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A different perspective

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  • A different perspective

    I have noticed a lot of threads about too many duplication of crafts at craft fairs etc. I know when I have been as a visitor and exhibitor this can be annoying but I have now turned to become an organiser with Jill (JKS), our event in May is small and we had hoped to not have duplications, however, it got to a deadline whereby we either cancelled and disappointed all those that had paid or accept that duplications would occur.

    Unfortunately as an organiser it is very difficult you have a fine line to walk and dates when there is no going back and if the hall is not full crafters are not happy along with the visitors and you have subsidised all the stalls. Perhaps as crafters it is up to us to put as much individuality into our pieces as possible not be swayed by the craft channels, the number of times I have seen the same card made up on several stalls all from same craft kit, happening now with textiles since the release of a dvd and machine offer.

    I know we all look at tv, magazines and other media for inspiration but if we all took responsibility to enhance what we do perhaps all stalls selling say textiles would all be a tad different. I agree no one wants to see the same thing on every stall, also maybe display should be looked at as a beautiful display can attract customers, make your display different form the next, if jewellery change from the normal busts and use our imaginations.

    As Mary Portas said we need to work together to get the craft fairs back on track and dress our stalls as if they were high end high street shop windows.

  • #2
    There are always two sides to each story. Like you say it's all very well toi avoid duplication, but with out the required diversity, it's unlikley to go ahead. Can you email the stall holders, stating what you have so far and ask them to contact people who might fill the gaps. The success of a fair is the responsibility of all those involved. Stall holders need to promote events too.
    If you explain in advance the situation then you may find that most people would be happy to accept a small number of duplications rather than to have o fair.
    full time mum and very very part time crafter.


    • #3
      As a customer I don't really care if there's duplication. I'll like one style of card and not another. One jewellery maker's colour choices and not anothers.
      I was going to say I seek crafters who are original but sometimes a good long standing design is just what I'm after.
      I can see the crafters being worried about the competition but maybe they should be encouraged to be inspired, drive them to better things, or reassure them they are good.


      • #4
        We are almost full, so not a problem and the stalls we have looked at to ensure that whilst may sell jewellery/textiles do different designs. It is difficult from an organisers point of view that there are not that many variations of craft out there in some areas and sometimes competition is good. We have also ensured that stalls of the same medium are not next to each other etc but agree the stallholders should also help with promoting etc and most of ours have, they are also aware that duplications of medium could occur.


        • #5
          I do not have any real problem with 2 or 3 stalls having the same type of products, jewellery and cards being the main culprits.
          If that is what you need to do to fill a hall then fine, although my personal feeling is that there is enough variety of crafters, for anybody to fill a hall. It is not difficult on the internet to find a wide variety of different crafts and crafters.

          My stuff is sufficiently different for me not to compete with anybody, so the problem of duplication does not really affect me.

          Where I have a real problem, is when I go to a fair advertised as a craft fair, and find bought in products. The organisers of these should be open and advertise them as a craft and gift fair. So long as visitors know which type of fair they are attending, that is fine with me.



          • #6
            I can certainly see both sides of this. But having been a recent victim of being one of approximately 12 jewellery stalls out of about 30 I think there is a definate line that can be crossed. I'm happy to share an event with say, 3 other jewellery stalls (more if its a big event) as I am completely different and from a customers point of view my products will not appeal to everyone. I have no problem with competition and variety for the customer is really important. However, when you constantly hear 'it's all jewellery' and such from customers who don't then give you a second look, it is disheartening.

            I agree with the comments about making your items and display appealing and eye catching. This is something I think is very important, as you say it's your 'shop window' I also try to produce other non jewellery items too.

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            • #7
              If I might add my two penn'orth as a crafter who rarely does fairs but visits lots, I think most of us do strive for individuality in our chosen craft, that very thing is what is going to make us stand apart from our competitor when it comes to showing and selling. I know how difficult it must be if you are a jeweller or a card maker as these are such popular crafts it must be so hard to rise above everyone else but it is down to "Eye appeal" at the end of the day.
              Now there's a gap in the market. Courses on 'how to' for individualising and showing off your already lovely products.
              God helps them that help themselves.


              • #8
                As a woodturners who did shows quite suucessfully for many years, sometimes you would get 5 or six turners at a general craft show or even up to 30 at a wood festival but but all would be very different doing there own products and in their own style. We used to give our setup the look feel and even smell of an old traditional rural wood workshop and was was a very succesful formula which was magical and awe inspiring. I wanted to bring craft alive and inspire people rather than just concentrating on sales because I feel we have an important role to educate people about the heritage of craft and how we do what we do.. All to often the craft show is just seen as a vehicle to generate sales but they should be much more than that.


                • #9
                  Our initial ethos was to have one stall of each craft but after 5 months of trawling through the internet, find that in the area of Surrey very hard to find 15 different crafts, this is why so many of the organisers resort to bought in which we will not do, have been approached and sometimes the people selling cannot understand what we mean by handcrafted! So if this is the level of interpretation lawd knows what the public think.

                  We have carefully selected all the stalls to ensure that they are different, yes there may be some cross overs but cannot handcuff and frog march crafters to apply or have a stall. To say that there are plenty of crafters out there is true but you can lead a horse to water etc..... As said before we have spent 5 months getting this event together and really can do no more apart from go away from handmade, thankfully did not get to that stage and would not have proceeded if we had.


                  • #10
                    Very true - I know this last event that CJ mentioned was oversubscribed by jewellery makers simply because not enough people doing other crafts applied.

                    It is clearly a difficult balancing act and it's quite obvious that this is why so many craft fair organisers accept all the MLM, party plan, franchisees, Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

                    Yes, there are thousands upon thousands of crafters in this country but they don't all want to do craft fairs.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by wendy View Post
                      Very true - I know this last event that CJ mentioned was oversubscribed by jewellery makers simply because not enough people doing other crafts applied.

                      It is clearly a difficult balancing act and it's quite obvious that this is why so many craft fair organisers accept all the MLM, party plan, franchisees, Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

                      Yes, there are thousands upon thousands of crafters in this country but they don't all want to do craft fairs.
                      I think the problem is Wendy organisers book a hall and you have to pay the full amount sometimes 2 if not more months in advance (we did) so you have to make a decision some time before the event whether to proceed or not, we were lucky and have gone ahead and looking forward to it but a lot of crafters are moving away from fairs because of bought in etc, again can understand why.

                      I also hate to mention that their are a lot of crafters out there who are not registered as a business and with all the checks now being done at these type of events by HMRC, trading standards etc think some are running scared, silly really as does not take long to register and the HMRC staff are helpful.


                      • #12
                        I applaud you for the hard work you and other organisers do.

                        The amount of duplicated stalls obviously depends on the size of the event, I only do smallish local events and don't mind 2 or 3 duplications of the same craft as long as their designs etc are different. For example, there are a lot of jewellery makers around and at the last fair I went to there were 3 Jewellery tables but they were all so different, one was very colourful with polymer beads, another was mainly copper and the third was an allsorts mix. They were spread around the room and it all worked well. A couple of shoppers bought off more than one of the stalls.

                        As a shopper I like a bit of competition and if an event is too restrictive and the crafters and crafts attending are not to my taste I would think twice about going back to that venue.

                        As a crafter I do a lot of personalised items and as long as I take a good mixture of things along with me I usually do ok even if there are 'similar' tables to mine. I give lots of business cards out and lots of people get in touch afterwards. In fact most of my sales are done afterwards, either through my facebook or by email.

                        Keep up the good work

                        Jan x
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                        • #13
                          You get a lot of crafters doing mixed crafts which can cause a lot of problems like you get turners doing cards, jars of chutney and pickle and needlecraft. I don't see any problems with a lot of duplication such as in any town centre there may be 6 moblie phone shops or a dozen hairdressers.