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  • From Novice to Noticed: Your First Craft Show Guide

    submitted by Jenna Sherman When you decide to participate in a craft show, you're not just selling your products but stepping into a community eager to embrace new and unique artistry. Such an opportunity means you can showcase your creativity and connect directly with enthusiasts who appreciate handcrafted excellence and go from novice to noticed. Preparing effectively can transform this experience from daunting to rewarding, setting a foundation for personal and professional growth in the vibrant world of craft shows. This Key Numismatics article shares more: Event Selection Choosing the right craft show is more than just finding a venue. It’s about understanding where your products will resonate the most. Look for events that cater specifically to your type of crafts, whether vintage-inspired, modern, or eclectic. Attending a show that aligns with your creative style increases the likelihood of meeting potential customers who are already interested in your work style. Early Preparation To ensure a smooth experience, begin your preparations months in advance. This encompasses everything from perfecting your craft to planning the layout of your display. By giving yourself this lead time, you avoid last-minute rushes and can focus on creating a cohesive and polished presentation of your work. Organize all elements, from inventory to signage, to ensure every detail reflects your brand and artistic vision. Effective Use of Flyers Despite the surge in digital marketing, the impactful presence of a well-crafted flyer should not be overlooked. With cost-effective options available (search “flyer templates free download” online), you can easily create an appealing flyer that features your unique branding, such as your logo and distinctive design. Distributing these flyers in local community centers, cafes, and boutiques can significantly enhance your visibility and draw attention to your booth. Attractive Display Creation Your booth is your stage at a craft show, so design it to invite and retain interest. Use color schemes and lighting that highlight your products’ best features and make them irresistible to onlookers. Also, consider the flow of traffic through your booth to ensure your setup allows for easy browsing and interaction, making every visitor feel welcomed and engaged. Pricing Strategy Pricing your products correctly is critical to your craft show success. Set prices that reflect the quality and uniqueness of your work but remain accessible to a broad audience. Consider the cost of materials, your time, and what similar items sell for at the event. A well-thought-out pricing strategy guarantees consistency and fairness, which will boost your sales and build trust with your customers. Tax and Record Keeping Maintaining accurate sales records is essential, not just for inventory management but also for tax purposes. Consider the advantages of registering as an LLC to protect your personal assets and potentially gain tax benefits. This step can simplify your business operations and provide peace of mind as you grow your presence in the market. Check local regulations to ensure compliance, and if necessary, use a professional service to guide you through the setup process. Customer Engagement Engaging effectively with booth visitors transforms casual onlookers into loyal customers. Prepare to share stories about your products, the materials you use, and your creative process. These conversations can create a lasting impression, making your booth a memorable stop at the show. Being approachable and enthusiastic about your work will encourage visitors to engage with your products and brand, just follow our craft show guide.. Payment Flexibility; From Novice to Noticed! Today’s shoppers expect convenience, including how they pay. Equip your booth to accept various forms of payment (e.g., cash, credit cards, digital wallets). Doing so will enhance the customer experience by providing ease and flexibility while increasing your potential sales by accommodating everyone’s preferred payment methods. Your first craft show can be a landmark event in your crafting career. By meticulously planning each aspect, from product selection to customer interaction, you can lay the groundwork for a successful and enjoyable experience. Keep in mind that every element of your participation contributes to your overall success and reputation in the craft community. If you enjoyed this article, you can find more helpful content at Thank you Jenna, visit Parent-Leaders Dot Com

  • David Brearley ( Revolutionary, Chief Justice, Freemason and Currency Signer)

    Some New Jersey Freemasons, and many others I'm sure, have visited Brearley Lodge in Bridgeton, NJ at one time or another. Some readers may be members of the Lodge. It is touted as the oldest Lodge building in New Jersey, Founded October 28, 1790, and retains the appellation Brearley No. 2. It is an old building, with no central air (I can attest to that having visited a degree in the summer) but with many interesting old Masonic items to admire and ponder over. It’s namesake, of course, is one David Brearley, first Grand Master of the newly formed Grand Lodge for the State of New Jersey. The oldest lodge in the state is Lodge No. 1, St. John’s Lodge, Mountain Lakes, NJ founded May 13, 1761. It does not meet in its original Newark location and has merged with others so Brearley No.2 is actually the oldest Masonic Lodge building in the state in which its members still maintain and meet in the same building. A few blocks away, on Broad Street is Matthew Potter’s Tavern, constructed in 1770 and still standing as a museum of sorts. It was the publishing location of the “Plain Dealer”, the first newspaper in the state and a popular gathering spot prior to the Revolution. An interesting place to visit. Didi you know that not far away from Bridgeton, in the small town of Greenwich, they held their own Tea Burning Party? There is a monument recalling it at one end of the town. What got me interested in David Brearley was my interest in numismatics and particularly in colonial and continental paper notes among which some from New Jersey, I discovered, have his signature. Many of these notes from the 1700’s have survived and are often found in auctions and coin and currency dealers’ stocks. They were typically signed by three men, mostly judges or people of some political influence. Many notes from Colonial Delaware and Pennsylvania were printed by Benjamin Franklin and David Hall but they never signed any. Notes printed after the Continental Conventions and authorized by the Continental Congress are considered Continental Currency. Paul Revere of Boston engraved the plates for the first of them. These depreciated quickly due to unrestricted printing and the Congress forcing the colonies to use them to pay for the war and inflation soared so they continued printing their own as well. The strength of that colony’s economy set the value of its currency against others. A good example is Virginia whose economy was strong due to the tobacco crop. Britain had placed a ban on the issue of paper money in the colonies, The Currency Act of 1764, a move which contributed to much discontent among the colonists but, it did not stop them from denying the Governor of their state his salary or holding up appropriations until an Act authorizing issuance of new paper money was passed and approved by the crown. David Brearley, Revolutionary & Soldier Brearley rose to the rank of Colonel in the Continental Army under General George Washington. He had already risen to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the militia and before his commission expired, he was commissioned to the Fourth New Jersey Continentals being formed but then switched to the First New Jersey Regiment January 1, 1777. That winter, when the state of New Jersey was in chaos with British occupation, he fought with Washington’s troops against the British and Hessian occupiers and forced them to retreat to New Brunswick and Perth Amboy. The Continentals under Washington wintered at Morristown. He served throughout the Philadelphia campaign in ’77, Valley Forge in that terrible winter of ’78, Brandywine and fought at the Battle of Monmouth June 1780. Supreme Court Judge Brearley resigned his commission in March 1780 because he had been appointed Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court. It is unclear to me whether he was elected or appointed, probably appointed by the legislature. In the present-day judges are nominated by the Governor and then approved, or not by the Senate in New Jersey and not elected by popular vote. He presided over the case of Holmes v. Walton and in overturning the conviction of John Holmes for trading with the enemy, supported the concept of Judicial Review by overturning a law passed by the Assembly as unconstitutional, a principle supported by Justice John Marshall in the famous case of Marbury vs Madison in 1803. As a Supreme Court Chief Justice he would have certainly had the authority to sign currency and the notes I've seen with his signature are dated 1780 and 1781. The date reflects the date of the Act authorizing the creation of a certain amount of currency, not the actual date it was printed. Founding Father In 1787, he participated in the constitutional convention at Philadelphia which created our constitution and culminated his role by signing it, one of 39. He did not have a lot to say at the convention but he was a strong supporter of the New Jersey Plan, proposing one vote for each state in the new congress, rather than proportional representation based on population. That has not kept and it would take a Grand Marshall to remember the names of all the men and women of the US Congress. He presided over the New Jersey ratification convention of the US Constitution in 1788. Then, in the first presidential election, held from December 15,1788 to January 7,1789 he was an elector and voted for George Washington (it was unanimous). Washington appointed him the first federal district judge in New Jersey and he served in that office until his death. Freemason and Grand Master Little is known of Brearly’s early Masonic ties. Although he was elected the first Grand Master of the newly established Grand Lodge of New Jersey in 1786, Brearley's lodge affiliation is unknown. It is believed he was initiated into Military Lodge No. 19 in Pennsylvania. Interestingly there is no record of him ever affiliating with a lodge in New Jersey. Maybe Trenton has some better information in their library or museum. A good rainy-day project. Legacy Brearley died in Trenton at the age of 45 in 1790 and is buried at St. Michael's Episcopal Church in that city. That is unfortunate as he had accomplished many important things in his short but full life and who knows what else he may have accomplished or changed if given time. His legacy survives in Bridgeton. Other notable names on early notes John Hart of New Jersey, signed the Declaration of Independence as well as John Morton of Pennsylvania. Daniel Carroll of Maryland signed both the Articles of Confederation and the United States Constitution and probably the most sought-after, George Clymer of Pennsylvania, an abolitionist, one of six men who signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. Any of these names add a large amount of value on a note to collectors for their place in early US history, our Founding Fathers. I was able to obtain one very good quality note signed by Brearley and Dickinson but I won't say what it cost me. The Currency To the right is a 9d note with strong signatures of David Brearley in red ink and Philemon Dickinson in black or brown ink. Philemon Dickinson was quite an icon in his own right. A general in the New Jersey Militia, he was known to be one of the most effective militia officers of the Revolution. His militia took part in the Battle of Monmouth in 1778, helping obstruct the retreat of the British to New York. He served as a Continental Congressman from Delaware and a US Senator representing New Jersey. Many of these notes were authorized in large quantities, some in the 10’s of thousands. I cannot imagine signing my name even a few hundred times, with a goose quill and ink pot at that. They were printed in sheets, as they are today, in a smaller capacity and by hand operated press and then cut by hand. Many edges are uneven due to this lack of modern machinery. The plates were engraved by artisans of great skill. Some of the images you see on them were designed by Ben Franklin as was the Fugio Cent with the All-Seeing Eye and the phrase “Mind Your Business”. Counterfeiting was a problem and if you hold some notes up to the light at an angle you may see mica flakes in the paper. This was an early attempt to thwart counterfeiting and contemporary counterfeits are just as collectible as the legitimate. Other techniques include the use of watermarks or embedding anti-counterfeiting blue and red threads in the paper. When someone has an opportunity to examine colonial currency they are amazed not only by the technical skill of the colonial printers but also by the beauty and regional diversities expressed in them. There is a real sense of holding a piece of history in your hands. Some are in about uncirculated, almost new condition only because some of us still care about our indelible past, it’s good parts and even some things we wish were different. Coming Soon Next we'll explore the first attempts at coinage authorized by the fledgling country. RW David P. Buckwalter Cannon Lodge No.104 F&AM South Seaville, NJ

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