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Anyone tempted up give up fairs for '08

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  • Anyone tempted up give up fairs for '08

    I love getting out and meeting people but I am finding craft fairs harder and harder. I feel that people are so used to seeing brought in goods at shows and seeing people who claim to make things that they clearly don't, that vistors to fairs have become a little sceptical about what you tell them.

    I'm tempted to give fairs a miss next year, anyone else thinking the same??

    Leanna
    www.purethoughts.co.uk
    Natural soaps and skincare, handmade from beginning to end...

    Pure Thoughts Newsletter - Free samples for 50 new subscribers every month

  • #2
    Not thinking of giving them up all together as I did a few cracking shows this year, but I am going to cut right back on what I book.

    I want to concentrate on getting my wares into more shops round the country as I agree that fairs are bloomin' hard work for very little return sometimes.

    But having said that, and I know I keep saying it on this forum.... I have received some good orders as a direct result of people seeing me at fairs so it's a tough call to make.
    Blog Website Flickr

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    • #3
      I haven't booked any for next year year and I don't think I will be doing many at all just a few local ones. They have been terrible this year so I am going to put my efforts into the web as it has been far busier. I found myself wishing I was at home filling the orders that I had got from the site instead of standing around doing absolutely nothing.

      Cheers.

      Lisa
      Bowed Over
      Handmade Dog Collar Accessories
      www.bowedover.co.uk

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      • #4
        I've only done 2 Craft Fairs and both this year. The first was very very successful and the second quite poor. However, I did get to have a good natter with Swirly at the second one so not all was lost!

        But I think I will try and choose wisely the ones to do but I suppose that if I don't try, I'll never know!

        I'm hoping to get some of my cards into some 'outlets' - I'm making a list, checking it twice (does this sound like a festive song hehehehe!) and hopefully it will help a little!

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        • #5
          I'm not sure. I've only done a few fairs this year and am new to it, but it's clear that other, more experienced people have had poor years.
          Quite frankly I've been very much out of pocket, and really it's money we can't afford.

          Having said that, I do like getting out and about and meeting other crafters - this has been the best part of the fairs I've done.
          The other posters are right, I think, in that many fairs have an element of bought-in stuff,mainly it seems manufactured in the Far East or India, where the labour costs are so low that these things cost pennies.

          Our high streets are full of low-cost 'fancy' goods, and our clothes shops and supermarkets full of low-cost clothing, that the buying public can very often get say a jumper or T-shirt at a fraction of the price a crafter would charge.

          At Coventry fair there was a lady selling beautiful hand-made knitted clothes, scarves etc, and the price, for hand-knitted and well-designed clothing, was very reasonable - but of course still way above what your average Jill or Joe would pay in Asda or Tesco or Marks. And looking at the work that had gone into these things, it was clear that she was not charging for her time in making them.

          My husband came back from work yesterday with a 'hand-finished' card given to him by a colleague: very pretty, very nice - and produced by the million in China by workers most likely working in awful conditions for little pay. I can't compete with that. And I only charge between 1.25 and 2.00 for a card.

          I found that punters at fairs fell into two categories. PPP's, and then those that bought several items. What I didn't get was the one-customer, one-card purchase. I had customers who selected several cards and paid about 10.00 a time. So unless I get a customer who buys in this manner, I won't make sales.

          The lollipop stick bookmarks for children went extremely well, but we priced those at pocket-money prices, so we had to sell a lot!
          Primmers
          www.ExquisiteCards.etsy.com

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          • #6
            Last year was my first year of craft fairs, some were successful and, at others, I lost money. I think the experience has taught me a lot and for 2008 I've decided to be more selective. I have a rough idea of which ones are a definite 'no no' and a fairly good idea of a few fairs and shows that are almost guaranteed winners. I've also got a better idea of the type of products that sells well at particular events and I've been designing new products and coming up with new ideas for packaging and marketing.
            So, I'm not going to give them a miss, I'm just going to try and choose fairs that are profitable and change my products to target specific customer bases. Although, even at fairs where I make a loss, I still think that they have been a good marketing exercise to make people aware of my products, plus I hand out leaflets advertising the local studio where I sell some of my goods.
            Jayne


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

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            • #7
              i have bookings in for next april may and november plus the annual ones i found this year that sometimes i had a poor craft fair but the orders were worth the hassle like big two day fair i only lifted £90 but i ended up with £200 worth of orders
              while i knit i think

              http://foxyscraftythoughts.blogspot.com

              http://thecraftyfox.misi.me.uk

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              • #8
                I thought of stopping doing fairs, but have decided to change where I hold them. I have given up on Church halls for events, even with all the advertising & leaflet drops they still don't seem to bring in the crowds.So decided to go bigger & book the big centres to hold them, which gives us crafters more of a chance as the crowds will be there anyway & crafters will get a chance to show & sell their crafts.
                I have booked the Red Dragon Centre in Cardiff Bay which I have been told gets 10,000 plus people on the weekends, so hopefully this works out for crafters, Because I will be booking every last weekend of the month.
                Maybe you should try the bigger craft fairs, some shops will put your crafts on show, sometimes for free or for just a small fee...Don't give up yet!!!!

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                • #9
                  I have never done a fair and probably never will, it all sounds like to much hard work to me and I do well enough through my website.
                  Cake Toppers http://huntersdesigns.co.uk
                  My etsy http://peculiarforest.etsy.com
                  My Blog http://peculiarforest.blogspot.com

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                  • #10
                    Don't know about giving up craft fairs I am seriously thinking of giving up crafts. The only thing I can make is cards and what do you do with them when they're made. Either people make their own or they think you're too mean to buy one.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Xantia View Post
                      Don't know about giving up craft fairs I am seriously thinking of giving up crafts. The only thing I can make is cards and what do you do with them when they're made. Either people make their own or they think you're too mean to buy one.
                      ..I always find I come up with (think I come up with) brilliant ideas when I hit a wall like that. If you think cards are too over saturated then why don't you move into scrap-booking, gift tags, placecards, collages etc....or find out what the next big thing is and go for it before anyone else!
                      ..in regards craft fairs-i'm doing a few this year but i'm being very selective. I'm not doing ones set up in church halls etc but ones set up by local arts organisations. Hopefully that'll weed out the mass produced stuff.
                      Dichroic Fused Glass Jewellery & Glass Fusing Blog
                      Dichroic Glass Tutorials
                      Wholesale Dichroic Fused Glass Jewellery

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                      • #12
                        Promoting Handcrafted Items...

                        Having organised a year of craft fairs, I don't think I'll give up anytime soon. Even as an organiser, fairs are not a get rich quick option, but I love this job.

                        My goal is to get craft fairs & crafters noticed. Handcrafted items are not ever going to conquer the market if everyone gives in after a bad experience. Although I know how bad that feels, and just how out of pocket it leaves you....

                        We've had events this last year that have ended up costing us thousands of pounds of money that we can ill afford. We've had fairs that have hardly seen anyone through the door. But we've also had hugely successful fairs, and fairs where we couldn't sell stuff fast enough. We've also been approached by the events teams in the most wonderful locations, like Sudeley - I was gutted when the foul weather intervened and we had to cancel. The whole thing was a nightmare from start to finish, due to circumstances that were out of our hands, but I'd jump at the chance to do that location again as the fair would have been brilliant.

                        Sometimes Fairs aren't about sales, but about getting yourself seen. As several people have said, they can be incredibly successful on the orders front. I've had large trade orders placed after someone has seen me at a craft fair. The largest was £560 worth.....and I'm fully expecting more from the same source in 2008. I've just been contacted, after being seen at Bath a few weeks ago, and asked to produce 144 metres of wedding bunting!

                        Don't give up on yourselves, your crafts and your creativity. If you think craft fairs in your area need a new boost, then organise some fairs yourself! It's easier than you might think and will help loads of local crafters promote their crafts. If enough fairs are held, witout cheap imports, Joe Public might just get the idea that craft fairs are not 'Made in Taiwan'

                        Go for it!

                        Jules
                        Apple Tree Crafts
                        www.appletreecraftfairs.com

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Apple Tree Crafts View Post
                          Having organised a year of craft fairs, I don't think I'll give up anytime soon. Even as an organiser, fairs are not a get rich quick option, but I love this job.

                          My goal is to get craft fairs & crafters noticed. Handcrafted items are not ever going to conquer the market if everyone gives in after a bad experience. Although I know how bad that feels, and just how out of pocket it leaves you....

                          Sometimes Fairs aren't about sales, but about getting yourself seen. As several people have said, they can be incredibly successful on the orders front.

                          If enough fairs are held, witout cheap imports, Joe Public might just get the idea that craft fairs are not 'Made in Taiwan'

                          Go for it!

                          Jules
                          I absolutely agree, I see fairs as an advertising opportunity (I must have said that hundreds of times) not just to advertise myself and my products but also to show off the fantastic range of crafts that are available on peoples' doorsteps! The cost I pay to hire a stall is really cheap in comparison to taking out an advert in a local publication, plus people get the opportunity to see & touch the products, rather than just looking at a photo. It doesn't hurt to be selective with the events that you pick but, if everyone gave up on craft fairs it would be disastrous for the whole of the crafting community.
                          Jayne


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

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