Questions Frequently Asked by our Artists
Q: Do I have to sell my work at a discount?
A: No. Many of our artists do not discount their work, and there is no requirement to do so.
Q: I’m a fine artist, not a clearance crafter. Why should I come to this show?
A: Simply put, because it’s one more place to make money and expose customers to your work. We are always delighted to have more fine art at the show, and we are always putting more effort into bringing fine-art customers to you.
Even if you aren’t willing to mark your merchandise down for that “once a year only” sale-price, most artists have a few items that they’ve been lugging from show to show with no takers, “seconds”, raw materials, or unused display racks that they’d like to get a few dollars for. This is a great opportunity to dump the duds and let customers fall in love with your first-quality art.
Q: Do you offer any discounts?
A: Yes we do! If your application is postmarked by October 31, we will charge you that previous year rate (a $15/booth discount).
Also, we offer another $15 discount on booths in the commons wings (which are cozierand quieter, actually better suited to many types of merchandise).
Q: About these Commons Wing Booths, do they see any traffic at all?A: These are the same booths we’ve sold in the past for full price, but because they’re ever-so-slightly off the beaten track, in wide corridors adjoining the main commons, it seemed only fair to discount them somewhat.
We’re serious about our no dead ends policy, and recognize that being stuffed into a remote hallway is a raw deal at any price. Please consider this option if you’re not sure if a February show is worth the investment we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
Q: What do you do with the money you earn?
A: Your money is going to a good cause. By far the bulk of our show income is from booth fees; door admissions barely cover the show’s non-advertising expenses, and the food concession often operates at a loss–keeping prices as low as possible so customers have more money to spend with you. Our show is managed and run completely by volunteers. Advertising consumes approximately 15% of our gross income, and the remaining profits are used by the boosters to support the instrumental music programs and assist the students participating in them–many of whom would not be able to participate otherwise. Think of your booth fee as $100 spent promoting the arts!
Q: Why do I not see more or bigger newspaper ads?
A: We place ads in most of the local and regional papers, but they are surprisingly expensive! A tiny 1″ x 6″ advertisement hidden somewhere on an inside page of a single Sunday issue of the Macomb Daily costs several hundred dollars, and we contract with them for several days. We are always looking into more efficient ways to get the word out to the most possible customers, given our available budget.
Q: Why don’t you put out some signs or something?
A: A very good question with a simple answer: Sterling Heights ordinance prohibits roadside signage, and the police department is very efficient at removing these signs when they find them. We do, however, ask local schools and private property owners to post signs on their lawns, getting around the law as best we can.
Q: What else do you do to promote the show?
A: All kinds of things, among them online promotion, magazine event calendars, community cable channels, office and church bulletins, passing out fliers at other shows, and sending a flier home with each of the Utica district’s 17,000 elementary and preschool students.
Q: What can I do to help with publicity?
A: Glad you asked! Many of our customers come in because YOU’VE told them that you’ll be here! Please add us to your upcoming-event fliers, and download our fliers to distribute to your fall/winter customers. Link our website to your own: http://www.handmademarketplace.com, and if you’d like your work included on our website, please send us a digital photo and we’ll try to add it, along with a credit linking to your website or e-mail address.
Q: I think I saw some buy/sell merchandise at your show!
A: We are ALWAYS open to ideas for getting rid of those whose dishonesty threatens the livelihood of so many hardworking regional artists! To be honest, we are just a bunch of band parents who are trying very hard to run a good show, and we do have trusted artist friends walk the show with us, but we are NOT the experts that you are, and we all know how sneaky the cheats can be. If you have a concern about a particular vendor, please bring it to our attention ASAP; if we can prove that there are items that should not be sold, we will order them removed, or boot the exhibitor from the show. But PLEASE be considerate and fair–we are also aware that there are troublemakers out there who would like nothing better than to level an unfounded accusation at a competitor and have them humiliated or removed from the premises. (Note: we REQUIRE that you have materials invoices, photos of each item in progress, or other proof of your work’s authenticity on hand!)
Q: How do you decide who gets which booth location?
A: If there’s a location you’d like next year, please feel free to request it on your application; likewise if you have any special needs that you’d like accommodated. We do try to make everyone happy, though of course this is not always possible. Early applicants are given preference, as are artists who’ve been with us for years and newcomers whose work we absolutely love. Last-minute applicants may be placed in the far-off corners we’ve left as contingencies. Practical considerations dictate that people requiring electricity get certain spots, and we like to keep fine art in the commons area, where the natural lighting shows it to best advantage. Of course, we try to keep a good bit of space between one jeweler or florist and another. If you demonstrate your craft at the show, please note this on your application–we’d like to place you where you’ll be seen.
Q: Why do a few booths seem extra-large?
A: Because they are. One reason may be that an artist didn’t show, or a space didn’t sell. Rather than leaving it vacant, we will often allow the adjacent artists to expand their displays. Another reason is the geography of the building–where there’s some extra space, it just seems right to allow someone to use it. We do try, in planning, to place artists with bulky goods in these larger or potentially-larger spaces–if you’re a “bulky” that could use extra space if it’s available, you’re welcome to make a note on your application. No space is smaller than the contracted 12×6, however.
Q: Why do you warn that artists may be parked off-site?
A: Because our parking lots were planned to meet a high school’s needs, and not those of a busy craft show. Winter weather can occasionally prevent us from parking on the lawns, and every space that is occupied by a crafter is a space that could be used by multiple customers over the course of the day. If you are handicapped, you are probably BEST served by our off-site parking, as you’ll receive vehicle-to-door service as opposed to walking from a far-off icy lot. Additional on-site storage for inventory can almost always be arranged if needed; just ask.
Q: Why don’t you offer a coat-check service for customers?
A: Liability. Nobody wants to risk damaging someone’s mink, or being accused of stealing cash or a cellphone from someone’s pocket. It’s a nice idea, though.