Have you thought about doing craft shows but don’t know where to begin? What better way to talk about craft shows than to interview someone who has done a lot of them?! Danielle Schmidt has been making crafts for a long time and has started a part time business selling her work at local craft shows and shops. Not only is she a prolific crafter, but is simply very creative! I’ve always been impressed by the quality of her work, the fact that she is self-taught, and that she makes the most amazing Halloween costumes for her family! Make sure you follow Danielle’s Craft Corner on Facebook!
Have you always been creative?
Yes! I believe I have always been a creative person. I’m pretty sure I was born with a box of crayons in my hand. I come from a long line of women who are artistic.
What medium(s) did you start working in initally and what medium(s) do you work in now?
When I started selling at craft fairs years ago, most of the items I sold where simple beaded earrings and yarn for crocheted items – hats and baby blankets. Now most of my items are wood with acrylic paints.
Are you self-taught?
The only formal artistic training I have had was for photography. I photograph weddings and graduating seniors. As far as my crafts, I am self taught. I use YouTube videos to learn new crochet stitches after a small lesson from my Grandma Lou on granny square blankets. My coasters and ornaments are all learn as I go. I taught my self the ins and outs of using epoxy/resin. I am a self taught painter, I have painted everything from canvases to wood signs, ornaments, and coasters.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find my inspiration from seeing the satisfaction on peoples’ faces when they see my work and are willing to spend their hard earned money on something I have created!
Is this a full time business for you?
This is a part time business for me. I spend about twenty hours a week working on coasters, ornaments, and other items to sell.
How hard was it to get started and were there hurdles you had to overcome?
Finding craft shows in the beginning was hard. There was no social media back then, so you really had to depend on word of mouth and newspaper listings with up coming events.
You do a lot of craft shows. How you determine which shows to do?
I believe we did about 20 craft fairs last year. We always try out new shows each year just to get a feel for how well they do for sales and how well they are organized by the event coordinator. If we do a new show and it works out great, then ofcourse we try to be a return vendor. If we do a new show and it’s not all that great, we definitely take into consideration how well organized the event was, how well it was advertised and if there were any other things going on around town that may have affected the quality of the show before deciding to do it in future years.
What advise would you give to someone who is just starting out doing craft shows?
Advice I would give to someone starting out in the craft fair business would be to shop around for the craft fair shows that work for you and don’t over book yourself. If you don’t feel like you can have a quality and high quantity inventory for a show, pass it up for a future show so you are prepared.
Do you have a checklist or other organizational tools you use when you do shows?
I do use a checklist to make sure I have all of the things I need at a show. That does include my list of organizational items, such as an inventory list, paper, stapler, tape, order forms, bags, pens, displays, credit card reader and many other items used. A sales record sheet that includes the item sold, the price it was sold for, time of sale and whether they paid with a credit card or cash is also a must. This helps you keep track of sales and let you know at the end of the day whether the show was successful and what the busy times were, in case you might need help next year.
Do you have any great marketing suggestions?
As someone who has also organized craft fairs in the past, I do have a list of marketing tools that work best. Facebook events are a great tool, because they do the work for you once the event is created. Facebook sends out reminders the day of the event to anyone that has marked their interest in your event. Spending a small amount to advertise an event can go a long way. Signs advertising your show leading up to the show are always a great way to get the word out as well and having larger signs the day of the show is a must. Not everyone uses social media and a lot of your shoppers will be people who just drive by. If you are doing an event as a vendor and the organizer is not using any of your vendor fees for advertising then the organizer is not using your money wisely. Yes, you also should self-advertise when you are a vendor, but you cannot be the only one advertising the show.
Where do you sell your work besides shows.
Along with the 20+ events I do per year, I also sell my coasters and ornaments in two different stores around town, Something Different inside of Coronado Mall and the new The Breaking Bad Store ABQ in Old Town. I also sell quite a bit using Facebook Marketplace. They have made it very easy to accept payments and meet your buyers around town. You just have to be safe when meeting strangers, always meet during the day at a public meeting spot!
Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born and raised in the Albuquerque area. I have always been creative. My mother always taught me to think outside the box creatively. My favorite craft quote is, ” This is not a mess laying around, it’s ideas!”
I have been married for twelve years this coming March. We have two beautiful daughters who are also very artistic! I have been participating in craft fairs since 2001 with a large variety of items. When I get bored with making the same things, I move on to a new craft!
My creativity is not limited to my crafts, I have also designed and made our family’s Halloween costumes for the last nine years. I look forward to continuing to participate in craft fairs in the Albuquerque area for years to come! Can’t wait to see some of you around town.