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Advice for Renaissance Faire Merchants--dealing with shows

advice merchanting life new shows renaissance faires

I get asked a LOT for advice for folks starting out in an arts and crafts business, and I've given this advice in bits and pieces before, but this I wrote in response to a blog post my friend made, and all of it is valid.

As a merchant I have a few golden rules about events:

--if the show is new, give them a chance. Usually 2-3 years to really get rolling. (If you go, don't make money, AND they're nasty and mean to you, don't go back, but if they're nice and you have fun, give them a year or three to get rolling.)

--No bitching in front of the patrons. EVER. Wait until after hours, or after the show entirely. Be professional. Period.

--Give feedback to new shows. Being a merchant, I have a lot of time to sit on my behind, listen to people, and watch the flow. I usually try to give some kind of feedback to shows to help with that. How else can they get better? Phrase this diplomatically, though. Show organizers are human too.

--Don't hold on to honest mistakes. Sometimes things just go fubar. You do the best you can with what you've got at the time, and they do too.

--Never badmouth a show on social media. If you feel a faire is genuinely unsafe (and there are some out there-- either risky events or risky behavior encouraged) warn your friends or fellow merchants, but do not engage in public (see also--do not bitch in front of the patrons.)

--Be aware that YOUR experience as a merchant may not reflect EVERYONE's at the show. Sometimes I do well and it's all good, sometimes I don't--I'm a weird little booth with strange goods and sometimes I just don't hit everyone at shows in the same way.

 I should write up more of these, with different aspects of small business....

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