I know we’ve all been to arts and crafts events, but have you ever organized one? A well organized event leaves a lasting memory and can help build lifetime customers for your business. In the past few weeks, I have attended several art and craft events and some of the best were organized by the artists themselves. The Fall City Stimulus Fair, which we highlighted in November, was one such event and the experience was amazing. The common theme throughout this event was the local community coming together as artists and attendees to share and connect with no pressure to buy or sell. And in fact, it turned out to be one of the most successful events for many of the artists.
As we all know the local craft fair or Saturday market is a great place to showcase your work, however, organizing your own event with your friends and fellow artists can provide a unique environment for interested attendees to engage and connect with the artist resulting in more sales. And don’t forget that since these are usually small community events, most attendees are there because they know someone and they want to support their local community of artists.
So, how do you do it?
Well, it’s definitely not as easy as opening your front door, but if you follow these 6 basic principles, it doesn’t have to be difficult and can be very effective and fulfilling:
1. Involve Your Community
Involving the community around you reaches out to more people than you can imagine. Your event can be just you or as many of your creative friends as you like. The more the merrier and by connecting with your local art and craft community, you can provide a variety of options for the attendees.
2. Find the Anchor
Nope, I’m not talking about ships or boats. Every event should have a well known artist that pulls people in…a.k.a. the anchor artist. If you’re not the anchor artist in your community, connect with one to participate in your event. This will instantly establish credibility and buzz for your event.
3. Create a Catchy Name
The name of your event says it all! It should be descriptive, intriguing, and at the same time show that it is a local community event so people can relate. The Fall City Stimulus Art Fair name describes the event and at the same time is intriguing and inviting for everyone to come support their community.
4. Connect with Your Local Organizations
A great way to help spread the word is to connect to local organizations and get them to help and collaborate with you. One of the best ways is to connect with your local charities and help to raise donations during the event. Another great option is to have a local business sponsor the event which can be as little as offering coffee and snacks for the attendees.
5. Plan, Plan, Plan
It is important that you think about the timelines and when each item on your To-Do List needs to be completed. The simple plan: Build a team and assign tasks based on their interests (it is more fun when you get to do what you enjoy). Some of the areas to consider when creating your plan are:
- Available space
- Number of artists and the number of items
- Event Day and Time (does the event conflict with anything else?)
- Signs and Directions
- Marketing and Promotion
- Responsibilities and point of contact on the day of the event and crowd management
6. Marketing and Promotion
This is critical, but also a lot of FUN! We all know that the more people that know about your event, the more will show up. The first step is to create a flyer with all the event information. This flyer can be printed, e-mailed or even posted on a webpage. The only rule: Make sure all your marketing and promotions are consistent. There are many ways to get the word out and here and here are least expensive and usually the most effective:
- Word of Mouth: Every interaction is an opportunity to talk about your event and ask to pass on that same message.
- E-Mail: This is the easiest step to take. E-mail all of your contacts and then make sure you ask your contacts to forward this information to everyone they know (word of mouth in the 21st century).
- Local Organizations: If you can plan this in advance you can connect with local organizations, clubs, and churches and have them share the event with their communities. Think about the win-win proposal and how these organizations can benefit as well.
- Social Media: This new buzz word has everyone buzzing. It is simply word of mouth on the internet (it is just that simple). Don’t get intimidated with the hype, if you are on Facebook you can create an event (a Byte-Syze Learning tutorial will be available soon) and invite all your friends to attend. If you are on Twitter, you can connect the event to your tweets. If you blog, write a blog about it and highlight some of the artists.
- Advertisement: This should be the last option because this is the most expensive. You can print flyers and post them all over or mail them to a mailing list. You can also buy advertising space in magazines, newspapers, etc.
Yes, we know this does take some effort, but by building a great team from your local community, it can be a lot of fun and best of all, you can create lifetime customers. I still smile when I think about the metal salmon designs and the smell of soaps from the Fall City Stimulus Fair.
If you have any other ideas on topics to consider when organizing your own event, please share them with us by adding a comment. Here are some additional resources to help organize your event: