A few weeks ago, Andrea and Robert asked me if I'd help them test out the new jury system they'll be using to select Got Craft vendors after they move to London next year. Since they receive more than three times the number of applications as they have slots, I can now totally appreciate the difficulty they face in choosing which vendors are accepted.
The day of the jury test, the four of us test-jury members sat in front of a big screen attached to a Powerpoint slideshow of the applications. We first saw the applicant's description of their wares, then we saw up to three photos they had submitted (they were limited to submitting three). We tried out a couple of different jurying approaches, and discussed our often similar and sometimes very different opinions.
I was struck by a few things I hadn't really thought about since I left Interweave Crochet and reviewed design submissions four times a year. So here are my thoughts about craft-fair applications after my one day being on a test jury:
- Photographs are everything. I was surprised that a few applicants didn't include photos at all. How were we to decide if they'd be a good fit for the show?
- Photos should be appropriate to an application. A few applicants included very fashiony or artsy photos that were lovely as photos but that didn't really show off the products very well. A few photos left us all confused about what the product actually was. Unless you're applying to sell your photos at the show, please take care to include good photos of your work, and even include one of a craft-fair table you've designed in the past.
- Even though you're not being chosen to be a writer, please please please spellcheck your application. It takes two seconds and it really does affect the first impression you make.
- Please please please then take an additional three minutes and proofread your writing. Spellcheck isn't fail-proof. If you're uncomfortable doing this, ask a friend to do it.
- Know the show you're applying to. Got Craft, for example, has a very distinct atmosphere and type of vendor. If your crafts are, say, more upmarket or traditional, they'll probably fit better at a different show. And that's okay. There are a ton of craft fairs in Vancouver. Each one is different.