Tips for Applications
We aren’t going to sugar coat it, this application stuff is tough business. The truth is, Event Organisers of markets and fairs all around receive so many applications that the better you complete your application, the easier it is for them to make an informed decision on your brand/wares suitability for their event. And unfortunately, as many of you will know, not everyone can be accepted.
We want to help you to create a fantastic application, and also make the processing a bit easier for all market/fair organisers out there (it’s a mammoth task and never easy!), so we’ve come up with some handy tips and pointers to get you ready to submit your application.
Here are the points, summarised, but if you want to read the full article… keep scrolling down as it’s directly below these points
- Read the Application form in its entirety before filling it out. T&C’s change all the time, and it’s important you know exactly how the event works.
- Make sure you COMPLETE the application form, as is asked. If you are asked to list everything you intend on selling, list it. If they want 4 photos no bigger than 400KB each, then give them 4 photos no bigger than 400KB each.
- Have a strong web presence – make your website/blog awesome. Ensure it has your contact details and current photos of your products. Not being online is not really an option, nowadays.
- Keep your products cohesive and try to be unique. Product cohesion is so important; ensure your products all work together in a theme.
- Be Professional – Your whole brand image is just as important as the products themselves. You aren’t just selling “items”; you are selling something you have personally created. Have a logo, be sure to brand your products, website and display, and be consistent.
- Take and submit GREAT photos! Your product may look amazing in person, but if you can’t portray that well enough in your images (within reason), it may let your application down. Put time and effort into your photographs and it will do your branding wonders. You can’t sell yourself online if you don’t have great photos.
- Product Display is just as important as the products themselves. A lot of applications are let down due to lack of a great display. If you don’t have a photo already, mock-up a display on your kitchen table. And make it amazing! If you’ve been to the Fair before, you’ll know the quality of the fantastic displays that are there. Be creative, put some thought in to it and don’t rush it.
- Be nice! The event organisers have a mammoth job organising things, so do your best to make their job as easy as possible. That’s all they ask.
Read the Application form in its entirety before filling it out.
Yes, you may well have applied before and think you know the gist of things, but honestly the T&C’s and requirements do get revised and refined for each event so it’s possible they’ve been updated since the last time you read them. Each event is different from the next, so it’s important that you know the ins’ and outs’ of how the event works.
Filling out an application form is something that may take a bit of time (allow 15-30 minutes) so it’s a good idea to read it all over, then come back to fill it out when you have adequate time. Incomplete applications aren’t appreciated (or accepted, generally) so you really don’t want to rush things!
Make sure you COMPLETE the application form, exactly as is asked.
Okay, so you’ve read the application form and are sure you are keen and ready to apply. Great! Now be sure to do it properly. It’s never a good idea to submit your application with fields filled out “I’ll get this to you later” or “same as last time” etc. This is classed as incomplete and will likely have your application pushed to the bottom of the pile. Treat each application as though the Organisers have no idea who you are, and really SELL YOURSELF to them.
If the organisers ask for your photos to be less than a certain size (eg 400KBs), don’t send images that are 5MB each. If they say that you can’t share a table with someone who hasn’t applied, don’t ask if you can share your table with someone who hasn’t applied. If they allocate you a certain table at the venue, there are probably good reasons they placed you there so please don’t ask them to move you. Applications normally have a deadline in which they need to be submitted by, so don’t try emailing and requesting a late submission. I’m sure you have a legitimate reason why you were unable to meet the deadline, but the Event Organisers most likely don’t have time to hear about it, nor will they be able to make exceptions. Those little guidelines are in place to make the organisers’ jobs easier and if you respect the rules, it’s very much appreciated and doesn’t go unnoticed!
Have a strong web presence.
We probably don’t have to tell you this but it’s 2013 and, in case you haven’t noticed, most people’s lives revolve around the internet (Slightly sad, but true) so it’s absolutely imperative that you have a strong web presence for your brand/products. Most events are promoted heavily online and organisers want to promote you; do them a favour and have a GOOD place for them to send potential customers!
Whilst I’m going to touch on a few good avenues to be present online, Event Organisers don’t want to send people to your Facebook page, they want to send them to your website. Your awesome website. Your awesome website that has current photos of your products, and clear contact details. A blog is completely sufficient, provided it has the aforementioned features.
As a potential customer, it can be quite frustrating when trying to track down an artist and/or crafter and you can’t find anything online about them, or worse; you find their blog and it doesn’t have any contact details OR any photos/information of their products.
There are a number of avenues for you to help create an online presence and it’s not expensive. In no particular order, I present to you…
- Facebook: An FB page is simple, free and a great way for your fans to be able to keep an eye on what you are up to. You don’t need to bombard your page with updates, but be sure to keep up-to-date photo albums of your products/wares. If you are attending an event – post about it on here. Check out this Infographic on getting your FB page setup!
- Twitter: This isn’t for everyone, and only a good business tool if you actually use it. Here are some great tips of how to use Twitter
- Blog: A blog is no doubt the most common means of online presence amongst crafters/artists and the fantastic thing about blogs is that they are completely customisable and nowadays don’t even like a blog. You can integrate your online store, link to your other social media platforms and engage with your customers.
- Blogger and WordPress are both effective, easy to use platforms.
- Online Shop: You don’t need to have your own website to sell online, there are LOADS of other fantastic places you can setup shop to sell your wares. There are marketplaces like Etsy, Felt.co.nz or Storenvy (which is neat because you have both your own store AND your wares are in the marketplace), or independent stores you can setup and promote yourself like bigcartel or shopify
- Flickr: So simple. So effective. Get yourself a free flickr account and create albums of your products/wares. Keep them up-to-date and use links to your latest creations when applying for markets/fairs.
Keep your products cohesive and try to be unique.
You are applying for an event along with LOADS of other eager crafters and artisans – make your application stand out! Apart from having a great product, how well all your products work together is right up there on the list of positives for applicants. If you want to be in with a better chance then pick a product style and stick to it. Organisers are looking for unique, well made products and try to avoid having tables filled with a mish-mash of items. Jewellery is one product range that is always in abundance amongst applications, so you’ll probably need to be unique in order to get attention in this category.
Unique ideas and new vendors are usually the first to catch Organisers attention. Organisers like to make sure their event is kept fresh and up-to-date so if you have something unique that fits within the realms of their event, then you’re much more likely to be accepted.
Take and submit GREAT photos
Photos of your products can make or break your application so it’s imperative that you take time and care when photographing them. If you can’t afford to pay a professional photographer to shoot your products (and let’s be honest, not many crafters/artists can), then do your utmost to make them as professional as possible. Make sure they are taken in a well lit environment, make sure the photos aren’t blurry, and be sure that they accurately, as best as possible, represent what your product looks like in real life. Staging products is a really good idea as it helps to give a good idea of the size/proportions of your wares against other items. There are lots of neat tutorials available on line to help you with ideas and tips. Here is one that I particularly liked.
If the Organisers ask for a photo of what your intended display will look like, find the BEST photo of your display and provide that. If you don’t have any, then make a HUGE effort and mock it up at home. Seriously, displays as part of an event are just as, if not more, important as the products themselves. Get creative, keep it simple and make your product display standout!
If your application displays professionalism and consistency it shows the organisers that you take your craft seriously. When choosing vendors to be part of their event, it’s important to them that they are working with people that are committed and reliable. If your application is filled with typos, and has incomplete or inconsistent information it doesn’t make a very good impression. If you can’t make an effort when you are applying, how can they expect for you to make an effort on the day?
Be nice to the Event Organisers
We don’t mean grease up to the Organisers, simply be nice and respectful. Put yourself in their shoes for a minute and think about the enormity of the task they are undertaking. It takes a lot of organising and coordinating to pull together a successful event and the easier you make it for them, the better for everyone; I’m speaking on behalf of all event organisers.
If they have clearly stated when applications will be opening on the website/blog then please don’t send them emails asking them when applications will be opening. If they have a specific application form they’d like you to fill out to apply, please don’t send them emails attaching photos and links and asking them whether or not you can be part of the event.
Always, and I mean always, check their website (or Facebook page) to try and find answers to questions you may have BEFORE emailing them. Their inbox’s are no doubt full of other important tasks, and responding to emails that ask questions where the information is readily available on their website, is not going to be high on their priority list.
And lastly, as we’ve already mentioned before, not everyone can be accepted. If you are aren’t fortunate enough to be selected, be graceful and try not to get upset or angry about it. There are a number of possible reasons you were unsuccessful, but sending an email to the Organisers demanding an explanation won’t do you any favours. Just chin up, keep refining your product and apply again next time. Perhaps your product display/products weren’t quite up to par with the other applicants or sometimes, and more often than not, it’s just a matter of too many similar products or a need to rotate regular vendors.