On Sunday, Liz and I decided to check out a local craft show that we had been hearing about. It is held at the South Florida Fairgrounds and is called Buckler’s Craft Fair. While looking up information on when/where this show was, I stumbled upon their website that offered a buy one get one free admission coupon by bringing in a canned good. Being that we are girls who love a deal, I promptly fished out a can of green beans from the cupboard and brought it with me to meet Liz. Although she didn’t have to, Liz brought 2 canned goods of her own- she’s such a good samaritan. ;)
We entered the craft show (an indoor venue), paid our $4.00 admission price each (normally $8.00 without a coupon), deposited our canned goods and jumped right in. We were immediately guided to a corner table where prizes were set up. Guests were able to sign up to win a random drawing to win any of the items that were on the table. On display, was a teddy bear, a dusty fabric rose, an old jewelry box, a beat up picture frame and a few other odds and ends. Upon close inspection, Liz and I opted out of entering our names into the drawings. Neither of us would have any use for any of the items that were on the table and unfortunately, none of the items were salvageable to upcycle. Bummer. And strike one.
Moving right along, trying not to be discouraged but keeping a smile on our faces.
We vowed not to judge the entire craft show based on our first impression. Onto the first vendor…
Cute. Country. I could picture all of these items in an old country themed cottage. But wait. Just as I start to say to Liz “I don’t remember walking into Home Goo…” I’m immediately interrupted by a woman shouting at me “HEY! YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO TAKE PICTURES IN HERE!” Sorry about the shouty capitals, but I needed to get my point across. She startled me and Liz asked her why we weren’t allowed to take photos. Her response was “I WORK FOR THE PROMOTER AND THERE IS A SIGN WHEN YOU WALK IN THAT SAYS YOU CAN’T TAKE PICTURES. IT IS FOR THE PROTECTION OF OUR CRAFTERS.”
Here are the thoughts that went through our heads:
- Well, this is inconvenient seeing as how we came with the intent of taking pictures to share on our blog.
- I’m pretty sure that last sentence was a triple negative.
- No free advertising for you, your show or your vendors.
- Wait, we’re crafters and we would be titillated to our very core if someone wanted to take pictures of our work.
- We weren’t expecting that tone and to be scolded, rude lady.
- Awesome, we’re only one booth in and she has already set the tone for the rest of our time at this show. Peachy.
- That is one cranky woman.
- Three pictures? We only got THREE pictures? How is that even possible?
- Strike two.
After we shook her and her rude aura off, we continued on with positive attitudes but a little less than high hopes.
As we gathered from our brief moment at that first booth that was anything but craft-tastic, 99% of the booths were mass produced items. Apparently, Buckler’s awards a ‘blue ribbon’ to those booths that sell 100% handcrafted items. Spoiler alert: We found 2 booths with blue ribbons.
Props to those booths though…they were actually pretty fabulous. We’ll give you the names of those vendors, promise.
It seemed as though most of these booths were some sort of bad advertisement for those poor souls who have fallen for the “Work From Home” pyramid schemes that you see all the time. They were also grossly overpriced and I felt as if I had been transported back in time to the 1980′s. That is, if the 1980′s was a giant craft fair with vendors who bought mass produced items that were popular in the late 80′s at a wholesale rate and then marked them up 1,000% and tried to sell them to innocent craft goers.
I think we’ve even found where they order their inventory from…
We ran out of there like we were being chased in way under and hour, thanking our lucky stars that there are still authentic craft shows around, such as Art Rock. Amanda Linton and her ladies should be proud.
Oh, but don’t you worry. Liz and I didn’t walk out without spending a few bucks.
Breakdown:$8.00 admission for 2 people $8.00 chicken fingers $2.00 coffee For a grand total of $18.00- all spent on food and admission
Liz and I always give it a fair shot and we’re always willing to give it a try- but really? I do believe that Buckler’s is doing a little false advertising. Just see for yourself as I leave you with a little comic relief, courtesy of Buckler’s website:
I’ll pause briefly while you clean up the beverage that I assume just spewed from your mouth.
Upon further browsing of their website, here’s what else we found:
Looks like they were “Protecting their crafters” from being exposed as wholesale vendors. Which reminds us of the current Etsy “mass crafter” debate, as seen here.
Dear Bucklers,I almost forgot to mention that on my hour long drive home, I spotted a billboard promoting their “show” and got a little queazy thinking about how the two of us just contributed to their income towards advertising.You owe me $15.00 in gas mileage.
Has anyone else been to this particular fair? Maybe you’ve come across a similar situation where you live? Comment below and let us know! :)
Update 9/29/13: Although this post was written well over a year ago, we’ve had some backlash from both the vendors and promoters themselves. Since they have left their concerns in the form of comments on both this blog post and our Facebook page, we invite you to review their comments and experience the discomfort that we experienced that day. We thank the Buckler’s promoters for speaking volumes about the type of environment they are creating.