View Full Version : Fair last night
13-11-2008, 03:13 PM
Well I went to a craft fair at a primary school last night and it was distinctly average!
I was the only (yes, that's right, ONLY) person there who was selling hand-made things - everything else was either bought-in stuff being sold on, or make-up type things - avon, virgin vie, usborne books..
The woman on the left of me was selling jewellery & handbags on at a profit which she'd bought at a market and to be quite honest I can only describe it as junk! Yet she sold loads - I just can't understand it?
In the end, I did ok - covered my table costs and made a tiny bit of profit. So not a wasted trip. But why do people advertise as craft fairs - when it just wasn't??
13-11-2008, 04:05 PM
How annoying, not a craft fair at all then! Sometimes the term is used far too loosely, calling it a Christmas or a School fair would have been more accurate.
At least you made a small profit. It's funny how some people would rather buy junk than handcrafted products, but there will always be people who prefer quantity rather than quality & not everyone appreciates quality work when they see it, the downside of being at that sort of fair rather than a proper craft fair I guess.
What a shame though. :(
13-11-2008, 04:27 PM
At least if it is honestly labelled a craft and gift fair then you know that 2/3rds is probably not going to be crafts!! I think people get a little confused about the term craft.
13-11-2008, 05:52 PM
Sorry to hear the fair wasn't great for you.
It annoys me too when fairs are advertised as 'craft' fairs and half the stalls have bought in stuff.
I am doing a few Christmas fairs which are clearly craft & gift, so I expect the usual bought in goods, but I think craft fairs should be just that.
I'm currently trying to explain to a lady via email why I don't think she will have much luck getting into craft fairs with her imported jewellery - she keeps telling me they are handmade, and I keep saying yes, I accept that, but they are not made by you they are imported from the far east therefore don't count as a 'craft' for the fairs :pc:
13-11-2008, 08:53 PM
Years ago a craft fair used to only have handcrafted stuff. The only problem was that it was full of knitted jumpers, dolls and teddies with wonky faces, loo roll dollies, peg bags and aprons made from grannies old curtains, and lavender bags.
People got the impression that handcrafted meant naff !! So they got used to buying factory made stuff.
Nowadays there are such great craft supplies available and a whole new range of very good crafts being made. You only have to look at the pictures on this forum to be be enthralled. But a lot of the public still want to buy cheap mass produced items.
Also a lot of the organizers are not craft people themselves and so don't seem to know what the difference is. I recently got into selling at the local art center, which sells origional paintings and prints, but out of 4 jewellery sellers ( in only 12 stalls) 2 were selling all bought in stuff, as well as a handbag seller. I just kept telling eveyone that all my stuff was handmade by me and could not be bought anywhere else and hoping it got through to them.
14-11-2008, 02:03 AM
aawww sorry it wasnt great, i agree though shouldnt of been craft fair, i hate going a craft fair to find it basicaly a car boot:mad: xxxxxx
14-11-2008, 12:01 PM
Oh dear! At least you know now and you didn't make a complete loss!
I've been fortunate as all the ones I have attended have had the emphasis on hand crafted! So there is hope out there!:D
14-11-2008, 12:24 PM
I agree that 'craft' should mean 'craft' but, sadly, the term seems to encompass absolutely everything now :mad: I've got nothing against mass produced items as such but organisers of fairs should be honest about what is being sold. Some years ago I was seeing a Business Link advisor and he suggested that, rather than use the word 'craft', it may be better to use a term like 'artisan products' as it is suggestive of more upmarket items that have been produced by a crafts person. Maybe we should have big banners on our stalls stating each item is individually handcrafted and not mass produced :D.
14-11-2008, 01:53 PM
Yes it annoys me as well. I did one in the summer billed as a craft fair & most of the stalls were actually brick a brac second hand stuff! I also put my name down to do a fair next month that was advertised on here as a 'craft fair' then I by chance found out is actually a gift fair & a lady is going to be selling cheap bought in jewellery so I shan't be doing that one now!!
14-11-2008, 03:06 PM
I hope it works out better next time, put it down to experience, at least next time you book a craft fair you can ask 'only hand crafted' as specific question.
15-11-2008, 06:32 PM
Sorry to hear it was a bit of a let down , i did a Christmas fair this morning and it turned out to be more of a table top sale only two tables selling new / handmade things and that was me and another lovely lady selling cards :o
16-11-2008, 01:20 PM
This is all making me really cross, I too have been to so called craft fairs to find that they are not craft fairs at all.
On Saturday evening I had a stall booked at an event and when I arrived the first thing I found was that my table was not ready, apparently there was a spare table 'over there' in a corner and I could get it out myself if I wanted, not set up or arranged at all, it all looked a shambles
I then had a quick look at the other stalls as they were being set up. I do handmade soap etc, and I do mean handmade I make it all from scratch, I have spent a lot of time and money researching and learning how to do it and spending money on ingredients practising to make it. One stall was Virgin Vie, I saw someone on here mention that Lush are turning up at craft fairs so this company must be doing it too and 2 stalls with bought in bath bombs and soap which looked really shoddy and fit only for a very cheap market stall but with a big banner claiming to be handmade. I decided on the spur of the moment that I was not going to do it. I paid £15 for the table, not a lot but my time is more precious, I may try and claim it back if I can be bothered. I also thought of going to these stalls and asking all sorts of questions about the ingredients and how it is made etc I have people come to my farmer's market stall and ask all sorts trying to catch me out but as I make it I know excctly what is in all my products and why and how I make them.
When I first started doing farmer's markets I did wonder why they asked so many questions but I really understand now that they are determined to keep out the tat and bought in jewelery and handbags etc. that seem to be everywhere.
I also yesterday saw a poster for a craft fair today and called at the village hall to see if I could make contact, I phoned the organiser who rather sneeringly told me that at this late stage they had no vacancies and I should have booked earlier. I asked where she had advertised and she said everywhere, I persisted and it seemed that she had children at the local school and had advertised there. My children are grown up and my life no longer revovles round school. I went to have a look this morning and there where 6 empty tables out of a total of about 14 and no one was doing soap!
It is really difficult to find out where these fairs are, the contact details are hard to find and as I have already said there is so much bought in rubbish. I am sure there must be a better way - any ideas anyone?
You can tell I feel cross can't you!!
16-11-2008, 01:33 PM
I am not surprised you feel cross. Was your event advertised as a craft fair? I do quite a lot locally that are advertised as craft and gift and I know then I have to take my chance with others who are franchisees for various brands. However, if it is advertised as a craft fair I would expect it to be just that.
Sad that the school had spare stalls after the response you got. Even if I was organising an event that was full I would ask whether the person enquiring wanted to be put on a reserve list and whether they were willing to come at short notice.
Hope you manage to find some more events that are run properly.
16-11-2008, 02:42 PM
I would be very cross with the school organiser as well.
From my past experience the PTA and the schools are very 'clicky' and not very welcoming to 'outsiders' even if your children attend the school.
I was once told there were only school stalls and then found a PTA member and a governor both selling their own stuff commercially.
I have also heard of someone 'allowed' a stall but she had to give all her takings to the school fund. The second year she was just charged a table fee.
The trouble is that too many people are trying to 'jump on the bandwagon' They see 'our' handcrafted stuff and the prices and then buy up loads of stuff from the far east and call it handmade.
If ever there was a good reason for starting up your own craft fairs then this is it. I know it takes a lot of organising, but if 2 or 3 of us in the same area could get together and invite only 'artisans' there are a lot of church halls, skittle alleys etc available.
16-11-2008, 05:02 PM
Totally agree Melanie, one of the best fairs I did was at a little village hall not far from me, a quick look round showed me it was mostly handmade, there was one stall claiming to be handmade but to the trained eye it certainly wasn't. That said there were 21 stalls at £10 each including the infant school homemade cake stall, very well attended and I took 12 times my table fee, not bad for a manky Sunday that peed down with rain all day!!! I would be quite happy to help organise this sort of event, Selina
16-11-2008, 05:10 PM
he suggested that, rather than use the word 'craft', it may be better to use a term like 'artisan products' as it is suggestive of more upmarket items that have been produced by a crafts person.
i agree! me and a fellow jewellery designer were selling at camden market for a while. both our jewellery is perfect for young people and quite alternative so we thought camden would be the perfect place.
the first time we ever did it we were put inside in the craft area and it was FAR worse than any others we did outside with the general clothes/jewellery/bags. we found our targetted audience of teenage girls avoided the 'craft' section like the plague! but when we were outside with the other non-handmade jewellery they'd see ours by default and we'd make a lot more sales. its funny the pre-conceptions people have about crafts and handmade goods!
17-11-2008, 12:36 PM
Thanks for all the replies everyone - have calmed down about it now and suppose it wasn't the end of the world. Just really annoying that it was advertised as a craft fair and plainly wasn't - but oh well. I advise everyone to read the T&C's carefully to find out what other products will be selling - and if it's not clear, to phone the organisers and check. It's really very difficult to compete for self-employed crafters against franchises of nationally known businesses.
Crafters unite! Hooray! :)
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