Biz Tuesday: Outdoor Vending

Well, we're less than six weeks away from our Spring Market! We know many of you vendors are in that busy but fun preparation mode--creating, building inventory, organizing, and crossing off lists. And you shoppers--well, it's time to start Spring cleaning to make some room for all the cool things you'll gather up at the Horseshoe :) This upcoming weekend would be perfect for a yard sale to get rid of the old and make room for new--it's supposed to be 70 degrees both days. Yay!

Today, we've got another helpful business post from Amy Kalinchuk from Craft e-Revolution with great tips about outdoor vending at fairs and markets. As you prepare your booth, use the checklist below and the checklist from one of last year's posts, The Booth, to make sure you have all your ducks in a row!


As mentioned in a recent post, it’s time to get ready for outdoor fairs! If you’ve never done one before, fear not. Below is my personal checklist for when I vend outdoors. If you have something to add to the list, please leave a comment—we are here to learn, right? I’m certain my checklist isn’t comprehensive, but it works for me. Feel free to steal it and adapt it for yourself, this craft fair season.

• Tent (with or without walls--see The Booth post for where to buy tents)

• Tables and tablecloths

• Chair

• Signs and Banners

• Tent décor, such as bunting

• Bungee cords (for signs and weights)

• Weights for the tent (You must have these so your tent doesn't fly away or hit someone! Buy them with your tent, or make them easily and cheaply here)

• Table display items (boxes, shelves, etc.)

• Products to sell (!)

• Bags for merchandise

• Money box w/$100 in change

• Credit card acceptance tool (whatever that is—I use a Square)

• Credit card acceptance sign

• Clipboard with inventory sheet
-Notes should include total retail sales tax collected and any percentage fee paid
-Tally marks next to inventory list

• Business cards

• Notebook and pen for collecting email addresses for your newsletter list

• Pens and pencils, Sharpie markers, for yourself

• Duct tape & scissors (Just in case you need it)

• Hand sanitizer

• Toilet paper (Just in case! Portable toilets are, by their very nature, unpredictable)

• Tissues

• Cell phone

• Cooler w/snacks or lunch, and water

• Clean hair, face, teeth, and clothes

Amy Kalinchuk writes about crafting and business, and publishes others at Craft e-Revolution. Feel free to contact her through her website about your ideas for a photographed craft tutorial ebook.

Inspiration Monday

After spending the weekend in the garden, we're inspired by all things earthy. Nothing like the feel of good, cold dirt on your hands, and nothing more satisfying than seeing your first sprouts come up! And did we mention that we will have a gardening theme for our Spring Market? In addition to some rad spring vendors, Denver Urban Gardens will be joining us :)

Here are some earthy items from some lovely 2011 Horseshoe vendors! Enjoy.
Oh--and this week we'll be starting some giveaways! Check out (and follow and fan!) our Facebook and Twitter pages for details in the coming days...

Art, purpose and making life fun...

I posted this video on the Horseshoe blog last year, but I stumbled upon it again this morning. And it was as fresh and sweet as ever.

And just as inspiring as the first time I watched it.

Have a happy Friday, and a creative, juicy weekend!

Inspiration Monday

some of our lovely Spring and Summer featured vendors: 1. Green Jeans 2. Objects of Affection
3. The Gold Bug 4. Curious Lottie's

We keep talking about Spring. Well, Spring officially came yesterday! We are inspired by soft spring colors and our great Featured Vendors. We are rounding up our Spring Featured Vendors profiles, so look for them here (page is still under construction) and on Facebook in the coming weeks.

Also, our Spring Market is coming together in a fantastic way. In the next few weeks, we'll start to tell you about some of the special vendors that will be at the market! Have a great week, everyone!


It seems that in the past few weeks, we've noticed a lot of folks talking about the upcoming market season in Colorado. Vendors are getting busy figuring out booth set-up, buying tents, and creating and collecting their goods. In the next few weeks, we'll have some great vendor-focused posts about how to get ready for the Horseshoe and markets, in general.

Along with the frenetic buzz of "to do's" that come with preparations for the upcoming market season, I can't help but think there's more "stuff" going on. On one hand, there's excitement, busyness, anticipation, but I think there's also a bit of "Holy crap! What am I doing?! Who do I think I am? I'm going to sell MY stuff? Are people gonna like it/buy it/etc?" Maybe those of you who've done markets for a long time don't have a lot of that anymore. However, there are a lot of you newbies out there so maybe you're feeling that.

In a nutshell, it seems that in this prep-time, or any time when we're preparing for an unfolding our dreams--there's this really fun excitement topped with a big scoop of fear and vulnerability. On that note, I wanted to share a video of one of my favorite people, Brene Brown. She a vulnerability researcher and has one of the most-watched TED videos out there. Here's one of her great, funny, real TED talks about vulnerability and living to the fullest. Not only should we embrace our vulnerability (watch and you'll understand), but it can actually lead to a more connected, abundant life. Enjoy!

Biz Tuesday: Staying in Touch with Customers

We have Amy from Craft e-Revolution here again today with some important crafty business tips about keeping in touch with your customers. Thanks, Amy!

It is imperative, when selling online or at fairs, for a crafter to keep a newsletter list. This is my opinion, based on my experience. These are my reasons why:

1. Staying in touch with your customers leads to increased sales. Every time I send a newsletter, I make an online sale. Every time.

2. Having a conversation with your customers helps you to build a better business. If you engage in conversation with your loyal followers, they will help direct you. Ask them what they like, and they will tell you. When a customer says, “Ooh! You should make X thing,” and you then hear that same statement from two other customers, maybe you should listen. My best-selling soap scent came from a newsletter question: what scents do you think I should make?

3. Making your list opt-in leads to better sales. If every person in your list made the active choice to receive it, then they are a captive audience. They want to hear what’s going on in your life, what new stuff you are working on, and where you will vend. Do not miss the opportunity to sell to them.

4. Ask your list for a favor, and they will often deliver. Going along with point 3 above, if you ask your loyal list-followers to do something for you, they will often do it. They will forward your newsletter to one friend, will recommend you to their family, and will show up at your next craft fair, with friends in tow. They will review you on Yelp, follow you on Facebook and Twitter, and will participate in a contest in order to win things from you. They love you! Accept it.

5. Keeping a schedule with newsletters keeps your loyal customers engaged, and keeps you focused on your work. If you have calendar alerts help you, you can keep sales coming in and keep your customers aware of your plans. Maintaining a newsletter schedule keeps you on your toes—you can’t let things languish, or else your customers will deplete your stores and you will be scrambling. Publishing your plans helps you to stay on track.

If you haven’t started a newsletter list yet, this is something you should do right now. You have to start with one person, and you can find one. Just once, just this one time, send an email to all your friends and family, telling them you are starting a newsletter. Promise them you won’t send a mass email like that again, because you want them to sign up through the link you include. (And always use the BCC feature in your newsletter emails—you don’t want to publish their emails to each other.)

Want to start right now? I use Mad Mimi, and I think you should too. It is super easy to use, and the staff are amazing. You can sign up for free—you can have up to 100 people on your newsletter list for no charge at all.

This is the Action Girl on Biz Tuesday saying, “Get busy! Write a newsletter!”

Amy Kalinchuk is an author and publisher at Craft e-Revolution where she is currently formatting a photographed craft tutorial scheduled to come out in April. Stay tuned!

Inspiration Monday

Last week was a tough week for the world. The Japanese earthquakes and tsunamis were unbelievable and devastating. Watching the videos of communities collapsing in a matter of a few minutes was beyond the wildest Hollywood movie scene. It's so devastating how quickly life can change. And how much we really are at the mercy of nature. We have so many ways to build up our false sense of control! The truth is that we don't have a lot of control in life. The things we can control are how we help others and the amount of gratitude we can muster up for all that we do have.

Today, I'm so inspired by people helping people. People giving back. And for that, I am grateful!
And I love how handmade can be a vehicle to make the world better! Lots of Etsians are running specials in their shops--if you buy something, they will give a percentage of proceeds to organizations that support relief efforts. There was even an announcement by Etsy on how your shop could help with disaster relief for Japan.

Here's an example of one shop, Willie and Lu, doing their part. They'll give at least 20% of their proceeds to organizations involved in relief efforts in Japan! Thanks, Etsy and all of you hand-crafters for doing your part!
pretty sorbet shimmer earrings by Willie and Lu


photo via Sea Lily Studio

How is it suddenly Friday? We've been light on the blogging due to sickness over here. The weekend is upon us, though. And it's warm out, the sun is shining, and it's feeling more and more like Spring...which means our first Market is coming soon! And means that our down jacket is happily in the closet for now.

We hope all of you vendors are getting busy creating and doing your thang in preparation for the first market! What are you all doing to prepare? If any of you vendors are looking for some support with your craft-based business, the great Denver Handmade Alliance has some upcoming workshops you should all know about.

This Monday, DHA brings the Business Roundtable to Hooked on Colfax! Each month DHA will be picking a relevant topics related to craft-based business, and holding an open discussion in a casual setting. The DHA Business Roundtable is an opportunity for all of you crafty folk to gather together and learn from each other’s experiences. Yay for collaboration! All are welcome to join, no matter your level of experience. Bring what you know! Here are the details:

Monday, March 14th, 2011
Topic: Etsy
Location: *Hooked on Colfax (3215 East Colfax Ave, basement)
*There is no charge to participate, but a purchase from Hooked on Colfax is highly encouraged

Another great DHA event coming this Spring--The Crafty Ballyhoo, of course!
Here are the details:

In collaboration with Create Denver Week (put on by Denver's Office of Cultural Affairs), the Denver Handmade Alliance is sponsoring the Second Annual Crafty Ballyhoo, a craft market for local vendors of fantastic handmade goods and an interactive day of crafty fun. The Crafty Ballyhoo will be held Sunday May 15th from 11am-6pm, Grant-Humphreys Mansion at 770 Pennsylvania Street, Denver, in the Central Denver area. The first 50 people through the door will receive a swag bag full of handmade goodies! Oh, and if you want to be a vendor, applications are due tomorrow, March 12th!! And Fashion Denver's Spring Market, SPROUT, will also take place at the mansion the same day! Cool stuff.

Happy weekend to everyone! Enjoy the sun.

Inspiration Monday

Good morning! We're off to a slow start on this cloudy Monday. However, things are going to kick into full gear because we are two months away from the Spring Horseshoe Market!

It's time to start your spring cleaning since we know you're all going to be taking home some pretty great finds from the market--we'll have antiques, furniture, jewelry, clothing, accessories, shoes, toys, even fresh flowers and gardening gadgets! It's going to be a great market.

On this dreary day, we are inspired by our Featured Vendors and bright things :) We're sure this collage of colorful handmade items and art will brighten your Monday!
1. hot pink and sequins recycled fabric headband 2. mb glass designs ring 3. hot butter wallet 4. dandy social club dress 5. barberry & lace ring 6. january jones roadtrip print 7. neile real butterfly earrings 8. gneural digital art print

Blog Sponsor Spotlight: The Makerie

Today we're honored to feature our lovely blog sponsor, The Makerie! Read below to find out more about this amazing creative retreat in Boulder. Also, they just opened up some Day Package spots. These are limited and available on a first come, first served basis. Check out the details here.

If you're interested in being a Horseshoe Market Blog Sponsor (includes ad on right sidebar, Sponsor Spotlight blog post, and chance to do "giveaways") email for more information.
We are launching a creative retreat weekend in Boulder, CO, this spring, called the Makerie, designed to lovingly nurture the creative spirit in all of us. It will be full of amazing creative/crafting workshops (i.e. sewing, embroidery, knitting, painting, block printing, pattern making, photography etc...) and is for ANYONE who wants to be creative or try something totally new in a supportive and loving environment. We are thrilled with the terrific line-up of teachers from around the country we have for this inaugural year. In addition to the classes, we will offer wake-up yoga &/or hiking, as well as healthy, organic & local (where possible) yummy foods as part of the weekend so everyone feels cared for all around. Think of it like summer camp for adults (but in April!) & a weekend with no cooking or cleaning or errands, just creating & playing! People will have the chance to stay in cozy cottages, eat communal meals together & simply be part of a fun, creative community for a few days.

Dates: April 7 - 10, 2011
Location: Boulder, CO
Web Site:

Inspiration Monday...One Day Later

Yesterday we were swamped with sending out all of our notifications to vendors for the Spring (May 7th), Summer (August 6th) and Fall (October 1st) Horseshoes, and we didn't get a chance to do our Inspiration Monday post. So here we are today!

We are so very excited about our three markets. Each will have over 100 superb Colorado artists, crafters and vintage collectors. Each will be unique and awesome shopping experiences! And we're just about two months away from our first market. Time flies when you're having fun gathering a bunch of awesome small arts businesses together for great community events :)

We have another sneak peek for you all today. Here are some confirmed Featured Vendors who will be at various markets! If you got in to any of the markets, you can still choose to become a Featured Vendor. Email for more info.

1. bring about art 2. clean getaway soap 3. bring about art felt cuff bracelet 4. donna diddit garden markers 5. siouxsiqueue's chainmaille bracelet 6. siouxsiequeue's knitting needle case 7. she's crafty earrings 8. cheryl patrick/creative roost encaustic art