Bazaar Bizarre Maker Faire Applications Now Open!

Time to apply for the Bazaar Bizarre Maker Faire 2010!  Now accepting applications through March 16th 2010.

Maker Faire is a two-day, family-friendly event that celebrates the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset. It’s for creative, resourceful people of all ages and backgrounds who like to tinker and love to make things. From a vendor standpoint, this fair is AMAZING.  I make more sales at the Maker Faire than at any other fair ever.  Period.  Also, on load-in day there’s free dinner and a chance to visit everything and meet everyone without the huge crowds.  This is a huge bonus because the exhibits (and rides!) at the Maker Faire are hands-down the coolest you’ll ever see.  Of course, this also makes getting a booth at the Baz Biz Maker Faire extremely competitive, so bring your A-game to this application, folks!

New Show Added to Bazaar Bizarre SF Line Up!

This one’s got a really quick turnaround, so be sure to act quickly if you want to participate.  I for one am thrilled to have the chance to beef up my mid-winter income, which is typically kind of a slow season for me.

Here’s the info:

Bazaar Bizarre San Francisco and Maker Faire

Artist Village Volume 2: Valentine’s Day


Saturday February 13, 2010 from 12pm-8pm

Vendor Applications Now Being Accepted

Continuing our new collaborative series, NEW PEOPLE and BAZAAR BIZARRE SAN FRANCISCO will create another all-day, all-floor vertical art village to celebrate Valentine’s Day!

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?
Did you know in Japan, it is only the women who give presents to men on Valentine’s Day?  Traditionally chocolates are given to loved ones, friends and colleagues. Whether you’ll celebrate the Eastern or Western tradition…you should come Explore Japanese Pop Culture, cutting edge art, film and gifts at NEW PEOPLE!  Buy a fresh bouquet of flowers, Sample FREE locally made chocolates, groove along with our Local DJ, pop into the FREE photo sticker booth, pick out Handmade Gifts from Bazaar Bizarre artists and stop at the Complimentary gift wrap station to send it off in style!

About NEW PEOPLE
NEW PEOPLE is a 20,000 square foot, striking, contemporary building located at 1746 Post Street in the heart of San Francisco’s Japantown (one of only three remaining in the country). The project represents a $15 million investment by Shogakukan, one of the largest publishers of Japan. NEW PEOPLE will become a destination in itself and a source of stimulation for both San Francisco locals and tourists, bringing a new cultural energy to an area filled with history. With three stories above and a basement below, NEW PEOPLE will share Japanese cinema, retail and art, all under one roof!  More Information About NEW PEOPLE Here

NEW PEOPLE
1746 Post St,
San Francisco, CA 94115

[email protected]

Bazaar Bizarre SF Holiday Show Application is Up!

This is my favorite craft fair.  Period.  The organizers take such good care of you in every way.  It can be tough to get in (the odds are about 1 in 3) but the organizers make a commitment to bringing in a significant number of new vendors every year (at the last fair in May it was 50% new vendors).  You can find the application here.  Last day to apply is September 21st.  Notifications are sent on September 30th.

Craftland Application is Up

The annual Providence, RI holiday season craftavaganza (yeah, I said it) is back and the application is now up. The show takes place 12/4-12/31. Craftland works a little differently than most other shows you’re used to in that they don’t charge a booth fee (it’s in a retail store), they take a commission — 30% if you volunteer 12 hours, 40% if not.  This makes it a really good first show or one to try out new products — you only pay money if you make money.  It’s also good if you can’t be in town but your products are easy and inexpensive to ship.  Early bird deadline is 8/14, final deadline is 8/31.  Apply here!

Oh, and if you’re psyched for Craftland but already booked up for the holidays, get psyched because Craftland is going year-round!  That’s right, folks, seven days a week at 235 Westminster Street in downtown Providence, RI (oh, the nostalgia!).

Three More Days to Apply for Bazaar Bizarre

This Wednesday, April 1st, is the deadline to apply for the May Bazaar Bizarre, which takes place during the Maker Faire in San Mateo on May 30-31st.  If you make your own wares, and you only have the time/budget to do one craft fair this year, apply for the Bazaar Bizarre.  Not only is it by FAR the least expensive to participate in ($130 for the entire weekend!), they really take care of you, providing dollies, load-in help, and free food and drinks all day long.  They even have volunteers to man your booth while you take a bathroom break or go get lunch!

The spring Bazaar Bizarre is always extremely well-attended.  60,000 people went to last year’s Maker Faire, and I think most of them came through the Bazaar.  Most of the time it was so packed I couldn’t even see the booth across from mine.  Last year it took the organizers a full hour after closing time to get customers to stop shopping and leave.  Having learned from experience, this year’s Bazaar will run two hours longer.

There are only 70 booths available for the Bazaar Bizarre, so competition is pretty stiff — usually two to three vendors vying for each spot.  But the organizers are committed to always reserving a certain percentage of booths for new crafters, so even if you haven’t been accepted before, keep applying.

Review of May Events: Capsule Design Festival

I have attended two previous Capsule events as a shopper, but this was my first time as a vendor.  All in all it was worth it (I made about twice the cost of my booth) but it wasn’t an investment with major returns.

The event happened on Sunday, May 25th, from 11-6, on several blocks surrounding Patricia’s Green in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco. The booth fee is a fairly steep $190, considering you are not provided with shelter, parking or furniture of any kind.  We all got nervous when it rained the day before, and a chance of rain was predicted for the day of the festival as well.  Luckily, things stayed dry.  If nice weather had been assured, the turnout may have been better, but nonetheless there was a pretty steady stream of customers throughout the day.  I was set up on Linden Street, however, and a fellow vendor told me that his table on Octavia Street between Hayes and Grove was only receiving about half the traffic — a good thing to know considering you get to choose your own table location.

Compared to other craft/handmade events, the Capsule Festival has a reputation for being a little too cool for school.  It’s definitely hip and on the high end price-wise, but it seems like a good venue for artists whose goods are too time-intensive and costly for the average craft fair.  At Capsule, there are plenty of buyers who are prepared to spend over $100 on a well-made item, provided you accept plastic.

Scattered thinly amongst the uber-hip artisans were a few typical “street fair wear” booths.  Their goods may have been technically handmade, but not by anyone in the U.S.  I heard complaints from some artists who were placed next to such ventures, since their prices were glaringly cheaper, and a few customers were so relieved to finally find a “bargain” that they failed to realize that they came out to Capsule just to shop at H&M.  I know that Capsule juries it’s applications, and I know that they walk the fair themselves, so I can’t imagine they allow such vendors to return in the future.  It used to say specifically on their website that Capsule is not a venue for mass-produced discount merchandise, but I can’t find that statement anymore.  Maybe the definition of “independent design” has changed?

Depending on my schedule and how busy I am in general, I may sign up for the October Capsule Festival.  It’s right in my neighborhood so it’s ridiculously convenient.  It’s also nice to have an event earlier in the holiday season.  You can do some first-hand market research before the big rush and adjust your inventory accordingly.

Tip: Sunscreen the [email protected]$T out of yourself before any seven-hour outdoor event.  I had such a wicked raccoon tan I couldn’t take my sunglasses off in public for a week.

Review of May Events: Bazaar Bizarre @ Maker Faire

(May 3-4th) This was the third annual spring Bazaar Bizarre held in conjunction with Make magazine’sMaker Faire.” I love participating in this event but it has changed drastically from year to year, so you never really know what it’s going to be like.

At the first Maker Faire, the Bazaar Bizarre was pretty small, and held outdoors. I didn’t vend that year, I only visited, so I don’t know much else about it. The second year, the Baz Biz moved indoors to a huge hangar-like pavilion. There were hundreds of vendors, and we shared the space with the main stage and dozens of workshops, demonstrations and displays. Many customers complained that they felt confused and overwhelmed by the barrage of multi-sensory stimuli, so the Bazaar switched gears again. This year’s event was held indoors, in a comparatively small and carpeted room. There were fewer than half as many vendors as last year, and the overall atmosphere was much quieter and calmer. Even the knitting drummer was deemed too disruptive and made to move outside. Had she not been a vendor, I think the postcard “machine” may have been next.

As usual, Jaime and her family were on-hand to make sure everyone was fed, happy and provided for. This year they also started a raffle to help offset the cost of running the event, to which I happily donated a Family Size Hambone. Anything that helps keep the Baz Biz the best deal in town ($120 for the whole weekend!) is something I will fully support.

The only area which could have been improved was parking. It was a bit confusing getting to the lot, and also figuring out at which gate to park once you were inside. I had to move my car twice. There also seemed to be some confusion about whether or not vendors had to pay for parking. I was told, for example, that parking would be free in the following instances: if I left the lot immediately after loading in; if I moved my car to the far end of the lot, where I would not be competing with paying customers; if I arrived prior to 8am. All of these statements were either false or not communicated properly to the booth attendants, because we had to pay the full parking price both days. It wasn’t really a big deal, but it would have been nice to have definite information about everything in advance.

All in all, the Baz Biz was totally worth it (and always is). I cashed in about 50% more than last year and even got a couple of return customers this weekend at the Capsule Festival. As an added bonus, on my way to get lunch I saw a wedding at the life-sized Mouse Trap game! The giant weight at the end crushed a white wedding cake, which was a little sad but also kind of awesome.

New L.A. Area Craft Fair: Handmade Brigade

Here’s one for all you SoCal Biz Misses:

Handmade Brigade Craft Fair
Saturday, July 12th
Tall Mouse Arts and Crafts in Cerritos, CA

Application period: May 3rd-31st
Fee: $30, includes table and two chairs
Vendors notified by June 7th

This might be a good craft fair to apply to if you live within driving distance and you’ve never done one before.  You have very little money to spend up front and since it’s happening in a craft store, you’ll have a walk-in audience whether they knew about it or not.  I personally don’t know anything about the Tall Mouse stores, though, including how well equipped they are to host such an event. If you live in the area and are considering applying, I would go check out the Cerritos location and see how big it is, what the lighting is like, etc. They are ultimately accepting 30 vendors in that space.

It was difficult for me to find the application page (even though the entire web site is only three pages), so I’m linking to it here.  I didn’t realize you had to click on the little blinking advertisement because it only says “click for more info” on the fourth frame or so.

The Rumors are True

The Renegade Craft Fair is happening in San Francisco July 12-13th! Unfortunately, I didn’t find out until this past weekend, which happened to be a week after the application deadline.  Luckily, there are many other craft fairs happening in the area this season with applications still open.

AltCraft: (American Craft Council) August 15-17th at Fort Mason.

  • Cost: $300 for three days, 10 ft. booth space.
  • Deadline: May 23rd (e-mail [email protected] for more info)
  • Comments: Fort Mason doesn’t really get foot traffic.  Luckily, AltCraft is well established so they get a good number of visitors.  I might consider applying for this is it weren’t happening the same weekend as my wedding!

Mission Bazaar: May 17-18th at the Armory at 14th & Mission

  • Cost: $300 for two days, 8 x 10 ft. booth space, includes table and two chairs.
  • Deadline: Today!  Payment deadline extended to May 13th.
  • Comments: This is happening the same weekend as Bay to Breakers and the public is being charged $5 admission, perhaps to cover the cost of entertainers.  I’m going to wait until the holiday Mission Bazaar at least.

Roadworks: (Center for the Book) September 20th on De Haro Street between 16th & 17th (12-5pm)

  • Cost: $80 for a full table, $40 for half
  • Deadline: June 13th (tables $100/$50 after deadline)
  • Comments: Sounds like a cool, fun event (they print linoleum carvings with a steamroller) but it’s only five hours long.  I’ve got some time to think about it.

While I fully support having outlets for crafters to sell their wares I have to wonder, are all these craft fairs saturating the market?  I mean, Baz Biz, Mission Bazaar and Capsule in May, Renegade in July, AltCraft in August and Roadworks in September gives San Francisco residents more than one event every month.  Even I don’t shop for gifts that often.  I fear that with application fees rising and more events crowding the calendar that fewer crafters will be able to afford to vend.  That means customers would start seeing the same people over and over (a complaint I’ve already started hearing) and attendance would start to drop off. It’s a vicious economic cycle, I know, but I don’t want to see it hurt the handmade “industry” by turning craft businesses into a passing fad.

Baz Biz Maker Faire 2008

baz biz header

Well folks, it’s that time of year again. The Maker Faire is coming up and the Bazaar Bizarre is accepting applications for this much-anticipated springtime event. The Faire is happening Saturday and Sunday, May 3rd and 4th at the San Mateo Fairgrounds in San Mateo, CA.  Visit this page for more specific info about the craft fair.

I can’t recommend the Bazaar Bizarre highly enough (see my review of the Holiday Baz Biz here). It is run like a well-oiled machine that hands out milk and cookies and it gives you incredible bang for your buck. Here are some of great benefits of participating:

  • The booth fee is only $110 for the entire weekend. I’ve always grossed at least ten times that, so it’s definitely worth it.
  • You get into the Maker Faire for free. Bring a couple of friends to work the table with you and you can take turns going to awesome free workshops and demos all weekend.
  • Jamie Chan is not only extremely nice, she’s totally on top of her shit. I’ve never had to go looking for chairs or parking and she always provides snacks, drinks, and craft fair survival kits (courtesy of the Sampler) to the vendors.
  • There’s always lots of local press roaming around.
  • No matter who they are, your booth neighbors will be awesome.
  • Post-show trading! You can do your gift shopping early and barter for all of it.

I know there’s more, but I just can’t think of it right now. People come from all over the country to sell at this event, so this is not just a posting for local folks. Especially if you’re within driving distance, it’s worth it in my opinion to apply.