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Tips from a guest curator - How to stand out in the selection process

Earlier this week we sat down with Charlotte Abrahams, a design writer and curator, to choose all the traders for our upcoming Spring Markets. Here, Charlotte shares with us her tips for standing out from the crowd and getting noticed during the selection process.

I was delighted when Sinead invited me to be a guest curator for this spring’s round of Crafty Fox markets and looking through the almost 600 submissions proved to be an uplifting experience. There is such a wealth of creative talent in Britain and it is a privilege to be part of something that is doing so much to help designer-makers turn their making into a commercial success. 

However, other than the quality of work being produced in the nation’s studios and garden sheds, the thing that struck me was how often designer makers unwittingly damaged their chances of being selected. Given the large number of applications and the small amount of time available to go through them, selection is a somewhat ruthless process. Sinead and I sat around her computer in the elegant surroundings of Somerset House and followed links to each applicant’s website, etsy shop or Facebook page. Where none of these were available, we looked at the image the applicant had supplied. And that’s it. Three minutes per person, max. So fresh from the process, I thought I would pass on my tips for making the most of those three minutes.

Websites are by far the best places for selectors to see your work, so make sure yours is up to date. For example, if you’re applying for a Spring market, put your spring/summer products at the top of page. Easy navigation is always appreciated, as are working web links.

Selection is based on images of products, not the products themselves so ensure that they do your work justice. If you don’t have the skills to do the photography yourself, then commission a professional. It will be money well spent.

It sounds obvious, but lots of people send incomplete or incorrect forms. Missing web links or a lack of images make it hard for selectors to assess the work, while a wrongly-filled out form creates a poor impression of your professionalism.

A concise summary of your business is really useful. Make it relevant to the application – for example, if the event is about products that are hand made in UK then make it clear that yours are.