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Juried VS Non-Juried Arts and Crafts Shows

I get a lot of questions about the difference between Juried vs. Non-Juried shows. My first recommendation is: If you are just starting out, go to non-juried shows to gain your confidence and to learn about how to present your product and displays. Once you've done that, you are ready to move on to juried shows.

Non-Juried Craft Shows

A non-juried show is one that you can apply to without having to present your work in advance. You basically pay the fee and get your spot or booth at the show. It's great for first timers and newbie craft show participants as the costs are typically reasonable and the hours aren't too bad. You'll typically pay $100 or less to exhibit at non-juried shows. The shows are usually smaller community shows, like Christmas bazaars at churches, community parks, schools etc.

I started by showing at a non-juried Christmas bazaar at a local elementary school. I had a blast! For my first show, it was perfect, I had a small table and could experiment with presentation ideas and it only cost me $35 for the table. The show was also an annual one so it had a good following in the community. I made $600 on that show (which is very good for a small local show). But don't expect to make a ton at these, they are kind of a needle in a haystack approach, try them out if they work great if not try a different one.

If the show has a history and has been done successfully in the past, you should have a good experience. If it's a first year show, it's a gamble, and you basically will be the vendor trying it out to see if it works. Some great questions to ask the organizers:

Ultimately, non-juried shows are a great way to start your business, learn what works and what doesn't and gains confidence at shows. Once you have this basis move onto Juried shows! You can always keep going to the non-juried shows that have been successful for you as they cost significantly less than juried.

Juried Shows require that you apply in advance and send a portfolio of your work, including pictures, a resume, shows attended, and a fee to apply. You will get the specifics for each shows requirements after contacting them and getting the application kit, but typically you will have one or more of the above components. The reason shows have them juried is to make sure there is a good mix of vendors for the attendees and they get more applications then they have spots.

Once your application is submitted a committee will look over your portfolio and will then make their choice based on originality, creativity, marketability, general appeal, comparable to other submissions and quality of craft and booth design. (this is where your non-juried experience will help you). It's a great feeling when you are selected for your first juried show, or for that matter selected for any juried show!

Things to keep in mind for juried shows (make sure to ask the same questions as you would with non-juried shows):

Which type should you attend?

You can do just as well at both non-juried and juried shows (relative to the attendee numbers) However, the most important thing is to research the shows:

Good luck and have a great show!