Monday, April 11, 2011

Craft Show Prep

Waiting to be sorted.

I took last night to pack up the squid and Tadly for Handmade Arcade.  One thing that's nice about doing this for 5 and a half years is along with getting much faster at sewing I have become much, much better at packing.  I have everything packed into our 2 display trunks, a giant duffle bag and one rolling bin.  The only thing left is our 2 boxes with the wooden Tadly shelves and depending on the show a tent, chairs, tables, an extra mini trunk display and a cooler.  Now let's take a closer look at everything.  First up, the duffle bag. 

the duffle bag.
This was purchased at an Army Surplus store by the turnpike that we stopped at last August.  I remember it being August because the display outside featured a bomb on a gurney with a sign that had back to school items listed next to it.  I think I may have that photo.  Hold on....

Ah, here you go.
Ok, so the duffle bag is specifically for Tadly and Abigail since they're pretty big and can be a tad unwieldy.  Last year at Renegade Chicago I was opening it up to restock and a little girl who was in the tent saw me reach into a 4 foot long bag filled to the brim with plush octopi and calico cats and her little mind was blown. 

Now it's time for the trunks.  The trunks have been with us for a few years and normally they are on either end of the table housing squid and signs.  Like so:


Below is how they look before we set them up.  Having our display trunks also double as our carriers has helped out immensely.  There is not as much stuff to pack in the car, carry to the show site, and to hide under the tables at the show.  I have gone through many items to use to hold and hide the extra squid.  Usually after every show season I'll head to stores to check out what types of storage products they have which may work better. One of the items I had for a bit were boxes that folded flat but they were bulky in the trunks and under the tables so I moved onto 6 recycling bags I found from Ikea.  They are narrow but tall, sturdy and waterproof (which is a HUGE plus when it rains hard enough that water pools on the ground).  They also have lids and handles.  Perfect. 

In the summer one trunk carries the squid and the other carries the Ikea bags along with all variety of mini squid. If it's an outdoor show aprons are gently folded and laid on top of the other products at the last minute.  In the fall/winter there is also a creche, mini  Halloween or Christmas squid sets and a few more bags of squid.  I then take an extra super old mini trunk to carry some extras.

These ziploc bags have been with me for about 4 years as you can probably tell.  They're renamed depending on which squids have been added or detracted. I'd love to have something else for these guys but I haven't found anything that works quite as well or is see-through.

The one thing with lugging these trunks is that the handles could dig into your skin so I made some detachable padding made from felt and ribbon.  This has made carrying these for long stretches of time pretty darn pleasant.

And now onto the most wonderful part of my setup.  The Bin.  The Bin holds everything that we could possibly need for a show.  Over the years we have added items based on things we can't live without or other items we used in a pinch and have now found to be great multi-taskers (like thumb tacks with flat heads). 
The Bin.

The bin is filled with all of the essentials.  Over the years this bin has evolved to hold everything we have needed the most through the years.  

Here's a handy list of what's inside: 
Tablecloths (2 types)
banner (2 types)
cash box (in here I keep a tablet, pen, calculator, and the square reader)
knuckle buster with credit card slips (in case wifi or 3G isn't available)
business cards
business card holder
candy jar (this used to hold candy or free pins but due to space limitations it now sits behind the scenes filled with pens, markers and other things we need to grab quickly throughout the show)
permanent marker
a file folder with all of my laminated signs plus extra cardstock  for impromptu signs
sketchbook or extra loose paper
receipts (for folks who purchase the squid a month show special)
cotton string
2 different sizes of twine
nylon rope
clothes pin
more pens
hooks for the trunks
all of my shopping bags (squid, tadly and bigger bags for larger purchases)
extra tags
lint roller
hole punch
extra squidtivity and mini squid set boxes in case some of them are crushed during the show
hand sanitizer or a mini bottle of hand soap (soap runs out pretty quickly at shows)
hand creme
3 types of tape (duct, packing and scotch)
safety pins
thumb tacks
oh and of course the trusty inventory list.

The list is usually at least 6 pages long and by the end of the show is covered in quick tallies of how much we spent on food and purchases along with Scott's doodles.  Everytime something sells it's crossed off, easy-peasy.

If we have downtime at a show (or most likely on the drive back) we usually spend some of it brainstorming new products or new ways to streamline the display. This is how in 2008 Scott came up with the brilliance that is the storage/display of the steamer trunks.  Driving through the night from Chicago to Pittsburgh is also how we came up with Tadly.
Since I've covered in greater detail than I thought I could about craft show prep I guess next week I'll show you the progression of how I got to the display items I have today.  This will feature photos all the way back from shows in 2007 with some really ugly tablecloths.  

1 comment:

  1. Note : I broke the bin at our first show this year. I am now responsible for replacing the bin.


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