Steve and I still love to do art fairs – wonderful exposure of our products to people, and the opportunity to interact with people in a space we create with our products. The exposure and the dialog are energizing. Honestly the products sell themselves, but what we take great joy in is the opportunity to talk with people who value handcrafted soap, or hand dyed silk.
We have learned so much about life, and adapted some of the knowledge to our business plan. For example, it was through a series of customer requests for shaving soap that we developed a recipe, and have found that niche of the market for men (and some women) who want healthy products for their daily shaving needs. It turns out that the recipe involves adding bentonite clay, which offers a topical skin detox (literally pulls toxins from the pores of skin) as it provides the needed slippery nature to make the razor glide over skin and reduces the friction and risk of razor nicks. Some men find that the razor burn, bumps and irritation after shaving are reduced, while the wear and tear on the razor is minimized because the shave soap does not have chemicals that break down metal.
We have also learned about resources for discovering and gathering information on art fairs. Locally there is a booklet that is compiled and sold annually – but if you want to rise above the church and school craft shows you need better intel! Here are a few websites we visit for information (Click on the Banner to go to the site):
OHIO and Local to Cleveland:
The Ohio Arts Council offers a searchable database, as well as a free downloadable pdf of festivals and competitions in the state for the year. Keep in mind that this is voluntary information from the promotors, and thus you need to do your homework. We have found some gems of shows looking through this document. I would recommend you download the pdf as it is very handy.
And this is one independent project that appears to be a gathering of the fairs and festivals in Ohio as documented by one guy. Small or large, he seems to document them all:
These are just a few great sources of information on events, art fairs, and happenings. If you are looking for an art fair to apply to keep in mind many things next summer start jury process now, and some of the big events are decided by the end of February.