Behind the Scenes of Indie Craft Parade: Choosing our venue

Behind The Scenes, General InfoElizabeth Ramos

People often ask us questions about the organization and undertaking of Indie Craft Parade. Questions like: "how does the jurying process work?"; "does Indie Craft Parade appear in other cities?"; "what should I expect to see at the event?" These (and many more) questions really can help people better understand how and why our event works the way it does. So I'd like to address one of the questions that comes up most commonly: "Why did you choose the Huguenot Mill as your venue?

People ask this question for a variety of reasons. They often wonder if we chose a larger venue, say a convention center, we could allow more people to participate as vendors. Or if we chose another location wouldn't it be easier for people to access than downtown? These are natural questions that come with an event like ours. And we feel that there are two main reasons for choosing our current venue.

First, we actually want to keep Indie Craft Parade a relatively small, intimate event. That might seem counterintuitive at first glance. Usually people try to make events as big as possible. However we've found that both our event and our artists benefit from keeping the venue smaller. Sure, if we had a bigger space, we could include every artist who applied to Indie Craft Parade. But we ask our jury to only pick the best of the best applicants. By creating that competitive application process, it challenges the artists (old and new alike) to put out their best work. We also keep the number of participants relatively small so they have the best opportunities to sell their work. If we pare down the number of vendors in each category, there's fewer chances for overlap. For example, we've attended and participated in craft shows that had over 50% jewelry vendors. As great as they all were, very few of the vendors actually did well at the event — there were just too many of them and not enough people attending the event. At Indie Craft Parade, we try to select the widest variety of artists possible (i.e., in the "to wear" category there is a metal jeweler, a fabric jeweler, a ceramic jeweler, etc...and only one of each).

Second, we've chosen our venue to be in the heart of downtown, because that's where the life of our city is. We support so strongly the advances and aesthetic changes that Greenville has made over the years, and we want to be a continuing part of that. Not to mention our current location, the Huguenot Mill, is one of the few venues that has both large square footage AND beautiful event space. We strive to make every detail of Indie Craft Parade beautiful and pleasing, so for the time being, the Mill is our best option.

That's not to say that Indie Craft Parade won't ever have another home in Greenville. We're so excited about the new development about downtown. Who knows what will be available in the future? But we're very happy with our situation for the meantime. And enough people ask about it from year to year, we believed our thought processes were worth sharing.

In case you were wondering...