What's a virtual craft fair?

At Sip & Ship, we define a virtual craft fair as a live, online event where handmade artisans can share their creations with shoppers in a casual, interactive environment that offers "face to face" video contact and voice conversation. There are many things that offer some of these features -- websites with listings for shops you can browse, online auctions for individual items, or live video events you can watch where you can text chat with the person on the stage. Our goal at Sip & Ship is to offer as many of the things you get at a live craft fair as possible, and supplement it with cool things that don't typically happen there.

How does it compare to a live craft fair?

Well, obviously we can't sell you drinks or snacks - although, if that technology comes along, we'll be the first to jump on it. But because our events are held online, we can bring a ton of talent together that is based all over the country, vetting juried handmade artisans from all over the U.S. and sometimes even further. We can bring the experience straight into your home, where you can attend from your laptop, tablet or smartphone. We ask our vendors to set up real booths in their homes, and to set up multiple camera views so you can see both a display of their best pieces and a detail view of a current project. And, unlike a craft fair in the "real world," our crafters are typically in their home studios, living rooms, or another comfortable space, and actually work on handmade items while they host their booth -- which just isn't feasible for most types of crafts at a live craft fair. And better still, our vendors rotate through our event's main lobby, demonstating techniques, discussing the stories behind their craft and showing off their best sellers, event exclusive offers, and favorite pieces.

How does it work?

We host our events on an online meeting platform called Zoom, where we're able to set up individual rooms for each vendor to host their booth. Vendors set up physical booths at home and use techniques we train them on to offer visitors an immersive and engaging virtual shopping experience. Visitors to our craft fair enter through the lobby, where our vendors take turns doing live demonstrations, and then chat with a concierge who can bring them to a booth. Each time a vendor finishes their demo session and exits the lobby, some shoppers are sure to follow them to their booth!

Vendors take their own payments and keep all sales proceeds -- which means that shoppers are directly and powerfully contributing to the handmade economy at a time when artisans need it most -- and then ship purchased products directly to their customers.

Events typically run 2-3 hours, and shoppers can drop in and out whenever they like, while vendors commit to being present for shoppers for the duration of the fair.

That sounds fun! How do I get in?

Shoppers enter through the graphic display on our home page any time after the fair doors open. All you need is a decent Internet connection and a computer, tablet or smartphone.You can register on Facebook for our event, or we can send you email reminders the day of our live, virtual craft fairs or related artisan events.

I'm an artisan / handmade creator / crafter. Can I sell at your events?

We'd love to look at your work! You can apply to be a vendor here.

I'm planning to host a virtual event. Can you help?

We sure can! Learn more about our consultation and event hosting services.



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