitts
restrungjewelry
savvyroot
stillwatersjewelry
sweetolivenola
tchoupbags
thegrovestreetpress
vargvargas

Lagniappe

anniewalkerart
candiednola
cassietarr
dooleyart
etsynola
houzenga
jeremyartworkhebert
julietmeeks
metrychick
riccorideaux
vinsantosdefonte
writerobinson

Roxie Le Rouge and Trixie Minx on Instagram - New Orleans burlesque

All fixtures on the New Orleans burlesque scene, follow bellabluenola, piper101, roxielerouge and trixienola for sexy fun antics. photo by roxielerouge

Entertainment

balconymusicclubnola
bellabluenola
fultonalley
saints
oursunkencity
piper101
roxielerouge
trixienola

Lagniappe

bigfreediaqueendiva
ruffinsbbq

NOLA Fashion Week founder & fashion bloggerAndi Eaton onInstagram

Andi Eaton not only posts her street smart style at her own blog, Oui We, she’s also the lady behind NOLA Fashion Week and the Hazel & Florange clothing line. photo by ouiwegirl

Fashion, Beauty, & Shopping

ouiwegirl
babybumpmaternity
batsontees
cmhstyle
dirtycoast
fleurty_girl
juleytl
kawaiinola
loomednola
mamarouxstoreno
riverwalknola
shopcellasboutique
theskinstudio
thetrashydiva

Lagniappe

abeillenola
algstyle
bnola
iheartmiette
nofleasmarket

fleurdelishnola - food blogger from New Orleans on instagram

Native New Orleanian and food blogger Emily Smith posts mouth-watering photos from around town on both her Instagram account and her blog, Fleurdelicious. She also writes about food and dining in New Orleans for GoNOLA. photo by fleurdelicious_nola

Food & Dining

fleurdelicious_nola
nolafoodette
salunola
wholefoods_louisiana
winedinenola
zatarains

Lagniappe

mojocoffeehouse

This is by no means a completely comprehensive list. Who did I miss? Let me know in the comments & I’ll add them to the Lagniappe sections above!

P.S. Don’t forget to follow me too! You can find me @glamdromeda.

UPDATED: Dominique Ellis has hand-picked some great NOLA Igers on her own blog that I missed the first go-around! I’ve added them to the Lagniappe sections above! Liz Beeson for GoNOLA has also shared some amazing local Instagrammers here as well.

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SEO Basics You Must Know: Create Great Relevant Content

One of the things small business owners tell me they’re most interested in learning more about is how to get found in Google search. The world of search engine optimization, aka SEO, can often be very daunting and overwhelming for small business owners who already have so much on their plate. Truth be told, SEO can be a very complicated thing, and something that even experienced website designers and Internet savvy people struggle with. However, if there is one thing you MUST know about SEO basics, it’s this:

SEO Basics You Must Know: Create Great Relevant Content

Create great relevant content that will help your customers find exactly what they’re looking for.

Want to get more people to find your site on Google? First, think about what it is you have to offer. Then think about your ideal customer. How would that person search for what you’re offering?

For instance, imagine that you make and sell amazing handmade soap. (It’s truly amazing!) It’s handcrafted using a cold process technique. (But what does that mean exactly, in non-soap-maker terms??) It features all natural ingredients. (Are they also organic? Or good for sensitive skin?)

Now think about who your customer usually is. Is it someone who’s looking for lots of soap to stock their bathroom with? Or do you sell more soap to people who are looking to give them as gifts, whether as a wedding favor, a gift for a coworker or as a holiday gift?

If your customers primarily buy your soap to give as gifts, but your website only talks about the ingredients of the soap and how it’s made, and not what a great gift it might make, customers who are searching on Google for unique handmade gifts will never find your soaps.

Now imagine that you write a page for your website: it’s a gift guide for Mother’s Day and you talk about your top five picks from your product line that would make the best gifts for mom. By creating this Mother’s Day gift guide, you can help your customers find a cool handmade gift quickly and easily. The content on this page can now be seen by Google, and since it features keywords related to “gift ideas for moms”, people who are searching for this term on Google will be more likely to find it. Not only that, you can share your awesome gift guide on social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest, generating even more traffic to your site.

When you’re working on your website, think like a real human being. (That should be easy, right?) Would the words on your home page describe your business in a way that your mom could understand?

SEO basics: Great content doesn’t just answer the what. It also answers the “Why should I care?”

Great content doesn’t just answer the what. It also answers the “Why should I care?”

SEO can be a complicated beast, and many of its intricacies are best left to a professional. Because it’s so complicated, however, many people don’t even try to bother with it at all. If you can master even the basics of creating relevant and original content for your website you’ll already be better off than half of your competitors. And isn’t that a place you’d like to be?

Want to learn more about SEO, blogging and creating great content?

Check out my post on how to start a blog, and once you’re off to a great start, read this great post by Jo Harrison on Super Simple SEO For Small Business.

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