craft fairs

How to survive a Craft Fair

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My first craft fair table set up. I used a tablecloth from home. This table had a Christmas theme so I enhanced it with battery operated candles, fairly lights and table gems.

 

Hello, I wouldn’t call myself an expert on craft fairs yet as I’ve only done four so far but hopefully if you’re a true beginner, or just wondering whether to have a go, you may find these tips useful.

  • It may sound obvious but do a bit of a reccy first to find out where you will be able to park and how far you will have to carry all your stuff.
  • Do a mock up of your display beforehand. Find out how big your table’s going to be, measure out that same space at home and set out your wares.
  • Pack everything up the night before, it might be an early start and you don’t want to be rushing round and possibly forgetting essential items.
  • Take a table covering. It can just be a sheet or table cloth or you might want to invest in buying some material that sets off your products well. If selling small delicate items such as jewellery keep it plain or your products will get lost in the pattern!
  • Take sellotape, pens, spare tags, scissors….
  • Find out when you’re allowed to start setting up and give yourself plenty of time so that you are not feeling rushed. If you have a bit of time left over before the customers start to arrive, you could use it to have a nose around the other stalls, chat to fellow stallholders, visit the loo, get a hot drink and you’re good to go!
  • Arrange your display at different heights. I bought a crate from Hobbycraft for £8 and put that on its side with some items inside and some on top. I have also turned a roasting dish upside down and covered it with material, and stood felted items on top of sparkly gift boxes. A bit of variety in height adds to the interest of your table.
  • Look up and smile at people who approach, even if you sense that they don’t particularly want to engage in conversation with you, at least you look approachable if they want to ask a question.
  • Take something to do. I always have a felting project with me. If I’m not making many sales, at least I’m being productive. Also it’s nice for people to watch how the items are made.
  • Its up to you whether you display your prices or leave it for people to ask you so that you have an opportunity to engage in conversation with them. I display my prices, I like to help potential customers out!
  • Take a lunch, a drink and some snacks to keep you going.
  • If you can , arrange for a friend to pop along to see you at lunchtime. If you’re feeling a bit nervous about the whole thing or worrying whether you’re ever going to sell anything, it can be reassuring to chat to someone you know. They can also mind your stall while you pop to the loo/grab a hot drink. (friendly fellow stallholders will also keep an eye on things for you if you need to step away)
  • Have a tub of change ready.
  • Invest in a card reader in case customers like your goods but are short on cash. I use a Zettle one. Advertise that you have one.
  • Wear layers if its likely to be chilly. Even if you’re indoors , if they have the doors open it can be draughty.
  • Consider wearing an apron with pockets so you have change, card reader, phone, pen etc to hand.
  • Think about what your customers are going to take your products home in. Most stall holders, including me, buy brown paper bags for this purpose. I have started personalising mine by buying alphabet stamps and stamping my shop name on them.
  • Have a stock of business cards/leaflets on your table.
  • Table prices vary and are often a reflection of how popular and therefore how much money you are likely to make from the fair. The really popular fairs in Liverpool where I live require applications months in advance.
  • Take paper and pen to make note of what you have sold/how much for. I write down a list of everything I am taking so that I can just cross it out. Some of my items are also listed in my Etsy shop. I write an E next to these to remind me so that I can delete it from my shop ASAP.
  • Have a range of different priced products out. a lot of people visiting craft fairs are not looking to spend a lot of money so have lower priced items ready so at least you can hopefully make a sale or two.

 

Don’t be despondent if you don’t sell much/anything at your craft fair. Some people are very successful at selling online but fairs just don’t work for them. It might be that that particular fair just isn’t right for what you’re selling, try another one. Maybe that same venue will be successful for you in nicer weather/in a different selling season. In other words, try two or three before you think about giving up!

Even if you don’t sell much, fairs are usually lovely places to chat with your fellow stallholders who will be like-minded people. You will get useful feedback (even if its non verbal, what items are customers mostly drawn to?) and positive comments and compliments from people looking at your stall. It may be that a customer takes away a business card or leaflet and then looks you up online and buys from you at a later date.

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Apologies for the quality of the photograph but I wanted to include this to show my changes for a Spring craft fair. This time I have bought material in a spring/nature inspired green and enhanced it with paper daisies. I also bought a little fenced crate to put some of my dogs in. Enhancements from Hobbycraft.

I hope that you enjoy your fairs and remember, you will gain from the experience, even if it’s just a list of things to remember to do/not do next time! You may even make some money! Let me know how you get on.

 

 

 

 

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