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  • Are my expectations unrealistic ?

    Hi everybody

    The title says it all, I have attended a few sales in my area (lancashire) and found it not to be as much fun as I expected.

    I found the organisers to have lost all common manners and have experienced them walking around the room before the doors open saying, "you can sell that as I do !" what happened to healthy competition.

    Surely crafts by their very nature may be similar but still different, a reflection of their creator. Even gift tables will have differnt items on them.

    Jewellery seems to be a closed shop, with only the organiser and perhaps one main seller being allowed.

    There are more rules than I could possibly believe.

    Yes I understand that the organiser needs to make money but surely not at the expense of the sellers. Both parties need each other, but most sellers seem to put up with it!

    My questions are, are you happy with the service you get at your local fairs?

    Are you restricted in what you can sell and would you still attend as a seller if it was open to anybody selling anything ?

    What do you think about charging the public to enter? does it restrict the numbers attending, only giving extra money to the organiser.

    If your not happy, what makes you book again with that organiser?

    How could you experience at a fair be improved ?

    Do you think that organisers promise the world but deliver little on the day, especially in relation to advertising?

    As I said at the beginning are my expectations unrealistic?

    Thanks in advance for your replies

    L

  • #2
    The last fair that I did was a 'crafts, antiques and curios' fair. Which basically means, 3 tables of jewellery, (mine included) one table of cards, about 5 tables of bric-a-brac, a therapuetic massage chap and the Church of Scientology! We paid £27 for a table in a village hall. All the jewellery was very different, I use lots of crystals and colours, one girl had very 'childlike' jewellery and the other was 'high end' and pretty expensive. I think the only ones who made a profit were me and the card lady. There was a customer who came in and had a major go at the organiser and shouted about the church people and massage man not being crafts or antiques etc, the organiser basically told him if doesn't like it go away! Selina

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    • #3
      I've been refused a booking when asked what I sell. When I told them jewellery, the response was "oh no, we've got 3 jewellers already". Wasn't even asked what kind of jewellery mine was. I have never gone back to that particular organiser.

      Others I've booked with, state you cannot display anything on your table that you haven't listed on the booking form and yet on the actual day, nobody came round to check peoples' tables.

      My cynical side says there's only one person who is guaranteed to make money at a craft fair and that is the organiser.

      Bren
      Bren
      www.digby-bears.co.uk

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      • #4
        Overall, I've had really positive experiences with selling at craft fairs. I've come across really great organisers, both locally and further afield. I think the reputation of the few 'bad' organisers soon gets around! I always try to find out as much as possible in advance about the fair, how it's advertised, how long it's been running etc. I think you can also get some indication of the type of fair it's going to be, by the questions that the organisers ask crafters, before allowing them to hire a stall - I've had to supply photos of my work ,before now, just to make sure that it's up to the required standard.
        I think you've had a really unfortunate experience , just give them a wide berth in future!! I've found other crafters, in my area, to be an absolute mine of information on all aspects of crafting & craft fairs etc.
        Jayne


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

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        • #5
          What sort of things were you selling Linda?

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          • #6
            I've done 3 craft fairs, all organised and advertised very differently and to be honest I didn't have a problem with any of them!! Two of the fairs we got cups of tea brought round - the first one was in a Grade 2 listed building so no food or drink allowed but there was a room we could use to feed ourselves.

            I always make a point of thanking the organisers either personally at the end of the day or by follow up email.

            Mine have been good experiences and I am booked for 4 more this year (3 with same organiser) and I don't think I'll have any problems either!!

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            • #7
              I'm not very experienced, only done 2 fairs so far, but like Tip have had good experiences at both

              I'm lucky in that I'm not competing with other people doing similar work though and I'm not expecting to earn anything on the day itself but both fairs seemed to be well organised, reasonably well attended (even though the organiser can never guarantee attendance, irrespective of how much advertising they put out) and not restrictive in the slightest

              Tip and I were even entertained by folk singers, clog dancers & all sorts at our last event!

              I guess its like everything in life, you cant generalise or do other things involving tar & brushes

              Shaz x
              Keepsake Kollections
              & Rossendale Ramblings!
              http://focusonlife-shaz.blogspot.com

              Where else can you get Mental and Retail Therapy?!

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              • #8
                I think it's fair enough for an organiser to say "Sorry, we already have three jewelry stalls, but I'll keep your details for the next fair" or something similar. If there are too many stalls selling one thing, I think it doesn't work so well.
                http://smurfpop.wordpress.com/
                http://smurfpop.etsy.com

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                • #9
                  Jewellery is a real funny one.. Lots of people make it and many I wouldn't call crafts as threading say 4 beads then adding a clasp isn't to hard or creative..

                  The total opposite would be when you look at peters (beadsage) work which takes hours and a lot of creativity imho...
                  .


                  Promote your craft site today : Add Your CRAFTS
                  (£5.50 a month or £50 per year)

                  Fun new blog: Snowboard Stuff

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                  • #10
                    I agree!!

                    I have been making & selling jewellery for 3 years and I find it very difficult & frustrating in getting in with organisers.
                    I started out thinking this would be an enjoyable way of spending my time by making jewellery(which I still love to do) then selling my jewellery to people and the comments I get about my jewellery make it enjoyable but the bit in-between ie booking fairs, organisers etc make it a very hard & frustrating experience.

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                    • #11
                      Hi - replying from both sides of the fence. I have done some craft fairs and now I am organising one as part of our church fund raising activities in the summer. I feel that you can't have too many of one craft. I have allowed three jewellery stalls because they are all doing different types of jewellery, but we are limited with the number of stalls. If there were 60 stalls then it might be a different matter. I sell cards and I know that if I am at a smallish craft fair I am not made keen if there is more than one other stall doing the same thing. However it is not easy to organise a craft fair - amazing how many people want info, say they will come and then you get no reply to e-mails, so you are left now knowing whether they still want to come, can you let their space, or are they going to come back to you? Crafters please remember that the organiser also has a difficult job. I must say that the craft fairs I have done have all been different and some better than others, but I look at the craft fairs as a marketing/advertising exercise and if I sell well also that is great.

                      I think if you just let anyone come and did not vet what was sold you could end up with more like a bric a brac fair - it is the responsibility of the organiser of a "craft fair" to make sure it is genuine crafts, crafts that people are going to be interested in and a good mix. After all the customers who come in are not going to come back another time if the stalls are not interesting and no one wants to see 20 jewellery stalls.

                      All in all I have been happy in the fairs I have attended, but I think each one we go to needs to be approached with an open mind. If it is not good then you don't do it next year, if it is good you are quick to book before anyone else gets that slot.
                      Cynthia
                      http://iforjonesdesigns.website.orange.co.uk

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                      • #12
                        When i sign up for craft fairs, i always read the details of the T&C's first. Make sure they are relatively established, with good comments that i find by googling them.

                        A good craft organiser, imo, should have the common sense not to allow 10 out of 20 stalls of the same craft into their fair.

                        All the craft fairs i have done have all been fantastic. I may of not made much of a profit, but its again, more advertising.

                        Every craft, to me, is unique and creative. Maybe there are 3 jewellers are in the same hall as you, but everyone has their own style of work.
                        There are sometimes 3 card stalls, or 3 textiles stalls, but noone seems to complain about them being there!

                        SOME organisers have a Jewellery fear that everything looks the same.
                        But the differences between silver, glass, and crystal jewellery is very different. Its like a cake, chocolate and sugar sweeties stall, its food, but different food

                        Sorry that was a bit of a rant
                        Av xx
                        Sprinkles Sparkles

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                        • #13
                          I must admit I feel for the jewellery guys when I see "no jewellery please" before theyve even had chance to consider if theyd like to go or not. Whilst I know you cant have lots of the same stall & coordinating everything is hard enough anyway, I wonder if there could be some sort of style categorisation to structure things a bit to give more people a chance - one doing more antique styles - another doing more contemporary etc - styles for different age ranges etc - then maybe the jewellery crafter could plan ahead to bring along stock to suit that fair

                          Tip and I were booked onto the same fair and were told there was only space for one cardmaker - and even though our things are very different anyway, we were both ready & keen to coordinate together to fit the bill

                          Shaz x
                          Keepsake Kollections
                          & Rossendale Ramblings!
                          http://focusonlife-shaz.blogspot.com

                          Where else can you get Mental and Retail Therapy?!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sprinkles View Post

                            Every craft, to me, is unique and creative. Maybe there are 3 jewellers are in the same hall as you, but everyone has their own style of work.
                            There are sometimes 3 card stalls, or 3 textiles stalls, but noone seems to complain about them being there!

                            SOME organisers have a Jewellery fear that everything looks the same.
                            But the differences between silver, glass, and crystal jewellery is very different. Its like a cake, chocolate and sugar sweeties stall, its food, but different food

                            Sorry that was a bit of a rant
                            I agree Sprinkles, I was busy typing mine before I saw your reply
                            Keepsake Kollections
                            & Rossendale Ramblings!
                            http://focusonlife-shaz.blogspot.com

                            Where else can you get Mental and Retail Therapy?!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi fair-n-square,

                              My have you opened a can of worms with your first post!!!

                              As an ex-organiser I’ll throw my two bob’s worth in.

                              A lot of it’s down to being able to present an interesting and balanced fair to the public. They don’t want to come in and look at 24 card stalls and 17 jewellery stalls (random numbers!!!). They want to browse through lot’s of interesting items like they do in shops. So I think it’s reasonable for an organiser to restrict the number of stalls allocated to a particular craft. The trick is to get in there first!

                              It’s the well balanced and interesting fairs that customers will come back to each time they are held. You need browsers to convert into customers. There can never be enough people passing through a craft fair in my opinion.

                              I also think it’s fair that you only sell what you say you will! After all, if the organiser doesn’t already know you, your application form is all they have to go on to achieve that balance. They may not always come round checking but if it has been requested then he/she can insist on ‘unfair competition’ being removed if need be.

                              You may feel that there are lot’s of rules about attending fairs. But these have often evolved due to experiences the organiser has already had and would rather avoid happening again!

                              As in all walks of life, there are good organisers and bad organisers. I like to think I was a ‘fair’ organiser (no pun intended!). Yes, I was in it to make some money, but I wanted my crafters to do so as well. I put a lot of effort into advertising the events, both before and on the day. I believe this is of vital importance and any organiser who doesn’t think like this is being complacent in my opinion. I don’t think this leads to effective craft fairs.

                              Eventually you will get in with an organiser you are happy with and who will be happy to have you along as one of their regulars. Until then, if you’re not happy with the service you receive …don’t go back! A poor organiser will soon get the message that they will either have to pull their socks up or risk losing their crafters and therefore their event. An organiser needs their crafters as much as crafters need organisers …it’s a team effort.

                              So I think your expectations are reasonable. But it has to be remembered that everyone is out to promote and protect themselves and their potential sales. You will have to do the same, but as the ‘newbie’ it will be harder for you until you establish yourself. I’m afraid that’s just a fact of life.

                              Don’t be disheartened …best of luck.

                              Regards.
                              Fair Do.

                              Fair Do's!

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