The 33rd Annual Galena County Fair was held over Columbus Day weekend in Galena, Illinois. This “juried” fair had over 150 vendors displaying original work from glass works to jewelry and gift baskets, and drew between 50,000 and 100,000 visitors. One of the common themes for many of the vendors was recycling or resourcing existing materials. These independent entrepreneurs are able to combine a passion for creation, fill a business niche, and earn a living too!
A little craft show terminology: these larger fairs are generally juried. The jurying process usually involves sending in a portfolio that includes photos (or samples) of your work and a resume, along with a jurying fee. A selection committee will look over your photos (or samples) and will then make their choice based on originality, creativity, marketability, general appeal, and quality of craft and booth design. Juried shows are more expensive than non-juried shows – booth fees typically run from $100 to a few thousand dollars. These shows can last from a few days to weeks in some cases, are professionally organized, and generally draw large crowds from local areas to neighboring states.
Non-juried craft fairs are typically held in places like churches, community halls, and local schools. Booth or table fees range from $10 to $50, operate on a first-come, first served basis, and are good starting shows for novice crafters and artists. These shows are often known by word of mouth to local neighborhoods and have little budget for advertising.
As indicated, one popular theme was used by multiple vendors in Galena: recycled goods or new products made from resourced materials. Below are examples of some vendors at the 2012 fair:
– Metal Sculptures by Dick Cooley – most metal materials used are from recycling centers, salvage yards, thrift stores, and garage sales
– G & D Products – featuring handcarved wooden flowers and handmade benches
– Liam Shard Jewelry – pendants and broaches made from pieces of recycled broken pottery
– Hilltop Furniture – furniture mainly from recycled materials including solid wood doors, windows and decorative molding
– Whitton’s Mittens – Mittens are hand-made from recycled wool sweaters and pieced together individually so that no two pairs are alike
There are many, many other examples of jewelry, wood artwork, pottery, and products made from recycled copper. The green theme continues its hot trend with new vendors and products showing up at any given show. This is another example of a side – or even full-time business – to consider when choosing a start up business.
By Dion D. Shaw
Dion D. Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs
Homepreneurs. New Day. New Opportunity.
Homepreneurs does not endorse nor have any relationships with any of the services listed. Homepreneurs receives no compensation or consideration for its suggestions. Homepreneurs strongly urges all interested parties to conduct research and accepts no responsibility for any losses incurred.
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