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Fall + Holiday Shows around the Midwest!

The handmade season is upon us! Makers are working their magic building up holiday inventory while still hustling their way through the summer fairs and festivals. Fans of DIY can start planning their shopping lists while makers can explore new markets to sell their handmade items.

Want to make sure you get access to early bird tickets? Sign up for our emails to get details on the next con in 2020 — Early Bird tickets will go on sale September 1st!

Know any other indie craft shows that should be on our list? Add them in the comments!


Holiday Gift Guide for Creatives

Crafters are amazing gift givers. We spend the whole year creating new products and designs so when the holiday season comes around our shoppers and loyal customers can give handmade trinkets and treasures to their loved ones.

But shopping for a creative-minded person can be tricky. We’re often perfectionists, and we’re always just as likely to make something ourselves as we are to buy something nice for ourselves. We’ve compiled our personal gift guide of must-haves and must-gives, one practical and one just for fun, so you can steal some gift ideas for crafters.

Megan’s Picks

Dapper pomade: As a soap maker, I have no shortage of bath and beauty products available to me. But even if you work at McDonalds, sometimes you just want some Burger King. The personal care soaps and stuff from Orange Fuzz, crafty friends from Cincinnati, are a must-buy on my own shopping list. Their soaps are finely crafted with great scents, and their Dapper pomade comes in three sizes ($7 to $25). It is like my version of crack. I can’t wear enough of it.

orange fuzz dapper pomade

Trunk with wheels: I am a sucker for practical things in my life. While not very glamorous, this is a highly useful storage container with wheels for products, electrical cords and tools and everything else a crafter needs on the go. It can also double as a seat! This trunk ($52) is available at The Container Store.

container store trunk with wheels

Grace’s Picks

MT washi tape: I’ve got a serious problem when it comes to this pretty Japanese paper tape, and MT brand is the only one that I collect obsessively, parceling out tiny strips so it lasts longer. The number of rolls on my desk is somewhere around 30, and I may or may not have just bought another batch online this week. But it’s so pretty! And you can use it for everything! I do use it on all my official craft correspondence so I’m calling this washi tape (about $4 per roll) a business expense.

washi tape

Smartphone camera lenses: I discovered the Olloclip clip-on smartphone lenses last year when I was assigned to write a story about the company’s founder. I was immediately sold on the concept: The four-in-one lens snaps onto your smartphone (with accompanying case, of course), letting you take fisheye, wide-angle and macro pictures on the front or rear camera with the clarity of a much more expensive DSLR. The rose-gold Olloclip ($79) even matches my iPhone!

olloclip lenses

Brit’s Picks

Coffee gift set: As if I wasn’t caffeinating enough during craft show season, after my show is over I love to treat myself to great coffee. I would love to get or gift this box set of coffee varietals ($24) from my favorite local source, Akron Coffee Roasters!


Field Notes notebooks: These pocket size notebooks are the ultimate tool for any maker. Field Notes comes out with limited edition sets all the time, and this Expedition set ($9.95 for three) is even waterproof! If you’re buying some for me, make sure they have graph paper inside. 🙂

Field notes expedition notebooks

What do Midwest Craft Con attendees want? 

We asked the lovely people in our Facebook group what they’d like as a gift this year, and the biggest wish is downtime. So if you’re looking to surprise a crafter you care about, consider booking a massage appointment or buying them a gift card to their favorite coffee house.


For example: a ticket to Midwest Craft ConGive the creative in your life a ticket to our craft conference, and they can enjoy the down time before spring craft show season starts up while recharging their energy and making new business connections. The ticket includes access to all three days of our conference, plus access to our private Facebook group, and social activities at the con. We’ll see you there!


Holiday Craft Show Survival Guide

Craft show season is starting to ramp up, and if you’re a seller doing a different show every weekend, it can be truly grueling. But you have to perform at your best, because you might be making half of your annual income in the next two months. Here are our six best suggestions for preparing for the holidays so you have a successful selling season:

  • Set mini goals: Inventory production might seem overwhelming leading up to the holidays, but we find that if you break big tasks into bite size chunks, procrastination becomes much less of a problem. Rather than write “Make 500 things” on your to-do list, break it down into steps that you can more easily check off, like:
    • Print packaging
    • trim packaging
    • reorder googly eyes
    • fold cards
    • glitter airbrushing
    • eat lunch
      Don’t underestimate the satisfaction you feel from checking a thing off your list, no matter how small.
  • Do a trial run: Especially if you’re trying out a new booth or table setup, test out your design in your home before you take it on the road. See how long it takes to set up, and take pictures of how it looks when you’ve got it just right so you can remember which pieces go where. Also try packing it all up to make sure the gear fits in your car.
  • Don’t forget your email list: If you don’t yet have an email list, start one now. Have nice sign-up sheets visible at your booth or table. We love the email service Mailchimp, and Abby Glassenberg has great advice on building an email newsletter, which she’ll also be talking about at Midwest Craft Con in February!
  • Take time for self care: Holiday season can be crazy busy and stressful, so it is of the utmost importance to be nice to yourself. Do one thing every day that is just for you, whether it’s a long, hot shower, a delightfully strong coffee, a nap or a five-minute dance party. In the weeks before my big show, I try to make a bunch of freezable crockpot concoctions so that I’m still eating well when I don’t have time to cook. There are lots more good ideas for self care here.
  • Spread the word about your shows: On your store website and social media pages, be sure to let your fans know where you’ll be and when. It helps your fans buy from you, and I can tell you that craft show organizers love the assistance in spreading the word.
  • Make a list and check it twice: How many times have you packed up for a show only to realize when you arrive that you forgot your Square, your snacks or any change whatsoever? It’s happened to us more times than we’d like to admit. Crafty Supermarket created this printable Day-of-Show Seller Checklist to help crafters everywhere stay on track and have more successful shows! Click the image below to download the checklist (the file has two lists per 8.5″x11″ page) and print it out to use for your next craft shows:

craft show seller checklist

You are welcome to print this PDF out and share it with your crafty friends! The checklist is excerpted from The Crafty Superstar Ultimate Craft Business Guide by Midwest Craft Con co-organizer Grace Dobush.

Is there anything else you’d add to our list of suggestions for surviving holiday craft show season?