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  • Advice about Stock at Craft Fairs

    I have been given the chance to go to a monthly craft fair at a local church. I dont take lots of stock, but I have been coming home with half of what I take, as the fair's have been quiet.

    My questions is - should I take all new stuff at each event, or should I take back the unsold stuff back and just do some new things to each event
    My Crafting Blog - http://croftcrafts.blogspot.co.uk/

    My Facebook Crafting Page - http://https://www.facebook.com/Crof...sCardsKnitting

  • #2
    Originally posted by runetracey View Post
    I have been given the chance to go to a monthly craft fair at a local church. I dont take lots of stock, but I have been coming home with half of what I take, as the fair's have been quiet.

    My questions is - should I take all new stuff at each event, or should I take back the unsold stuff back and just do some new things to each event
    Surely it depends on what you are making?

    Cream cakes, Christmas cards or cardigans?

    The short answer to this dilemma is that you should put more effort into finding out what your prospective customers want to buy, than what you have available to sell.

    The long answer ... where to start?

    Non-seasonal items can be put on sale again, but I think the problem here is three-fold
    1 if the fair is monthly in the same venue, you will have a lot of the same customers returning
    2 it is very easy for items to start to look 'stale' as they are packed, unpacked, handled, repacked and transported
    3 - and most importantly - you need to analyse what is not selling, and why - and, VITALLY, what is selling and why.

    It's sadly not as simple as 'do I make more?' or 'do I take the same things back again?'

    Analyse why some items are not selling at your monthly venue, and/or why you are not selling as much as you wish.

    It might be something as simple as your packaging/presentation or your display not being optimal.

    If items look 'stale', discard them unless you can reuse some components to make new things.

    You said it's 'quiet', so possibly you will never sell more than a certain amount due to the lack of footfall. If you want to continue to attend, perhaps you can offer to help with some publicity for the organiser?

    Things you make might just be 'wrong' for the demographic attending the fair, in which case you need to offer them at a venue with a different demographic and/or make different things for your current venue.

    This doesn't mean that you are at fault, or that the fair is at fault, or that there's anything wrong with your products.

    You're likely just in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong product.

    I have a baking friend who makes THE BEST bacon-and-egg pies in the whole world - but if she offered them for sale at a vegan festival she'd get jeered off the site and wouldn't sell even one. Common sense tells us that if she made organic vegetable pies with home-grown herbs in a sunflower-oil pastry, she'd probably do rather well. That's a rather silly, and simplistic, example, but I'm sure you get what I mean.

    Get to know your prospective customers deeply is my best advice. THEN you will be able to make what they want, but can't find elsewhere.


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    • #3
      Good advise Eena.

      We do regular monthly events but change our stock around according to season and replace as sold which always freshens up the stand. People would never expect you to sell out every time unless maybe you were selling food, cakes etc need to sell obviously, but to have the same items laid out the same will look tired. Have more than one arrangement for your displays and alternate them for a fresh look.

      Mo.XX
      Mo. Bodrighy Wood.
      Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage..Lao Tzu.
      www.bodrighy.co.uk
      https://twitter.com/#!/AuntieMornie

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      • #4
        I'd go crackers if I entirely sold out of stuff as it'd be so much work to make my entire stock from scratch! If fact, at one event I entirely sold out of two different simple items - and when I got home I realised I hadn't kept records of measurements or exactly how I made them, so I had to mess around quite a bit to work out what I needed to do.


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        • #5
          I think thats a good bit of advice, change my stock around, so even if I dont sell alot one month, I can keep it back for another
          My Crafting Blog - http://croftcrafts.blogspot.co.uk/

          My Facebook Crafting Page - http://https://www.facebook.com/Crof...sCardsKnitting

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          • #6
            From what I have seen at craft fairs I think that you did extremely well to sell half your stock. I think that compared to other people I have known who attend fairs and sometimes hardly sell enough to cover their table fee, you must be doing what you do very well. I could say that you were very lucky but it must be more than that.

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            • #7
              I agree selling half your stock is amazing, it could just be that you are underpricing so price some pieces up and see what happens.
              Helping UK craftspeople make a living http://handmadelives.wordpress.com relaxing reads, quizzes, mentoring, profiles

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Handmade Lives View Post
                I agree selling half your stock is amazing, it could just be that you are underpricing so price some pieces up and see what happens.
                I have thought about changing my prices, but decided against it. I sell most of my stuff to pensioners, they wouldnt be able to afford higher prices, especially in my area! So what Ive decided to do, is offer different things at different prices. medium cards one price, A5 cards slightly more, gift boxes slightly more, model work slightly more again.
                So im going to be taking slightly less in the way of handmade cards, and some odd bits of other things, like gift boxes, etc.
                See what happens
                Last edited by runetracey; 16-01-2015, 05:06 PM.
                My Crafting Blog - http://croftcrafts.blogspot.co.uk/

                My Facebook Crafting Page - http://https://www.facebook.com/Crof...sCardsKnitting

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by runetracey View Post
                  I sell most of my stuff to pensioners, they wouldnt be able to afford higher prices, especially in my area!
                  Do not discount the purchasing power of pensioners, whatever area you are in.

                  They/we (I am one!) may well have a significantly higher disposable income than many other members of society who might outwardly appear to be 'wealthier'.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by eena View Post
                    Do not discount the purchasing power of pensioners, whatever area you are in.

                    They/we (I am one!) may well have a significantly higher disposable income than many other members of society who might outwardly appear to be 'wealthier'.
                    So true - the "grey pound" is well worth chasing

                    Jane
                    www.just-soaps.com
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                    • #11
                      The grey pound is out there and waiting to be spent. Sometimes it can be quite difficult to know what/how to spend it, as it really is often true that you 'need' less things as you get older, because you already have most of them ...

                      We hear all the time about 'poor pensioners'; well I am in the category often classed as 'poor' as I have no generous index-linked pension provision BUT so many things are cheaper/discounted for the over 60s/65s/whoever.

                      From the hairdresser to public transport, car insurance to prescriptions, theatre tickets to zoo entrance, discounts, concessions, freebies and simple good old-fashioned lower prices abound.

                      Plus we can go to the shops at odd times to get the fresh artisan bread the moment it's cut from £1.89/loaf to 32p, and fill the freezer - YUM!

                      My friend Ellen follows the chap with the discount tag gun around her local supermarket once a week. Last summer she phoned me up and said 'Come to supper! It's lobster salad! Fresh cream cakes to follow!' Lobster salads 20p each; cream cakes box of 5 assorted, 50p. I took along a couple of bottles of home-made elderflower champagne and there you have it - OAPs on benefits hold lobster and champagne party!

                      Although I feel truly sorry for people of any age who are 'past it' mentally and/or physically, especially if they do not have a loving family near them, most pensioners are as well off as we've ever been, as we have fewer calls on our income and many more ways of extending it, even if we choose not to stay in paid employment.

                      Mind you, ageism is the last great bastion of discrimination, even though it comes to ALL of us (we hope!), whatever our race, colour, culture, gender, (dis)ability, religion, sexuality, religion or ethnic background might be, including those nasty pieces of work who are themselves discriminatory. Although the anti-semite will not 'become' Jewish, the homophobe unlikely to sway from heterosexuality and the anti-immigrant will probably never themselves emigrate (although the saying about 'doth protest too much' comes to mind in most of these cases, one way and another!), even the very youngest and most ageist person will themselves either cease to exist or become, weirdly, the subject of their own discrimination ...


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                      • #12
                        I agree the grey pound is worth a lot of money. Round here the pensioners are wealthy, on index linked final salary pensions and always spend big, they are my best customers plus they appreciate the work going into handmade which sadly a lot of younger customers do not. They spoil the grand kids if they are with them as I found at one of my local fairs, what the grand kids want they get from Granny and Grandpa.

                        Have you priced out your cards ie materials, time, overheads (such as electricity, rates, pli insurance, petrol to events and not forgetting time) plus profit you may be surprised as this all adds up. A handmade A5 card depending on detail can be priced from about £8.00

                        Dixie did an excellent post on pricing for failure on her blog, well worth a read. Easier to offer a discount on the day for bulk purchases rather than realise you are losing money big time and have to hike up the prices later.
                        Last edited by Caroleecrafts; 17-01-2015, 07:53 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Whenever we do a 3-4 day event the Thurs/Fri are usually our best days as most of the customers are older retired people who come to spend - whilst Sat and Sun are usually families who have far more demands on their income

                          As Eena said above retired people have far less demands on their income with more disposable cash
                          www.just-soaps.com
                          Twitter JUSTSOAPS
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                          • #14
                            Yep, it's not necessarily about your customer's level of income - it's far more about your customer's level of disposable income.

                            Although the two are certainly to some extent linked, the linkage is not as close as one might suppose at first thought.


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                            • #15
                              Well I did the craft fair today, very quiet, again. This time sold very little. There was another lady selling cards cheaper, and guess who sold more - she did.
                              Cost in my area is something I have noticed, I have tried selling more expensive and sold nothing. So now I have found my pricing, but I wont go lower, my stuff will sell as it is, or I wont bother trying to sell.
                              I think I will leave doing another event at this venue for a couple of months
                              My Crafting Blog - http://croftcrafts.blogspot.co.uk/

                              My Facebook Crafting Page - http://https://www.facebook.com/Crof...sCardsKnitting

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