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making money at craft fairs

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  • making money at craft fairs

    I've never done a craft fair and am planning on signing up for one in the very near future but am slightly reluctant as I'm concerned I won't make enough money to cover the cost of the stall. Stall is £35-£40. I sell beaded jewellery which is all handcrafted by me and my sister. Cheapest item £2.50 going upwards to a maximum £15 probably. The fair would be with yorkshire fairs and so they're well advertised and in prestigious locations. I have no idea whether I'll make any money though.. I've invested a lot in making my jewellery. Does anyone think that I'll make money?? I know people wouldn't do them if they didn't but I'm concerned that I'm spending yet more money without making any!!
    And (oh no!) how does this all work out for tax?? One of my relatives is a tax man so I don't want to get caught out!!
    xx beadyeyes

  • #2
    Could you perhaps visit one of their fairs first, to see how many people they get through the door and (perhaps more importantly) how many people are actually spending?
    Katian Mosaics

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    • #3
      I think this is the risk we take. I've read on here some people having a rubbish experience & one fair but they go somewhere else and do really well!

      sorry, i wasnt very helpful!

      Sometimes what we say is not what we mean & what we mean is not what we say - that's why I paint!

      My bloggity blog

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      • #4
        I think from my experiences, jewellery tends to be something that has more chance of selling well, especially if you have a range of items at a range of prices. Some people will only be prepared to spend a few pounds at a fair, whereas I personally will spend a lot more if I like something and know it's hand made. Perhaps weigh up how much you will have to sell to make back your table money, petrol money, parking etc??? But also think about the fair itself and what it can bring as wel as sales on the day - a chance to meet and nework with other crafters, possible future orders from customers/businesses that take your details away and come back to you in the future. Of course, this again isn't gauranteed, but you never know until you try! Good luck!
        Katian Mosaics

        ♥ My Ebay Listings ♥

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        • #5
          You can never tell. I did one on Sunday, half the stuff wasn't crafts and 3 of us selling jewellery. My prices sound like yours, I took £110 (yay) the girl next to me took £11 and the other girl said her day was 'abysmal' so go figure!! Selina


          • #6
            If there was a magic formula we would all be loaded. I agree with Katianne it's not always about sales on the day. I use fairs like a marketing promotion.
            I have been to some where you do nothing on the day but end up with loads of comeback sales and other fairs where you are really busy.

            This year thanks to the advise given on here I'm not going near anything that has commericaly bought stalls. (apart from two which are for charity's)

            You can always go along and check the fairs out first without commiting but I think the best way is to give it a go to judge public respone to your stock and take it from there.

            Anyway all the very best with what ever you decide.



            • #7
              I agree with all the above. You really do not know what you will get on the day. All my jewellery is handmade and I spend a lot of time making sure that I am happy with the design and then making it so it really hurts when there are other stands of cheap bought in goods which are selling really well. No accounting for taste. Good luck.


              • #8
                Really sorry, my love, but all the above is true. You can only suck it and see.

                The table sounds expensive, but if it's a big venue it may be worth it.
                My stuff is quite low value - I make cards and little hand-sewn bits and bobs for home decoration - and the dearest thing I sell is a very large card at £2.50. So I struggle to make the table money back, let alone the petrol and parking.

                As for tax, perhaps have a word with the IR helpline? If you intend to run this as a business you need to get squared up with them. I'm registered with them for self-assessment, and I also work full-time under PAYE. They were very helpful for me.
                I just did my SA form in January and had to report a profit this year, but I did buy a lot of equipment. This loss can be carried forward to set against future profits ( hah! As if!)


                • #9
                  yep all true, you have to enjoy it, and hope that you sell...


                  • #10
                    I think we are all saying the same sort of things. You can never tell. I did a Christmas craft evening the year before last and took hardly anything, decided however to risk it this year as I had done an earlier one in the same venue and had a brilliant evening, so ..... It really depends who comes through the doors and sometimes the busiest aren't the ones where people are buying. If they are walking round not looking at the people behind the stalls they probably don't want to buy. I sell cards and I also find you have to turn over quite a few things to make the money. However I have learnt over the last couple of years what things sell well and packets of notelets for instance make more in a sale and as I use my photographs for cards I have started to sell mounted prints. Only time will tell how you get on, but one thing if you in a mixed craft and gifts fair is to make sure that people know you have made the jewellery yourself - I always find people take a second look when I say I have made everything myself and take my own photos, I think up to that point some people just think I have bought them in. They suddenly are more interested. Also as others say, if it is a local fair use it as a marketing opportunity, I have had one fair where I did very little selling on the day, but a lot of talking to people and since then have had repeat large orders which started with those conversations.

                    Good luck.


                    • #11
                      I have a stall every month at the farmers market. no two months have ever ended up being the same. the browsers one week might be the buyers another. there have been a few months over the three years where I've not made my stall money others where I've been rolling in it.
                      If you can't afford to loose the stall money and waste the time getting ready manning the stall etc. then don't do it as there is no guarantee.
                      full time mum and very very part time crafter.


                      • #12
                        All of the above is true, it is 'suck it and see' as Primmers said! However, with experience, you learn to ask the right questions before booking a stall, especially one that costs £35-40. How are they advertising it? What numbers did they have in last time they did a fair? Is it in a location where there is likely to be passing trade? Is there free parking? (I once did a fair where I paid £10 for a stall and almost £15 for all day parking!!).

                        The very first fair I did was in a village hall, paid £30, and I had a bit of trouble finding the hall since there were no signs saying 'craft fair this way', not even a sign on the FRONT DOOR when I got there!!! No indication that there was a craft fair happening at all until you got in to the right room! Knowing what I know now, I might pay a tenner for such an event, since as has been mentioned before, a tenner for a days advertising in a local community is worth the bother but never £30..

                        Hope that helps a little bit?!
                        My Etsy Shop


                        • #13
                          Just thought I'd throw my two bob's worth in's all true never can tell. Yorkshire Fairs are a pretty big outfit, so should, should! provide a good level of footfall on the day. They will do that because they have established the event in the venue and people will come to expect it and even wait for it to come around so they can buy something they want.

                          Your focus is clearly on making money, but maybe you need to consider the bigger picture of establishing yourself as a jewellery retailer first, and that may involve trading at a loss, at least to start with. You may be lucky and hit the right event at the right time and take loads of money. On the other hand you may not take a penny! But that's the risk you take when trying to establish yourself.

                          You need to 'market' yourself, let potential customers get to know you, chat to them. The big thing is not to be disheartened, even if you don't take any money at first, what you have done is presented your 'shop window' to the passers by. Maybe next time they will buy from you. Unfortunately you may have to speculate to accumulate. If you really don’t want to risk not breaking even then I agree, don’t do it!

                          I think it’s also fair to say that as jewellery is a very popular craft you will almost certainly have competition from more established crafters at the event. But that’s not necessarily a problem so long as you are offering a quality product at a reasonable price as it’s also true to say that a lot of people want to buy jewellery!

                          On a side note, one thing I think is a major mistake by crafters is to appear desperate for a sale. That will almost certainly send potential customers running. And even worse is when there are 3 or even 4 people all crammed behind a 6 foot table all holding their breath and watching like hawks every move a poor browser makes! Ask yourself how it would make you feel! It’s a fine art getting it just right, but you will only be able to start mastering it if you get out there and do it!

                          The other thing to bear in mind is that sometimes an organiser can put 110% into promoting the event and if the people decide they just don't want to turn up then the crafters will see it as a flop. Sometimes it just happens that way.

                          Anyway, I’ve rambled on enough …I truly hope it works out for you.

                          Best of luck.
                          Fair Do

                          Fair Do's!


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Fair Do View Post
                            And even worse is when there are 3 or even 4 people all crammed behind a 6 foot table all holding their breath and watching like hawks every move a poor browser makes!
                            i remember being at one fair and there being 4 people stood behind the stall. It was like they were on guard.
                            What was funny though was that no one went near their stall. people wer walking around and then as they got to that stall it was as though some force was driving them away coz they'd look up and then move on pretty quickly. The other stall holders called them the mafia!!
                            full time mum and very very part time crafter.


                            • #15
                              Craft fairs can vary, so dont worry. Until you get out there people wont remember you. Make sure you market yourself well - have leaflets that they can take away, on the leaflets put where your going to be in the furture and make sure your stall stands out by having something different on it as a display.

                              Theres alot of effert before hand, but its worth it and people start to remember you. £30 - £40 for a stall is the highest i pay for a day and i would expect the fair to be well advertised for this amount of money.

                              As someone has sadi before go and have a look at one of there fairs before hand. I did this with one of the groups i go with. You get a feel for it and know how to be different.

                              Keep it up and dont get disheartened. Sometimes you loose and sometimes you dont.... but it gets your business out there.

                              As for the tax man... ring them up they wont hurt. you can go on some really helpful courses with them. I work and do crafts and iv never had a problem, i just fill a self assessment out and they calculate what you owe.

                              Good luck sweet!
                              x Maria