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  • Ways to sell

    I gave up most in person selling a couple of years ago from a combination of falling sales and change of business direction. I was planning to go to one sale only this year - from historic fondness really, but that 'made in county' local agricultural marquee is going to be a 'gifts and crafts' marquee this year so I won't be going.
    Given the reports of falling sales at craft sale type events all over the country what does everyone think/plan? Is this a general trend (farmers markets are falling too) and if so what next?
    With the publicity from the likes of Kirstie Allsopp persistently pushing crafting and handmaking the sector should be booming. But it certainly aint.
    (BTW this isn't a plea for me - I'm pretty much away from these events these days anyway, but it would be nice to have a plan B option to go to)

  • #2
    I have done very few craft fairs, you could probably count them on one hand, mainly because I am a (and I know you hate the word) hobby crafter and carry no insurance or reg. with tax man. I am in the fortunate position where I have no need to rely on any income from said hobby but can give most away to charity and the like, especially as the family are 'Craft gifted out' lol.
    Had I been relying on an income I think by now I would be either very hungry or tearing my hair out as the market place is not a nice place to be at the moment so you all have all my sympathy.
    However. Years ago I did earn a crust having market stalls selling pet foods and equipment on quite a few markets - dif. one each day of the week. I did earn a reasonable living at it too. One of them was an indoor market where I could, if I wished, leave my goods there in a lock-up. I think that I would persue this one and try to share the stall with other crafters, taking it in turns to run it. It is a much cheeper option, or was then, than a shop and sharing the running means that you do not take too much time out of your crafting itinnery.
    This is just what I think I would do, not for a minute suggesting that it would be an answer for anyone else.
    Last edited by Critchley; 30-12-2012, 12:52 PM.
    Carol
    God helps them that help themselves.

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    • #3
      I don't have any answers and do think that things will get a lot worse before they get better. Everyone is on the lookout for a bargain which sadly forces many crafters into an under-selling corner. Ok, "forces" is a strong word, but anyone starting out looking at similar items in their chosen field would be forgiven for choosing to price their items at a lesser price than they should.

      And I personally think that Kirstie is doing nothing more than sparking the imaginations of the general public as to what they could make if they put their mind to it; "making it yourself is better then buying it pre-made in China," is all I seem to hear her saying (not literally saying that but that's what she's putting across and I think that for many people this equates with cheaper in their mind. Now, unless you have a limitless/carefully stashed store of stuff we know this isn't true. But I think that the general public sees Kirstie have a go at something, thinks they can do it and maybe even try it and for those who can't achieve it their idea of what it should cost is not what the real cost is to those of us who make and price properly.

      As I say, I don't know what the answer is long term but can tell you this - when I sell at an event with a bar all of the sellers make more money than at an event without a bar.
      Last edited by blackwillow; 30-12-2012, 06:02 PM.
      Custom tribal belly dance costumes & accessories

      Unique jewellery for those who love to turn heads

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      • #4
        Originally posted by blackwillow View Post
        when I sell at an event with a bar all of the sellers make more money than at an event without a bar.
        Wow thats really interesting maybe a bar indicates a more up market fair and customer group which would make sense as I am completely convinced that salvation comes from moving up market NOT down. I explained it in this post http://handmadelives.wordpress.com/2...tomer-segment/
        Helping UK craftspeople make a living http://handmadelives.wordpress.com relaxing reads, quizzes, mentoring, profiles

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        • #5
          I think it is very much to do with frame of mind when the potential customers come through the door. It may be that a bar makes a difference because they get out their wallets to buy a drink and that induces a spending frame of mind...?
          Consciously or not, they know if they have come to browse or to spend.
          Saturdays are shoppers and sundays are hobby shoppers

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          • #6
            In all truth the events I have done well at that have had a bar have not been craft fairs - they have been dance events, and although the focus of the event is to watch or participate in dance and having a few stalls along the edge of the room is an added bonus/offers browsing in intervals etc the focus of most people who attend is not to go shopping.

            So the shopping takes place once the....well, once the heart and eye has been warmed by a drink or two I think.

            In terms of thinking of new ways or places to sell I think that I am saying that thinking outside the box a teeny bit - maybe check the Net for local dance events and if your particular wares fit then get in touch and see if you can have a small table there? Vintage items would go down well at a Lindy Hop or swing event for example.

            I'm happy to share that jewellery and jewellery supplies go down well at belly dance events (are trust me, there are loads of them all over the country) as many dancers make their own costumes and will use jewellery findings/vintage items/exotic fabrics and trims when doing so.

            As the thread was about where to sell I think it's worth thinking about places where there will be much less overall competition. Being one of two or three stalls with a captive audience of up to 200 or so people for three hours or so can offer a nice return. And in fairness the other reality is that you can go along to an event and make nothing......but that's the chance we take anyway isn't it?
            Custom tribal belly dance costumes & accessories

            Unique jewellery for those who love to turn heads

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            • #7
              I did a craft night at my home, invited a few of my friends, had a great night, made a nice sum and got a few orders in, I then did a stall at an xmas night market, made hardly anything,froze and came home feeling that my stuff was rubbish...I know its not but it was my first stall,and it has put me off slightly, but I will hopefully get my backside in gear and do a few more stalls?? or maybe I will just do a few craft parties at friends houses, I think the bar helps coz you are bound to spend more when you have had one or two drinks!! well at least I do,

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              • #8
                I haven't done any craft fares yet, I just have a folksy website. I have tried to promote it in the usual ways, facebook, twitter, blog etc. I've had a few sales since I started in November. I do have days where I doubt what I do though. I have read a few successful crafters blogs and one said to stick to what you love doing and don't change for anyone. Another said find out what the public want and do that. I'm not sure which is best but I would still like to enjoy what I am doing.

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                • #9
                  its all kinda crazy info isn't it, its hard to know what to do right, iv said it before but I find its my confidence that I struggle with is the problem, I need to work on me accepting that ppl might not like it or pay for it..but to that 1 person theres 10 that do love it and will pay!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by blackwillow View Post
                    - when I sell at an event with a bar all of the sellers make more money than at an event without a bar.
                    Well, there's a clear message here for all you craft fair organisers. Get a licence and organise a bar.
                    Seriously, it's not a bad idea, and with the explosion of craft brewers we've had in the last few years, you could probably find a small local brewer only too willing to put on a stall, which would also fit in well with the "local supplier" "handmade goods" image that helps promote what we do.

                    By the way, if anyone's planning this and is concerned about the quality of the beer from said small brewer, I'm more than happy to act as official taster. Very reasonable rates and I'll even bring my own glass!
                    paul

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by paulcrofts View Post
                      Well, there's a clear message here for all you craft fair organisers. Get a licence and organise a bar.
                      Seriously, it's not a bad idea, and with the explosion of craft brewers we've had in the last few years, you could probably find a small local brewer only too willing to put on a stall, which would also fit in well with the "local supplier" "handmade goods" image that helps promote what we do.

                      By the way, if anyone's planning this and is concerned about the quality of the beer from said small brewer, I'm more than happy to act as official taster. Very reasonable rates and I'll even bring my own glass!
                      paul
                      I knew I was missing a trick!
                      Custom tribal belly dance costumes & accessories

                      Unique jewellery for those who love to turn heads

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                      • #12
                        I find the same as Blackwillow. Family fun days in pub grounds. That's the place for me

                        And, I feel really bad about this (except my pitch fee does some good), fairs supporting charities. It's like the customers don't realise the stall holders are keeping the sales money for themselves.

                        Then (sort of like the fun days) - fairs with a crazy theme or lots of jolity.

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                        • #13
                          Maybe it is because they have come to spend - right frame of mind.
                          You would think that events in charity members homes would be great too - shopping frame of mind but I've experienced ones where it was a monthly social thing clearly and I would have had more sales sitting in the room on my own. And that was giving a cut to the charity too.
                          What do we think about the age of participants...too young and they are thinking things for the kids and too old and it is grandchildren and so******ing.
                          Psychology of shopping - if it were easy Marks and Sparks would not be in so much trouble!

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                          • #14
                            Well, I feel bad saying this too, but some areas are run down and some are surrounded by beautiful 6 bedroomed detatched houses. Some fairs are visited by OAPs and one parent families and some by Posh and Becks look a likes.
                            No prizes for guessing which fairs I sell most, or my more expensive, stuff at.

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                            • #15
                              Try setting up a stall in the foyer of a large office block one lunch time.

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