Saturday, November 14, 2009
Last weekend we set up at the Howard County Fairgrounds. We have done this show for the past 10 years, taking off the last 2 years. The former promoter took what was once a vibrant, thriving, successful show and ran it into the ground. Two years ago, Mark Zienda of AtoZ Crafts took it over trying to turn it around. He still has a ways to go. Gone are the flea market type booths...you won't find any socks here folks. Nor the displays for windows or food plans. That's a positive step in the right direction.
I spoke with Mark prior to signing up for the show, quite extensively on the phone regarding the advertising he was doing for the show. It sure looked like he had his bases covered. Only thing, it still didn't pull in the crowds like had attended in previous years. One suggestion that should have been made was to do a postcard mailing garnered from your targeted audience of the craft show goers. Guest come to sign up to win one of the many $10 gift certificates that are given away, that are provided by the exhibitors, so why not have them sign up for the mailing list too?
Anyway, the slippery slope that this and many other craftshows are on, can't be rectified in 2 short years...afterall, I am a realist! But there is still much room for improvement. The jewelry category needs to be cleaned up...too many jewelers and alot that wasn't handmade by the exhibitor. Also some more clarification on enhanced products need to be made. Simply putting a name on a manufactured item isn't handcrafted...I know a little harsh, but truthful nonetheless!
I wish Mark much success. I hope that Howard County continues to evolve and will one day return to the wonderful craftshow that it once was.
In my continuing quest to better my booth display...yes, I am always tweaking my display, I have changed my display pieces to metal grid work...very heavy, but also very sturdy. Not to say that I have retired my old display pieces, but my new grid pieces will be used to enhance my old display, especially at my larger shows.
So some major changes were made at this show. I added shelf brackets so I could use my wood shelves to display my handpainted pieces. I changed how I hung some of my signs to make it easier to set up and I could have more on hand for customers to buy.
Let me just say that the hubby was so glad that my new display didn't entail him having to make me new display pieces...he usually runs for the hills when I say..."what do you think about this for a display". LOL!
This guy was awesome. He had a sign making press, like the one many larger department stores had to make their sale and other signs, so my friend Pat says...well she said she used one when she worked for Montgomery Wards...really way before my time, being the youngester that I am! LOL! Anyway, he had newspaper blanks and changed the headlines to customize the sign for customers.
This was the sign I had made for my family. Never has there been a truer sign. And in case you are wondering just who Paulie is..he's our cock-a-tiel. I compare him to the parakeets the coal miners would take into the mines with them to check the air quality. Poor Paulie...and yes some days I do get blown away! LOL! Gotta love a family full of males!
And this picture is of my friend Pat and her husband Lou. They look like a pair of lovebirds even after all these years of marriage. Of course, this is not how they always are...some days she wants to throttle him! LOL! But isn't that they way it is with any marriage that has survived for a long time.
And on that note, I'll close this post by saying, that the jury is still out on whether the Howard County craftshow will make a full return to it's former self or simply fade away into the sunset. Take care and I promise not to be so long between posts.