If you follow along on my Instastories, you know that I traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina, last weekend for my first experience "working" at a rubberstamp show. The North Carolina State Fairgrounds Expo Center was host to the Stamp Scrap Art Tour on Saturday and Sunday, July 7th and 8th. We all know how much fun it is to attend one of these shows, but today we're going to take a look at what goes on behind the scenes.
What you see. . .
When you arrive at an event, the space is all set up beautifully. You simply pay your entrance fee and walk through the doors without a care in the world (other than the obscene amount of money you are about to drop!) You admire the samples, ooh and aah with your friends, draw up wish-lists, watch demonstrations, chat with vendors, make your purchase(s) and be on your merry way.
You go home that evening to your friends and family, your pets and life is good. You've had an exciting, entertaining (and probably expensive) day. But, you are more than likely already anticipating next year's show.
What you don't see. . .
The companies arrive a day before the show begins in vans, RV's and SUV's carrying huge trailers. They have been traveling for days, if not weeks, and are exhausted from driving. Naturally, they can't fly from show to show because of the volume of products they carry with them. Many owners haven't been home to see their own families since the last show four states away. They eat, sleep, drive and breathe this life. They work long hours just trying to pay the bills. Most are not "living large" by any means. They carry the burden of disappointing show sales and low attendance and hope each show yields better results. Meanwhile, their homes and families must function (or not) in their absence. So, even when they get to go home between shows "for a break," they are never caught up and there is still more work to be done.
On average, a show set-up can take anywhere between 2-4 hours. Take-down is slightly better at 1-3. It could be hot or cold or rain or snow. The weather is as unpredictable as sales. You are on your feet, on concrete floors, all day long with little opportunity to sit, let alone eat a decent meal. Your "break" consists of a five minute run to the restroom and to grab a concession stand hot dog and Coke. By the end of the first day, you are exhausted from working, so you retreat your hotel room with a quick bite to eat before bed. You wake up on day 2 only to repeat it all over again. This time, at the end of day 2, you get to repack everything you spent hours unpacking two days ago. And then it's back on the road for the next show. . .
Show vendors must apply to each production company approximately a year in advance and put down non-refundable deposit fees. An average two-day show booth can range from $1,800 - $3,000. They are nickle-&-dimed for each additional thing - from tables and chairs to make-n-take booths. That's right! Ever wonder why they charge you for a make-n-take at these shows?
Most vendors had to spend a minimum of $150 just to be allowed to have this extra table set up in their booth. They are simply trying to recoup their costs. Vendors must constantly deal with not enough and/or unreliable help, rude customers,
damaged product (including samples) and consumer theft.
You would be surprised by the number of vendors that are seeking good help for these traveling shows! From booth set-up and take-down to cashiers and make-n-take instructors Pay can either be in cash or products (most will let you decide).
Follow along on each production companies' Facebook page and they will post ads seeking help for upcoming shows.
Do a great job and I promise, these companies will remember you and ask you back again to work!
Or, do such a great job (like me) and they just might ask you to come to other shows on the road with them!
There are several different shows that travel around the continental US. To find a show near you, check out any of
the following promoters:
Stamp Scrap Art Tour
Rubber Stamp Events
Too Much Fun Promotions
I hope you have enjoyed today's look behind the scenes of a rubberstamp show. I had a great experience in Raleigh, and, it affirmed my love for teaching. But, I also have a newfound appreciation for all the hard work that goes behind the fun!
Hi, I'm Crystal. . .
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I am Crystal Komara, aka "Super Stamp Girl" and I am solely responsible for this blog.
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