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Non handmade craft fairs?

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  • Non handmade craft fairs?

    Is it worth doing a craft fair which isn't strictly handmade?

    I am thinking of booking a craft fair that does look good but when I researched it I have now realised that it isn't strictly handmade. As I make jewellery local fairs are hard to come by and I will be taking the last place but if there are other people there who are selling non handmade jewellery surely my stuff will probably be more costly (although better quality ) and I probably won't do as well on sales.

    I have emailed the organiser to find out more details but what are your experiences, does handmade loose out to manufactured?

    Thanks!
    www.sparklehandmadejewellery.co.uk

  • #2
    Why not

    I have been to a quiet a few craft fairs now and to be honest I get bored when I see more than one stand with the same thing on, if your stuff is hand made then its more likely to sell better, even if its slightly more expensive I know my girlfriend would spend a little more on something unique, as would I if I was to buy her a gift. There's no harm in trying as well you never know you may have the best day of sales ever, or on the other hand you may not, but there's no harm in giving it a shot

    Mike

    ricocostumejewellery.co.uk
    Mike

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    • #3
      I had a table at a fair last Sunday. All of my wares are handmade. I had a look around at the other people there and I would say 3/4 of them weren't selling handmande. One woman, who has a franchise was selling a health drink. What does that have to do with crafts???????? Others were selling handbags that were obviously bought from overseas. There was a chap selling handmade goods but they were from a cooperative in South Africa - I have mixed feelings about that one.

      The girl next to me had handmade jewellery and she had seen another woman selling jewellery that was bought in China and everything she was selling was £5!!! Girls next to me said she couldn't compete with that because her jewellery was more expensive due to time it takes and the materials used.

      I don't really think that the organisers are bothered what people sell as longeas they get their tables booked and money received.

      I think we should start the Handmade Army and shove all of these 'rogue crafts' out the door. Who's with me?? Anyone??
      Sharon





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      • #4
        'Gift fairs' (as these events tend to be called!) can be a real hit or miss affair. Mass-produced items can be so much cheaper than those that we lovingly craft which makes it so hard to compete. It can lead to you having lots of compliments on your work, but no-one putting their hand in their purse/wallet to buy anything.

        Contact the organiser. See how much the table is and weigh that up against the time/effort you will put in. You may decide that you would not make a profit or even get back the table money. You could always use it as an opportunity to promote, promote, promote if you pushed yourself, especially if you do struggle to find local craft events to display at.

        Best of luck whichever decision you make!

        Si.
        Wood Tattoos
        Decorative Pyrography for all Occasions - Author of "Woodburning with Style" (2010) and "Learn to Burn" (2013)
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        • #5
          Originally posted by sillyoldbear View Post
          I think we should start the Handmade Army and shove all of these 'rogue crafts' out the door. Who's with me?? Anyone??
          Get ready for a stampede of recruits!!!

          Si.
          Wood Tattoos
          Decorative Pyrography for all Occasions - Author of "Woodburning with Style" (2010) and "Learn to Burn" (2013)
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          • #6
            I'll join! Left, right, left, right!

            I went to a fair once where people were selling non-handmade things and I got really annoyed. The people on the table next to me had really cheap little toys - nothing clever, things like whoopy cushions and bouncy balls and were making loads of noise and attracting all the kids - so of course they did really well and then people like me and many others didn't have any business as our things were more pricey.

            However I'm sure it's not the same at all fairs.

            Helen x

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            • #7
              I'm there

              Originally posted by woodtattoos View Post
              Get ready for a stampede of recruits!!!

              Si.
              Just tell me where the first rally is and I'm there, march straight on down to downing street. I also make my own jewellery, but I believe people aren't as stupid as they seem sometimes. I agree you will get a few fairs where there are people selling dodgy knock offs and maybe this is me being nieve but a low price can sometimes be a bit of a put off. If you can see the time and effort someone has put into an item then it instantly becomes more valuable, a good technique might be to take some of your jewellery making kit along and show people the time and effort that goes into making it.

              Mike

              ricocostumejewellery.co.uk
              Mike

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              • #8
                Difficult one and I think people should be careful how they advertise their event. There is nothing wrong with a craft and gift fair if people are aware that that is the case, then the crafter makes up their own mind whether to take part or not. I do cards and at several local fairs I have been in competition with Phoenix Cards (who are a franchise), but I do not think quite honestly it has made a lot of difference to what I have taken on those occasions. People are discerning. Also if they are local events you build up a reputation and it is good to be seen at these events.

                But if it is advertised as a craft fair then it should be just that. We are having a craft fair in August (which several of you are booked for) and I have had to be quite strict asking people whether they make their own stuff, because many people think that if "someone" has made it then it counts as a craft!!! Well it probably does but not to the person who has bought it to sell on.
                Cynthia
                http://iforjonesdesigns.website.orange.co.uk

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                • #9
                  vet your fairs

                  From my experience, before attending a fair, visit several to check out the organiser, these days even the long standing organisers are filling up with bought in tat and now food - much of which is factory based or frachised. Things have changed a lot over the last 20 years when we attended fairs full of beautiful hand made work. Genuine fairs are out there still but you have to do your homework.
                  If the fairs are good they will be difficult to get into, if it's easy they it might not be worth doing! and if you are accpeted without having your work checked out then what about the quality?
                  Woodenlady

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by woodenlady View Post
                    if you are accpeted without having your work checked out then what about the quality?
                    Woodenlady
                    I agree with Woodenlady. I had a stall at a 'gift' fair (I was lied too, I was told it was all crafts!!) and it was the cheap stuff that sold. I spent the day being harassed by a lady who sold aloe vera juice, I entered her prize draw, to be polite, and then received phone calls from her trying to sell the bl**dy stuff . So, I have to say that my experience was a pile of
                    Jayne


                    "One must have chaos in oneself in order to give birth to a dancing star."

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                    • #11
                      I find all this news slightly upsetting as I am soon to become one of the masses to sell my stuff at craft fairs. The many I have been to I have not come across such activities, can I just ask what excactly is a 'Gift' fair?
                      Mike

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                      • #12
                        I sell at a monthly farmers market / craft fair. I am the only jeweller so it's ok but along with the hand knitted and handmade soap stalls there is a lady selling Phoenix cards. I must admit it doesn't seem right, a bit like selling tupperware at a craft fair. If the stall isn't too expensive I would go along anyway with the idea that you may not sell anything but as a way of getting yourself seen. I would put out some big signs including the words 'handmade, exclusive, designer, artisan etc.' and make sure that everyone knows you make all your stuff yourself. Don't drop your prices, remember you are looking for a different type of customer that the 'tat' stalls, and if you are lucky they will be there. If you take along some cheaper as well as the more expensive stuff you may sell enough to get back your stall fees. Make sure that everyone goes away with a business card. If you are doing any other fairs write the venue & date down on the back of your card so they won't forget. Melanie

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                        • #13
                          I did a 'craft and gift' fair last week and it was advertised as exactly that. I know the organiser said 'there will be a small element of gifts' and she was dead honest and right. There were a few bought in items but hardly any and watching the sales I don't think they took much money. Most tables were all handmade and you could tell, also people stopped to talk about the jewellery, paintings, baby slippers etc. The stall next to me was a homemade chutney maker, the only food at the fair and she did really well and had won an award for her chutney and brought the certificate with her, I think this counts for a lot. The bought in bag lady hardly did anything as far as I could tell (although I'm sure her bags were very nice) and didn't seem to be having people chat to her either which is a shame as its a very social event. Another good thing was no one packed up until after the door finally closed, I do find it so off putting when everyone starts to clear away 20 mins before the end and if I were a customer I would not be impressed, Selina

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                          • #14
                            Handmade ....or not?

                            I did a local "craft" fair at the weekend and was bemused by some of the stands present, having 4 photographers, 2 of which were only advertising was off putting to say the least, there was also the usual array of imported goods. Thankfully I had a really good day but talking to other stallholders most were really disgruntled, because of this i found myself volunteering for the commitee next year so if I have anything to do with it things will be changing!......watch this space....julie x

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                            • #15
                              I steer well clear of "GIFT FAIRS" having learned the hard way - money is very very tight for everyone just now with the price of fuel and all so all the pennys the people at a fair have go on the cheap tat - you will get the odd person who appreciates what goes into hand made products but by far the vast majority will go for the cheap imports I don't even waste my table money on these anymore and am very choosy over what I do now.

                              HTH.

                              Cheers.

                              Lisa

                              Bowed Over
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