Crafthaus goes to ... ACC Baltimore 2016

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Crafthaus goes to ... ACC Baltimore 2016

Brigitte Martin (crafthaus editor) will spend time at the 2016 ACC Show in Baltimore. She will report back from three distinct viewpoints.

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Latest Activity: Jul 1, 2016

Crafthaus goes to... ACC Baltimore

Brigitte Martin (crafthaus editor) will spend time at the 2016 ACC Show in Baltimore. She will report back from three distinct viewpoints:


Brigitte's personal experience as a first-time visitor taking in 670 artists for the retail portion of the show. Camera in hand and walking boots on!

(1) A Map Is Worth A Thousand Words

(2) The Thing About Booth Display

                          
The artist's viewpoint: Laura Jaklitsch (jewelry) shares her insight into all that goes into preparing for a professional show, her thoughts on booth display, sales and the camaraderie between show artists.

(3) About Laura: Background and start-up cost

(4) Booth Design, The Reality of Participating in a Craft Show

(5) Preparations and Day of Set-Up

Discussion INSERT by Wayne Werner: Clarify..setup

6) Sales, Suggestions and Final Thoughts

Upcoming posts...
The ACC show director's viewpoint:
The last segment of the series will highlight a third perspective, the ACC show director's viewpoint. Melanie Little offers an in-depth look at the show, describing what it takes to put up a major event that brings in twenty thousand visitors for the retail portion alone.

(7) About Melanie Little, ACC shows, and Hip Pop booths
(8) Baltimore attendance, Let’s Make, and Style Slam
(9) Artist selection, Jury Selection, Return Rate, Criticism
(10) Layout, Booth Assignment, Handmade-Policy, Booth Set-up and Take-down
(11) Final Post: Misconceptions, Question Answered, Difficult Situations, Best Moments, Final Thoughts - Melanie's viewpoint


Anything you want to ask Laura, Melanie or Brigitte? Post your questions in the comment section here! Join this group to be along for the ride.

Discussion Forum

Final Post: Misconceptions, Questions Answered, Difficult Situations, Best Moments, Final Thoughts - Melanie's viewpoint

Started by Brigitte Martin. Last reply by Roxy Lentz Jul 1, 2016. 10 Replies

Stacey Lee Webber and Joe Leroux in their booth at the 2016 ACC St. Paul show. Great display job that Joe is largely responsible for. They both have a wicked sense of humor and are lot of fun to hang with. (Sorry that the image is a bit dark. My fault. - BM) Photo: B. Martin for crafthaus.Continued from (10) Layout, Booth…Continue

Tags: art, artist, issue, design, display

(10) Show Layout, Booth Assignment, Handmade-policy, Booth Set-up and Take-down

Started by Brigitte Martin May 4, 2016. 0 Replies

Melanie Little talking to Minneapolis-based jewelry artist George Sawyer in his booth. ACC St. Paul 2016. Photo: B.Martin for crafthausThe last segment of the current crafthaus interview series highlights a third perspective, the ACC show director's viewpoint. Melanie Little offers an in-depth look at the Baltimore show, describing what it takes to put up a major event that brings in twenty thousand visitors over the course of three days. Continued from previous post…Continue

Tags: issue, design, display, Booth, art

(9) Artist Selection, Jurying Process, Criticism

Started by Brigitte Martin. Last reply by anne havel Jun 29, 2016. 11 Replies

Melanie Little, ACC Show Director, checks in with a craft show artist in St. Paul, 2016. Photo: B. Martin for crafthaus. Continued from Baltimore attendance, Let’s Make, and Style SlamCrafthaus:  How many applications do you typically receive for the Baltimore show?   Melanie Little: Artists can apply to wholesale plus retail, or they can apply to the retail segment only. In general we have about 1,700 artists that apply to all of our shows. Typically 1,600 of those apply for Baltimore plus at…Continue

Tags: art, artist, issue, design, display

(8) Baltimore attendance, Let’s Make, and Style Slam

Started by Brigitte Martin Apr 21, 2016. 0 Replies

Danny Saathoff demonstrating one of his kinetic sculptures at the American Craft Council's St. Paul show in 2016. Danny went on to receive an "Award of Excellence" by the American Craft Council as an emerging artist.The last segment of the current crafthaus interview series highlights a third perspective, the ACC show director's viewpoint. Melanie Little offers an in-depth look at the Baltimore show, describing what it takes to put up a major event that brings in twenty thousand visitors over the course of three days.…Continue

Tags: art, artist, issue, design, display

(7) About Melanie Little (Show Director,) ACC shows, and Hip Pop booths - Melanie's viewpoint

Started by Brigitte Martin. Last reply by Brigitte Martin Apr 21, 2016. 5 Replies

Melanie Little on the show floor problem solving with her team. 2016 ACC Show St. Paul.Photo B. Martin for crafthaus.The last segment of the current crafthaus interview series highlights a third perspective, the ACC show director's viewpoint. Melanie Little offers an in-depth look at the Baltimore show, describing what it takes to put up a major event that brings in twenty thousand visitors over the course of three days.Continued from…Continue

Tags: artist, Laura, art, issue, design

(6) Sales, Suggestions and Final Thoughts - Laura’s viewpoint

Started by Brigitte Martin. Last reply by Jessica Todd Apr 25, 2016. 2 Replies

Caitie Sellers in her booth at the ACC Baltimore 2016. Photo B. Martin for crafthaus.Continued from previous post (5) Preparations and Day of Set-Up - Laura’s viewpoint Crafthaus: Let's talk about customers for a bit. Can you describe the typical customer who comes to the show?   Laura Jaklitsch: I would say that around age 40 would be the younger customer attending, it goes up from there. Most of the visitors are usually fairly well-engaged in the craft world, especially those that come on the first retail day,…Continue

Tags: art, artist, issue, design, display

(5) Preparations and Day of Set-Up - Laura’s viewpoint

Started by Brigitte Martin Mar 29, 2016. 0 Replies

Laura Jaklitsch being interviewed in her studio during preparations to ACC Baltimore show. January 2016. Photo B. Martin, crafthaus Continued from previous post: (4) Booth Design, The Reality of Participating in a Craft Show Crafthaus: How long does it take you to set up your booth and when do you start?   Laura Jaklitsch: There are usually around two days before a show when you can set up. The retail portion for Baltimore starts on Friday. I'll get there on Wednesday and set…Continue

Tags: art, artist, issue, design, display

(4) Booth Design, The Reality of Participating in a Craft Show - Laura's viewpoint

Started by Brigitte Martin Mar 23, 2016. 0 Replies

Laura Jaklitsch, necklace. Dispayed at Baltimore ACC show 2016. Photo: B. Martin, crafthaus(Find Laura's jewelry in the crafthaus shop!)Continued from (3) About Laura: Background and start-up costCrafthaus:  In your preparation for the Baltimore show, how many jewelry pieces do you bring with you?   Laura Jaklitsch: So this is something I still struggle with. I've heard numbers from various people saying you should have at least $40,000 worth of…Continue

Tags: acc, baltimore, Laura, Jaklitsch, Show

(3) Background and start-up cost - Laura's viewpoint

Started by Brigitte Martin. Last reply by Rameen Ahmed Apr 26, 2016. 12 Replies

Crafthaus: For how long have you being making jewelry? Laura Jaklitsch: I started making jewelry in 2005 at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. I took some time off in between and gradated in 2011 with a BFA and jewelry and metal.   Crafthaus: Is this your first time participating in a bigger craft show?   Laura Jaklitsch: The first show I ever participated in was Craft Boston because they offer a mentorship program for which you share a booth with someone else. This is something that benefits new artists a lot, especially those who have not been out of school for that long. The ACC in Baltimore 2015 was my first solo show which was an intense experience. I also already did Philadelphia and Craft Boston in my own booths this year, and then this year will be my second solo Baltimore show.  …Continue

Tags: issue, design, display, Booth, art

(2) The Thing About Booth Display - Brigitte's viewpoint

Started by Brigitte Martin. Last reply by 2Roses Apr 16, 2016. 24 Replies

Make Room. Modern Design Meets Craft. WEST. Designer: Jennifer Walter. Photo: B. MartinContinued from previous post “A Map Is Worth A Thousand Words.” Our society is glued to TVs, computers, and handheld devices. We use them to stay informed, but an equally big part of their attraction is the constant entertainment that’s provided, which we’ve become accustomed, if not addicted to. (Not passing blame, I like Downton Abbey just like the rest of you.) The reason I am bringing this…Continue

Tags: Booth, Design, Modern, display, design

Comment Wall

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Comment by Lisa Bayne on March 10, 2016 at 12:17pm

Brigitte, Great to read your review of the show. As someone who has attended every year for 8 years, I liked hearing your approach and perspective. It is hard not to be overwhelmed. I particularly like your comments about knowing your customer.  Spot on

Comment by Laura Jaklitsch on February 25, 2016 at 4:37pm

Hello Everyone!  Now that I am back from the show and recovered I can respond to the questions in this thread.  

As far as booth critiques I have to agree with Emily Watson that there is really not a good time that would not be disruptive before or during the show.  For example, this time around I had a few during set-up that I needed to troubleshoot, such as my electric box being broken, so I was working right up until the show started.  During the show, I am focused on selling my work and connecting with clients.  That being said, I do think an optional booth critique would be fine.  Like Emily, I often ask for feedback from other exhibitors when I sense that something is not working.  The ACC also does professional development webinars before the show, so maybe you could suggest to them to have one on booth design?  That would give people enough time to plan ahead and apply what they learn in the webinar to their booth.    

Cheryl, Harriete (who has posted below) has some great tips on her professional development blog for booth design.  As far as a “good booth” that really varies from person to person but one example is Beehive Handmade’s booth.  Jim and Sandy have a hard wall booth with wallpaper, and faux bois floor, which makes the space look like an interior, and really showcases how their work might look in a customer’s home, without overpowering the work. 

  Here are some things that I personally consider a “good” booth:

-       The booth is edited, not cluttered or busy    

-       The displays compliment but do not overpower the work

-       If the work is small there are large images of the work up on the walls

-       The booth has good traffic flow, does not feel cave-like, and does not have tight spaces where the customer feels trapped  

-       The booth is well lit

-       The booth draws the customer in from the aisle, bringing elements from the work into the display

-       The booth is considered from all angles.  Most people will walk past your booth and not look at it straight on, so the first 2 feet on either side should have banners, work, or something else to draw the customer in

 

In terms of wholesale, I would say that yes, a portion of the market has shifted online.  If you don’t already have an Instagram account, go set one up now! 

 

Comment by Cheryl Eve on February 15, 2016 at 11:01am

Thank you for inviting me to this group! I have been wanting to participate at this show for a while and hope to do so next year. In response to the conversations, what does a "good booth" look like? Are there examples of such that can direct first timers to the right direction? Has the wholesale craft industry shifted or changed because of the internet market? What does wholesale future look like?

Comment by Emily Watson on February 15, 2016 at 9:15am

Having done a few shows, I can say that there is probably no point in the process (once I'm on site) at which I would want to drastically change anything. I do a lot of planning ahead of time to decide a layout and figure out what I think I need, but once I get to a show I really only have time (and energy) to follow through on that plan. I would love feedback, though, and often ask for input from other exhibitors... so that I can think about adjusting things for the next show. 

I'd also like to stress that I appreciate solicited input. I put a lot of effort into making the best display I can with a limited budget, and have definitely acted on feedback I've received. I've even had other exhibitors kindly and humbly ask if they could offer suggestions (especially early on), and was always receptive to that. I have also, though, had exhibitors or show visitors abruptly tell me things they think I'd done wrong. Often these were very subjective comments based on that person's idea of what a booth should look like. And often that concept was very traditional, stagnant, and not really in keeping with the mood / setting in which I choose to present my work. We all have to make choices about how we present ourselves, and in the end people are going to make different choices. Just because those choices are not the same ones that some self-appointed expert would make, doesn't mean they are necessarily wrong!  And presenting such feedback from a place of undisputed authority doesn't always go over well.

That said, I think it would be great if there were a program for artists to choose to receive feedback about their booths. There are often optional meetings / get togethers / seminars at Baltimore, and I think this would be a great addition. Maybe a session before the show starts one morning, or during set-up time for people who are ready before the final cut-off. If there are artists who wanted to volunteer their time to give solicited feedback that an exhibitor might use to improve their booth in the future, I suspect there would be exhibitors who would be interested. Especially for the Hip-Pop (not Hip Hop) artists who might be new exhibitors and want to learn, this could be a great resource.

Comment by Brigitte Martin on February 15, 2016 at 5:50am

When during the show would be a good time to offer suggestions for improvement? From a practical viewpoint: It takes a good long while to set up a booth and that process typically only ends right before the show doors open. Once the public streams in it is too late to do much about any situation, the artist can't really leave their post, dash away to the nearest store to buy props, nor rearrange or edit their display while customers might be waiting. A critique would therefore probably be most helpful during the set-up phase while there's still time to work on the situation, wouldn't you agree?

I will bring this up with Melanie Little, the ACC show director and with Laura Jaklitsch and report back with their thoughts. Thanks for the suggestion!

Comment by Roxy Lentz on February 15, 2016 at 4:18am

I would rather receive a thoughtful comment also, from someone who has seen art jewelry, than a love it from someone who is used to a more generic form of jewelry.

Comment by Harriete E Berman on February 15, 2016 at 1:17am

It really depends on so many variables...

I would like to differentiate the idea of a critique (helpful constructive criticism) and  confrontation. I've seen Tim Gunn say exactly want needs to be said. He is honest, and well intended and everyone (in a Tim Gunn scenario) understands that the Tim Gunn words of advice are from a voice of experience.

Moving on....I would much prefer a thoughtful comment than fake compliments.  To get genuine, well informed feedback at any level is rare.

Many of the booths could improve vastly with a 15 minutes conversation with Tim Gunn.

A final point for the moment is that innovative display is not about expensive fixtures or spending a lot of money.  

Comment by Roxy Lentz on February 14, 2016 at 5:04pm

I suppose if a person has the credentials to offer advice, and can see it is sorely needed, they could leave a card, and tell the artist they may email if they would like some suggestions. Then sometimes the artist may not be stupid, they just don't have the extra money to correct the problem, if that is what it requires. One mock jury made comments about booths that would require a thousand or more to correct. 

Comment by Brigitte Martin on February 14, 2016 at 4:48pm

I am all for being helpful, but what is a polite way to do this when you come across a booth that you think could use some help? You can't really pull the artist aside at that very moment and tell them about your views, that would be quite distracting to that poor person and very possibly considered rude rather than helpful. In addition, the artist might not be in a position to do anything about the suggestions at that very moment anyway, so he or she will feel doubly bad. In other words, a direct 'confrontation' would not be my tactic.

What are your thoughts on a best approach if you really think strongly you need to say something? What's a good scenario? I don't think anyone would like to be chewed out publicly - unless they specifically ask for a public critique, and even then this is a rather thorny approach.

Comment by Roxy Lentz on February 14, 2016 at 4:23pm

I agree with Harriet, artists need Tim Gunn critique. Something that is specific that will make a difference. Not a vague comment that it doesn't "fit". Everyone else in a competition is told exactly what they are doing that needs to change. 

 

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"Symbihome", 2017

Copper, vitreous enamel, luster.

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