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My First Craft Fair but can't work out what to do with my goods

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  • My First Craft Fair but can't work out what to do with my goods

    I've signed on for my first craft fair in August and I was trying to work out what bits I need to do to sell on the day but 95% of my previous sales have been custom comissions, I sell crystal dummies and dummy clips mainly but I do special comissions such as shoes or other baby gifts, I also sell hand knitted headbands and will be adding a range of flower headbands and handmade ribbon bows just in time for the fair.

    I am building up a decent stock of crystal dummies in a variety of colours and patterns so they will be available to buy or I will take custom orders on the day as well for delivery after the show, same as the dummy clips, but I think I will attach the clips to different ribbons and offer personalised with names on the day as once they are attached I can work on the beads while I'm at the show for people to pick up when they leave (I'll have a helper with me to mind the stall or do the beads for me)

    I just don't know what to do for the best and how much stock to actually make up and how much to just leave for any orders, plus all my items are small so don't know how to display them to make them stand out?

    Sorry for all the questions, I'm freaking out about it now!!

  • #2
    First thing to do is relax.

    Take a good selection of the products you make. Make sure you display them nicely. If you can display using height then this is more attractive than everything laid flat on the table. Cover the table with a nice cloth that will also drop to the floor along the front (you can then store any boxes underneath the table). Make sure all items are clearly priced. Your trading name should be on display and business cards (or leaflets) available to take away.

    If you have not purchased public liability insurance then do this now as it is a usual requirement of all craft shows.

    There are plenty of similar threads of a similar vein to yours, so do a little research on the forum.

    Best of luck.

    Roger

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    • #3
      Yes, relax!

      Good advice above - take a selection of everything, display at different heights. You can use boxes, trellis, baskets, mug trees, whatever works for your product. Flat tables are unappealing and you're unlikely to sell much if you don't use height.

      As most of your previous work has been commissions, gear yourself up to take orders on the day. I print my own order forms for fairs and use carbon paper - that way the customer gets to take the printed order form home, with all the details on (and all my details on!) and I get a plain paper carbon copy for my workshop.

      When I first started, I knew I'd forget to ask certain questions, so the order form is set up so that if I go through it right, I shouldn't forget anything. Try to get an email address and a phone no so you have 2 points of contact if you need it. You can then email to say the order has been sent.

      I usually make samples up, sometimes they are only ever going to be samples - I'll never sell them as I'll never find anyone with a baby with that particular name born on that particular day and that particular weight! However, I do sell some samples because I can remake them there and then. You may choose to keep some as samples. If anyone wants to buy it, you could tell them it's a sample and may be a bit dirty/damaged or whatever and you'll make them a new one.

      Above all, enjoy the experience and keep listening and looking, talk to other people, analyse your stall - you learn something from every event you do.

      Good luck x
      digital stamps for cardmakers: http://www.handmadeharbour.co.uk
      blog: http://handmadeharbour.blogspot.com
      hand painted personalised plaques, clocks, canvases, etc: http://www.1stuniquegifts.co.uk
      blog: http://www.1stuniquegifts.co.uk/blog

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      • #4
        Hi. I know that feeling really well. My first craft event happened less than 12 months ago. I was so nervous and did'nt know what to expect. What I found at that first show was. When you find your table, look at the expected natural flow of customers and always have that in your mind. Dont get stressed (easier said than done, I know). Wear something comfy but not too casual. If the goods are good they will sell themselves so no need for any hard selling. Bright colours will always attract the eyes especially on a pale background. an ow yes, take plenty of change, food and coffee. Keep smiling and just enjoy it. I have done about 10 events now and love them. You meet so many different people from all walks of life. Good luck and like I say "have fun"
        Regards Steve

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        • #5
          Totally agree with the above posts.

          It is worth having some practice runs of your stall at home - try different layouts and different cloth colours, etc. When you find one you are happy with take photos to use as reference during set up (including some minus the cloth if you are using different things underneath for height - it will help you remember what went where!) If you have access to electricity then strategically placed lighting can help highlight your key products.

          Remember when working out how much space you will have that if your pitch size is 8ft, this is likely to include any space you need to get in and out so you would probably only have around 6ft display space. Check with the organiser as some do allow access in between pitches which means you have the full 8ft to play with.

          If a table is provided, it is worth finding out what size this is so that you are not left with any surprises on the morning of the show when you arrive! Most organisers would prefer that you ask lots of questions beforehand so that the day of the show runs smoothly (believe me it is non-stop for an organiser during set up and any last minute surprises and questions are often difficult to deal with at such a late stage!)

          I also always have a note book with me to scribble down ideas either gleaned from other stall set ups (you can get some great ideas from how others set up their stalls!), future shows to look into, possible design ideas or just things to remember to do/take for next time.

          Have a decent float with you (as I have said before, assume that the first customer will want to pay for a small item with a £20 note - it happens frequently!) and having your money in a bum bag or something on you is better for security especially during set up and break down when you may be distracted. I have a set float which I take every time (1 x £2 coin, 6 x £1 coins, 6 x 50p, etc. etc. plus a couple of notes. Look at your pricing and create a float accordingly - lots of 1p if your prices are £xx.99; 5p if you have prices ending in 5p; etc. This helps me when I am 'cashing up' at the end of the day as I know exactly how much of my money was there as float and it is re-done ready for next time. I wrote a list of exactly what I had in the float and adjusted accordingly if certain coins ran out too quickly until I now have something which works perfectly for me. I do take some 'back up' change with me if I run out really quickly but 9/10 times I don't need to dip into this as the money coming in replenishes the change going out.

          But the most important piece of advice which both Roger and Wendy have said is to Relax - enjoy the day, smile at everyone and say 'hello' to everyone no matter how tired you are feeling, how sore your feet are or how good/bad a day you have had. Put a bottle in the fridge ready for when you get home and something you can cook quickly and easily (you will be knackered!)

          I am sure you will have a great day - when and where is your fair?
          Ali x

          Etsy Shop: aliscraftstudio.etsy.com
          Facebook: AlisCraftStudio
          Follow me on Twitter:
          @AlisCraftStudio

          Comment


          • #6
            Another thought is, do you have photos of your commissions? If so it might be useful to have them with you to show other work you can do.

            Do let us know how you get on.

            Roger

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            • #7
              If your items are made of crystal think about getting mirrors to reflect the light through them. I use them for my crystal jewellery and they sparkle like mad and catch the eye. Do it all superstores do some nice sized ones, 8 in a packet and you can then use as many as you need

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi,
                I really recommend going to other craft shows and making some notes on what stall holders did well, what was done bad and who was making decent sales.

                That way, you can take some quick lessons from others and put them to work on your stall.
                Real leaf jewellery. Commissions and inquiries welcome.

                Website: http://www.arborvita.co.uk
                Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Arborvita/135721106475954
                Twitter: http://twitter.com/Arborvitaonline

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                • #9
                  Thank you everyone thats such good advice,

                  I've printed out a craft fayre checklist I found online, sorted the order forms as I know I'll forget things if I just make notes and I am hoping to take orders on the day.

                  Brilliant idea on the mirrors I think they'd show off some of the more colourful dummies brilliantly, Last time I was in ikea they had really cute mini battery operated lights which could work too.

                  Need to get a money belt from somewhere - any ideas where to get one from?

                  I am excited its just so nerve wracking, will have another trip to ikea to get some ideas of how to display things and add height, I know exactly what you mean by flat tables not drawing the eye!

                  Its in Theydon Bois Essex on 6th August, I'm mega excited for it!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi how did your first fair go?

                    We have our first one in September and I am at the nervous / excited stage and have lists everywhere of things I need to do/take/remember...everyones advise above is really useful too even though we have a bigger product some of it is still relevant...but any tips for displaying bigger products would be appreciated.

                    I hope your fair went well.
                    Helen

                    http://www.littlehoglane.co.uk

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