jacqueline hunter – “made by hand”

you might recall that i visited a craft show last month.  the show was “made by hand” and it was well run with a nice mix of artisans and crafters. i saw the organizer of the show, jacqueline hunter, prior to the show opening, but she was so busy that i didn’t get to chat with her until afterwards. i was so happy to be able to catch up with her a couple of weeks after the event.

jacqueline hunter made by hand show manager

{ jacqueline hunter, made by hand show manager }

if you’ve been to a craft show as a vendor or as a customer, or if you’re curious about some of the behind the scenes things that have to happen to organize such an event… read on! if you’ve ever considered attending such a show to sell your creations but have been hesitant to take that big leap, jacqueline’s tips may help you decide if it’s the right thing for you. so here’s my interview with jacqueline…

me: when i saw you before the show began, you had your hair up, jeans on, microphone in hand and were very much cool and collected as you got the last-minute things organized for the opening. the line up for the show, you might recall, wrapped around and around (and around) the building. with this being the first made by hand show, were you surprised by the turn out?

jacqueline: We worked really hard with advertising and getting the word out about the event.  We are overwhelmed by the support, our goal was 1500 visitors and we were ecstatic to have over 1750 visitors to the 2011 Made by Hand Show.

made by hand show

{ a great turnout… i tried to “where’s waldo” myself, but no luck. }

now i want to know what would possess inspire you to organize such a show, but first, tell us some things you want us to know about you, what crafts you yourself are into…

I have been in the craft circuit since 2007, what started as a simple handmade card, blossomed into an enjoyable hobby.  I am into scrapbooking, handmade cards and paper.

so what inspired you to organize the made by hand show? 

Recently, I had been to a few events that were under-publicized and poorly attended.  I wanted to host a large show in Mississauga to showcase the talent we have in the GTA.

yeah, the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) seems to have a great creative vibe and community, and much like the population itself, there’s a wide variety of crafters and artists who are passionate about their work. how did you get the word out through the area? i heard through a friend… 

We spent a lot of time and resources developing a strong marketing plan.  We advertised in local newspapers (Mississauga News, Mississauga Today, Brampton Guardian, Snap Mississauga North, Snap Mississauga South), Flyerland.ca, 10,000 flyer distribution, Rogers TV appearance, international centre website, LED signage at International Centre, various online sources (including sponsor publications), and social media (facebook and twitter).

ok, so it sounds like you were all over the marketing and advertising, which is so great for all the vendors involved to ensure they have as successful a day as possible. what did you find to be the most challenging aspect of organizing the show?

Believe it or not the floor plan for all the vendors was the most challenging, trying to accomodate vendor requests while positioning similar vendors equally through out the hall.

top 3 moments of the day for you? 

1. The morning rush (the line up went around the building – amazing).

2. Media (interview by two students for a project, and Snap Mississauga did a video interview as well as media coverage).

3. My husband and his support through the whole ordeal.

i’m sure there were a lot of people who helped behind the scenes. any shoutouts you’d like to make? how did they help?

My husband first off for the support and the long nights at the computer, all the student volunteers they were so sweet and dedicated, our charity (Crafting for a Cure).

for a vendor trying to sell some wares, what makes a good booth? how much of it is content and how much of it is how it is displayed? 

It’s a little bit of everything, content, display and personality.  A great booth has some eye catching items (something that draws you in), a clean display, various heights and a smiling face on the other side.  Like I tell the vendors, if you make jewellery wear it – display its use.

i struck up quite a few conversations with vendors over the couple of hours i was there, learning more about them and their craft. what advice would you give to a new or inexperienced vendor who may feel shy or intimidated at such a show?

Say hi to everyone that stops by your booth, a simple “hi how are you” goes a long way.  Don’t be afraid to talk about your work.

many people create and sell online and do just fine through sites like etsy and artfire. in your opinion, do you think they should consider attending a craft show in person as a vendor? are there benefits of doing a show that go above and beyond an online presence?

In my opinion presence at a craft show allows customers to see, touch, feel, taste your products, and also allows customers to meet the artist behind the work.  Craft shows also allows for networking, meeting other vendors, and of course showcasing and promoting your work.  From a personal stand point I have had much greater success from craft show in comparison to online presence alone.

what are some of the costs involved in attending a show as a vendor and how can someone get a booth at your next show? 

Our next show is Sat. April, 21,29012 at the International centre in Mississauga.  Vendor call started earlier last week. This is a juried show which means that vendors must submit photos of their work with their application. This process ensures a high quality and variety of vendors.  The other difference with juried shows is that you rent a booth area not just a table.  For the spring show (April 21) booth rates start at just $ 125.00 plus hst.  For more information on vendor packages or to apply please visit us online.

you recently visited the e.c.drury school craft show in milton ontario… what are some other shows you like to attend? 

I try and stick to shows in the Milton, Mississauga and Brampton areas.  Huttonville Craft and Antique show, Brampton Art Fair, Mompreneur showcases (new to me but I love attending and meeting some great people).

what’s next for you?

A spring show of course.  Our Spring show [as mentioned] will be held on Saturday April 21, 2012 at the International Centre, Hall 4 in Mississauga.  Mark your calendars for another great event.  Following that will be a Fall showcase.  All of course are posted on our website www.madebyhandshow.com.

jacqueline, thanks so much for your insight, but also for your enthusiasm for crafts and the people behind them.

jacqueline hunter made by hand show manager{ you can follow made by hand on twitter @madebyhandshow and like them on facebook @madebyhandshow. all photos courtesy of jacqueline hunter. }

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7 Responses to jacqueline hunter – “made by hand”

  1. Jacqueline says:

    Thanks for posting see you at the spring show.

  2. Sarah (mrsgryphon) says:

    Great interview, Ana and Jacqueline! I look forward to the spring show :)

  3. e l l a says:

    Great interview with great tips Ana and Jacqueline ;)
    I will need to book that April 21 and come check it out!

  4. Hi Jacqueline … Just to say thankk you for the great networking night in Milton.
    I will be visiting your show in April and will be definetely a vendor in the fall.
    Thank you, Monica

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