Let me start off by saying I am not an expert but over the years I have been accepted by shows, been rejected by shows, curated several shows, and sat on several jury panels. I am constantly being asked “How do I wow the judges?”. So here are steps and tips to help your application STAND OUT from the rest!
What is a juried Craft Show?
Most larger craft shows are juried. The jurying process usually involves sending in an application that includes photos of your work, description of your craft and in some cases a resume. When you call or send for an application form, all the information regarding the jurying process will be included. In rare cases you may have to send in actual samples of your work, however, this is becoming less common practice.
Typically, a selection committee will look over your application and photos and will then make their choice based on originality, creativity, quality of craft and booth design. There are two main components to juried craft shows applications; vendor statement and photos of your work.
Step 1 (READ/Fill out the application):
– Take your time, complete the application (every section)
– Avoid general statements
– Fill out the application neatly
– READ the rules and regulations page
– ALWAYS submit everything the application asks
– Mention which shows you have previously exhibited at (especially other juried shows)
Avoid general statements like “handmade jewellery pieces”, this wont ‘wow’ the selection committee. Rather how are you different. What makes your business unique? You want to be short, to the point and wow the judges at the same time – A very difficult task.
– Impress the judges with amazing images
– NEVER send a bad image
– Think about the order of your images (the best photo first)
– avoid collage pictures (it’s harder to see your work)
ALWAYS submit high quality photos. High quality images are one of the most important piece of your application. The jury can not see or touch your products, your photos MUST be a true representation of your work. NEVER under any circumstances send a BAD photo. Blurry, unfocused photos wont ‘wow’ the judges. Don’t rush take your time. Avoid sending photos of similar products. You only have 2-5 photos to sell yourself. Choose photos that illustrate a variety of your pieces, different techniques and products. The background of the photos should be clean (white usually is best). Judges can tell if you took a photo on your kitchen table, counter or carpet. Applications are automatically declined in the event no photos are submitted. Only submit the required number of photos (not more/not less).
Step 3 (Your booth photo):
Surprisingly this step is the MOST common forgotten step in an application. Read the application carefully, most state a booth photo or sketch. Next time you are at a show, don’t forget to snap a photo of your booth. This gives the jury committee an overall sense of your booth. They want booths to look professional (less garage/sale flea market style). A booth photo can sometime be your ticket to success. This is also another way you can make your application stand out. If you have never participated in a show, set-up a demo booth in your home.
Step 4 (Payments/Deposits):
If a show requests a deposit, send the deposit with the application. The jury committee doesn’t like to ‘chase’ people. Again read the rules, what is the amount, where are you sending it. Is there tax included.
Step 5 (If the jury ASKS A QUESTION):
Sometimes the jury committee will reach out to applicants if there is something unclear on the application. Proptly reply.
We hope these steps help you ‘WOW’ judges the next time you apply to a juried craft show.