How to Organize a Pottery Craft Show and Sale

I have been a member of the Colorado Potters Guild since 2008. It’s been wonderful to be connected to other potters in Colorado. Founded in 1965, the Colorado Potters Guild is the oldest clay co-op in Colorado that thrives on shared responsibilities and volunteers to make the organization run smoothly. I manage the guild’s website and social media activity on a year round basis. It’s something that I enjoy doing and a way that I contribute best to the guild’s success.

We have other members who serve on our board. Everyone has a skill that contributes to our success including accounting, marketing, legal, construction, kiln operation and maintenance, purchasing and more.

Organize a pottery craft show and sale
Organize a pottery craft show and sale

Pottery Sale

We also host two pottery sales a year in the spring and fall. This year, I volunteered to be the chair of our Spring Sale to learn the skills needed to organize a pottery craft show and sale. While, our show can almost run itself, I want a fuller picture of everything that is involved to put on a sale  – all the moving parts. 

I also have some ideas that I want to try to make the experience a bit more fun for our customers. Ultimately, I’m interested in organizing a pop up sale in Fort Collins or other cities in Colorado in the future and feel like this experience is going to be helpful.

Colorado Potters Guild Sale
Colorado Potters Guild Sale

How to organize a pottery craft show and sale:

Aka – all the moving parts

  • Communication with the members. As the chair, my job is to make sure that all of the jobs for the show are filled, that the venue is paid, and that I communicated with our members. Also, if something doesn’t go well, the buck stops with me. Eeek!
  • Venue rental. The Colorado Potters Guild is located in an old creamery that is far too small to host thousands of shoppers. We have a long standing contract with a local church that leases a large room that holds 37 potters work and there is plenty of parking. The Potters Guild also has use of their kitchen, and another room for our treasurers to work securely in private.
  • Post card invitation and poster design and purchase.
  • Coordinate with the business that handles the mailing of our cards. Additionally, we clean our mailing list after each show to account for people who have moved or are no longer interested in attending our sales.
  • E-vite design and scheduled mailing. 
  • Marketing efforts including print, online, social media, radio and our email newsletter. We have a team of roughly 4 members dedicated to show marketing.
  • Show photography. Every show, we have a dedicated team of photographers that take photos of pots that we use for the website and future marketing efforts.
  • Show set up. Since we’ve been in the same venue for a long time, we have a map that helps speed up set up with the help of a dedicated group of volunteers. Set up takes approximately 1.5 hours.
  • Opening night refreshments. We serve baked goods and a light punch on opening night. Members sign up to bring baked items and the refreshment team staff the welcome table.
  • Moving truck rental to transport our set up supplies including table cloths, risers, shelving, boxes, bags, wrapping material etc. to the venue and back.
  • Show staffing. Everyone works opening night and 2 additional 4-5 hour shifts over the course of 3 days. Members work as cashiers, pot wrappers, floor staff, help pot carriers, pot guards, accounting and staff the jewelry table.
  • Show Breakdown. After the show ends on Saturday at 5pm, everyone collects their pots, inventories remaining pots against sales records and helps to pack up the guild’s supplies in the truck.
  • Treasury/financial bookkeeping. Since we do this sale as a group, everyone receives a standardized inventory sheet that the show treasurers use to cross reference as they keep track of sales. The treasurers also pay show expenses, reconcile sales and pay potters.
  • Signage placement on days of show. We have a crew that places signs near the venue of our sale. We have to be in compliance with the city’s zoning ordinances for signs.
  • Post show wrap up. Two weeks after our show, we meet at a members house for an amazing pot luck. At the pot luck, we have a show recap meeting and choose a new chair for the next show.

Final thoughts:

I’m sure I’m forgetting a thing or two, but the main point is that there is a lot that goes into how to organize a pottery craft show and sale on a larger scale.  Organizing a smaller pop up sale in the future will still require some of the same planning and organizing steps as a larger one, but hopefully with less moving parts. The items of consideration also work with other types of crafts and art – not just pottery. 

Colorado Potters Guild Spring 2017 Sale Info:

Where & When: 

First Plymouth Congregational Church
3501 South Colorado Boulevard
Englewood, CO  80113
(Hampden + Colorado Blvd)

May 4 – 4:00 – 8:00 PM (Opening reception)
May 5 – 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM
May 6 – 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM