FAQ

Preparing Your Application
Who HA Accepts
HA’s Jury Process
Apply With A Friend
Acceptance Notification Info & Dates
Friday Load-in And Preview Party
Saturday Event And Tear-down
Virtual Maker Profile
Application Tips
Other Important Details


Preparing Your Application

All Handmade Arcade markets are juried, curated markets. 

Handmade Arcade uses ArtCall.org as its application software. Each market application is assigned a market-specific URL shared via email, on Handmade Arcade’s website, and on social media. Vendors will first need to register for an account on ArtCall before applying. If you have applied to a past Handmade Arcade Holiday Market, you may already have an account. Note: the application site works best on a laptop or desktop. This site is not mobile-friendly.

Every application is carefully reviewed and voted on by our jurors. Handmade Arcade’s jury consists of the Handmade Arcade advisory committee and new and rotating guest jurors from Pittsburgh’s arts, craft, cultural, and small business communities. Jurors are paid for their time and expertise.

Every part of your application is essential for success: 

  • Images: We recommend using high-quality, high-resolution, clear, and in-focus photographs. Your product photography should bring out the best in your products, highlight the materials and methods used, and demonstrate originality, innovation, and the handmade process.
    • IMPORTANT: If you are reapplying, use this opportunity to show us something new. Do not use photos that you have submitted in the past.
  • Products and process description: A well-written description of your products and creative process is vital to your application.
  • Merchandise prices: Share your prices with us so we can ensure that your products are within the range of what our audience expects. Remember that the Holiday Market is primarily a gift market. Many attendees come to the event hoping to purchase a lot of items from different makers. Makers with a range of products and prices (low to high) often do best. 
  • Online presence: While it’s not required for makers to have an online presence to participate in Handmade Arcade markets, it is helpful for jurors to view e-commerce or social media accounts for more images and information. If you provide links to your website and/or social media accounts, they should be active and show a representative selection of your merchandise.
  • Contact information: Use an email address that you check regularly. Pro tip: double-check that you have spelled your email address correctly.

Back to Top


Who Does Handmade Arcade Accept?

HA is a juried, curated marketplace. Applicants' products should be handmade, hand-crafted, or represent the artist’s personal creation. 

Jurors look for a variety of the follow attributes:
  • Craftsmanship and creativity
  • Skill and technique
  • Traditional handicrafts combined with innovative thinking
  • Durability and functionality
  • Mindfulness and unique qualities (locally sourced, recycling, upcycling, etc.)
  • Crisp and clear photographs
  • Range of price points (The Handmade Arcade Holiday Market is traditionally a gift marketplace. Makers with a wide variety of products and prices ranges do well.) 
Categories include:
  • Accessories
  • Adult Clothing
  • Artwork
  • Bath & Body
  • Ceramics
  • Children’s Products
  • Glass
  • Housewares
  • Jewelry
  • Other
  • Paper Goods
  • Toys
  • Wood 
Mass-produced merchandise is prohibited at all Handmade Arcade events. Additionally, accepted vendors are NOT permitted to bring products from anyone not listed on their original application.

At this time, Handmade Arcade does not accept food vendors, including chocolates, honey, and candy. If you have specific questions regarding your products, please ask before you apply at info@handmadearcade.org..

Back to Top

HA’s Jury Process

Handmade Arcade is a juried, curated marketplace. Every application is reviewed and voted on by our jurors. Every part of your application is essential. The jury reviews your images, products and process description, merchandise prices, website, and social media accounts (if applicable).  Ensure that your product pictures are of the highest quality. Your website and/or social media accounts should be active. If you provide links to your website and/or social media accounts, they should show a representative selection of your merchandise.
 
Handmade Arcade’s jury consists of the Handmade Arcade advisory committee and new and rotating guest jurors from Pittsburgh’s arts, craft, cultural, and small business communities. Jurors are paid for their time and expertise.

Note: Handmade Arcade was founded as an accessible alternative to fine arts markets. Historically, independent crafters, makers, and artists not considered fine artists do best at our events.

Back to Top
 


Apply with a Friend

  • HA’s application allows you to apply with a second applicant. 
  • Applicants are reviewed as one entry. 
  • Images must represent both applicants’ products.
  • The primary applicant is notified by email.
  • Virtual Profile Page: Makers will get separate virtual profile pages. 
  • In-person Marketplace: Makers will share the vendor space and be listed together on the event map. (e.g., Vendor 1 / Vendor 2)
  • All set-up needs for vendors sharing a space must be decided and planned between the vendors before the day of the event.
Back to Top

Acceptance Notification Info & Dates


Notifications emailed on Friday, September 16, 2022.
  • Important to note: this email comes from HA’s MailChimp account. These emails can end up in your SPAM or GMAIL Promotions folders. Please check both before contacting Handmade Arcade.
  • If you have unsubscribed to the Handmade Arcade email list, we will not be able to send you an email. If you are unsure, you can check and resubscribe online here.
  • Handmade Arcade sends emails to ALL applicants (accepted, waitlisted, and those not accepted). 
Accepted applicants: 
  • Must commit to both Friday and Saturday (see below for details).
  • Will complete a detailed vendor information form at the time payment is due.
  • Are required to fill out a vendor survey after the event. Failure to do so can affect a maker’s participation status at future events. 
  • Are encouraged to join the private Facebook group for details and updates. 
  • HA will communicate via email, the “For Makers” page on its website, and the Facebook group. Therefore, it is essential to read all communications for a smooth marketplace experience.
Waitlisted applicants will be notified if a vendor space becomes available in the category in which they applied.

If you were not accepted in the past, we encourage you to reapply. Handmade Arcade is going back to full capacity this year (250 tables).

Due to limited capacity, Handmade Arcade cannot offer feedback on an individual's application before the event. However, if a maker would like feedback, they can email info@handmadearcade.org in January and we will do our best to get to back to you in a timely manner.

Back to Top

Friday Load-in And Preview Party

All accepted makers to the in-person event MUST be able to load in on Friday afternoon and participate in the Happy Hour Preview Party on Friday, December 2, 2022.

The Friday Night Happy Hour Preview Party is an excellent opportunity to set up early, make some early sales, and meet and mingle with your fellow vendors.  
 
Details:

  • Load-in between 12 - 4 PM and be set up by 5 PM 
  • Convention Center Teamsters available to help
  • Happy Hour Preview Party starts at 5 PM
  • Makers must stay until it ends at 7:30 PM
  • Ticketed event
Back to Top

Saturday Event And Tear-down

Vendors must be back at their booths no later than 9 AM Saturday morning to prepare for the 9:30 AM Early Birdie shopping hour.

Spend the night at The Westin Pittsburgh, located across the street from the Convention Center.
  • Handmade Arcade will reserve a block of rooms at a reduced rate for Friday night and Saturday night.  Link to be shared closer to the event date.
Vendors may NOT tear down their space until 7 PM. To avoid a back-up on the loading dock, vendors must completely pack up their space BEFORE getting their car. Vendors will have 90 minutes to tear down and must be off the Convention Center floor by 8:30 PM.

Back to Top

Virtual Maker Profile

The Handmade Arcade Virtual Maker Profile will allow attendees to browse the makers participating in the Holiday Market before they attend the event. All accepted makers must create or update an existing virtual profile page (formerly called the Virtual Marketplace). Required fields include business name, profile photo or logo, product category, contact info, and at least ONE slide show photo. Optional information includes the About Me narrative, website and social media links, and product images and links.

Updates to the Virtual Maker Profile must be completed by Sunday, November 13. This is an opportunity for attendees to get to know the accepted vendors before the event.

Back to Top

Application Tips


Product photography is the most critical part of your application.
  • Be sure to upload high-quality, high-resolution photographs that are clear and in focus.
  • Photos should bring out the best in your products, highlight the materials and methods used, and demonstrate originality, innovation, and the handmade process.
  • A booth photograph is required.
  • IMPORTANT: If you are reapplying, use this opportunity to show us something new. Do not use photos that you have submitted in the past. 
Website and Social Media:
  • Handmade Arcade strongly recommends that your website and/or social media accounts are current during the application process.
  • When making tough choices, jurors often look at a maker’s website and social media images.
  • Use your website and/or social media accounts to show items that best represent what you intend to sell at Handmade Arcade.
  • We discourage makers from sharing personal social media accounts. 
A well-written description of your products and creative process is vital to your application.

Make sure you spell your email address and URL correctly.

Make sure you use an email that you regularly check in your application.

Back to Top

Other Important Details

  • Vendors are permitted to bring tables, fixtures, grid walls, and/or custom display items. All racks, display items, extra merchandise, and personal belongings must fit within the assigned vendor space. No exceptions.
  • Vendors are permitted to have helpers for set-up, selling, booth coverage for breaks, tear down, etc. If your helper is coming separately, they do NOT need a ticket to get in before the event starts. They should come through the front door of the hall and let the volunteers know they are working at your table.
  • Vendors must bring table coverings.
  • Vendors may NOT tape or hang any items on the convention center walls. Additionally, vendors are not permitted to adhere to, hammer, or lean anything against convention center property.
  • Vendors can make special requests for space placement, however, Handmade Arcade makes no guarantees that we will be able to honor these requests. (We will try!)
  • If you did not pay for electricity, you cannot plug anything- even a cell phone charger - into an outlet at the Convention Center. Handmade Arcade is charged for every outlet used, which can become costly. Makers who do not adhere to this rule may be asked to leave the market. A Convention Center employee always walks around and counts the plugs being used.
  • Parking and all charges related therein are the responsibility of vendors.
  • Handmade Arcade cannot guarantee that we will have enough volunteers to assist with vendor breaks. We recommend that you bring a friend to help you. If volunteers are available, they can watch your table but are not permitted to sell your wares or purchase food for you.
  • Food lines at the DLCC can be long during peak event times. Plan accordingly and bring food and drinks.

Back to Top