Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Vendors at One of a Kind Craft Show may benefit from a social media 101
I went to the One of a Kind Spring Show and Sale on Sunday for the first time in years.
As expected, lots had changed – newish venue – the Direct Energy Centre is a terrific spot with lots of room for people to move around. Exhibitors have enough room to really strut their stuff. I liked the smaller kiosks featuring first-time exhibitors too.
There was the usual – jewelry, home decor, photography, paintings, accessories, clothing and food and the unusual – decorative bowls made out of real fruits and vegetables (can you see the carrot slices above?). I liked the focus on green and sustainable items too. There were lots of things – especially jewelry that were neither one-of-a-kind nor original.
Two things surprised me:
• Some vendors weren’t taking advantage of e-commerce and selling online. It’s a no-brainer to set up an Etsy shop.
• Many vendors didn’t like having pictures taken of their kiosk or creations
As for the latter, I can understand their concerns about being knocked off (see my earlier comment about the lack of originality). Some artists showed a distrust of prospective customers and/or fans. They wanted control of how their works would be photographed and shared. I tested the waters a bit. I took some photos without asking, some photos with asking, explained why I wanted to take photos and even offered to delete a photo – fortunately, no one demanded I delete any images. FYI, show organizers create displays throughout the venue and no one balks when pictures are taken.
Control isn’t just about the written message but about the visual one as well. One vendor/artist handed me his card and told me to use the images on the website – he wanted to have full control of any imagery of his work.
Unfortunately, these artists have no idea of the power of online word of mouth and how people will celebrate and share their work online. They didn’t seem to understand or care that I was helping them market their businesses. (For the record, I usually don’t use the fact that I blog to push my weight around. Domistyle Inc. was more than happy to accommodate my photo snapping. They were familiar with Bargainista too and found a new fan. Aren’t their aprons the cutest?)
One suggestion I have for the One of a Kind organizers next fall is to help educate the exhibitors teach them the power organic, online marketing and social networking has in driving awareness and sales.
As for retail stores, it used to be you couldn’t take any pictures inside. These days, retailers are softening up although I often ask for permission when inside since they own/lease the property. I don’t pay to be there so I feel the need to be respectful.
When at the One of a Kind or another show where I’m paying to attend, the vendors are being giving access to potential customers who otherwise would never see their skills and craftsmanship, I feel I have more of a right to create a journal (text or photo) of my experience.
What do you think? Are bloggers and/or other online content creators wrong to think they can photograph when the inspiration strikes? Do we need to ask permission first? Am I missing the mark and should I be asking permission before taking any photos?