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Are al craft fair organisers like this? :(

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  • Are al craft fair organisers like this? :(

    Hi there

    I make soaps and I am new to selling at craft fairs. I had my first fair a few days ago the day it self went really well I had alot of great feedback from the visitors and the other traders and I had a great day. But I did find that this 'craft/gift fair' was more of a market as in there were alot of bought in goods which I think would be fine if they were gift or crafty but for example there was someone selling box files and reams of paper??!! Quite a couple of traders started packing away 1hr before the set time to close which started the other traders to pack up so when the visitor were coming in they thought it had finished. So when the fair organiser email me to ask if I wanted to do another at a different venue at quite a expensive rate I brought up my above concerns and asked if this was a regular occurance as it was my first I didnt know and asked if she had any vetting procedures. The reply I got was very surprising as I expected the organiser to say that it was a one off and that people should stay to the end and that this more expensive venue would be all crafters. but I got the response that Some bought in goods slip through the net (fair enough) and that it wasn't her fault that people left early and had I got any ideas to make them stay. She suggested I should start my own fair or go somewhere else if I wanted to stay till the end. That she was fed up of people moaning like me who are never happy, What has people leaving got to do with me and that you can buy soap from the local shopping centre how much do I sell mine for and that as for vetting procedures she said that she doesnt want soap.

    Sorry for the massive paragraph but this really upset me I thought it would be ok to ask questions about types of products on sale and their procedures when they are asking £45 for a table at a local hotel??

    Please tell me that my first experience is just bad luck and that this doesnt happen all the time
    The Sleepy Valley Co
    handmade the traditional way

  • #2
    Crikey... what a response! I'm quite pleased to say that many organisers have very high standards and do a really good job which balances the needs/expectations of the customers and the exhibitors... what a shame that your first experience wasn't with one of them! Don't give up.

    Wood Tattoos
    Decorative Pyrography for all Occasions - Author of "Woodburning with Style" (2010) and "Learn to Burn" (2013)


    • #3
      welcome to the whacky world of soaps and "craft" fairs

      Don't give up, you'll find the ones for you

      Twitter JUSTSOAPS
      Natural Handmade Olive Oil Soaps and Skincare free from SLS, Parabens, and other Nasties


      • #4
        Don't worry, you have just been very unlucky to meet a bad organiser on your first fair.

        You will find there are lots of them out there who really do care about their shows. Perhaps you just caught her at the wrong time - if you were the latest in a string of complaints, she may just have decided that she couldn't take anymore! No excuse but you may have just got a bad impression due to something like that!

        At least you know what to expect if you do decide to try them out again and if not, you will know some questions to have answered when enquiring about other fairs.

        Sadly, stallholders leaving early is not an uncommon occurence, however a good show organiser should at least challenge them about it (obviously if it was almost the close of the show it is different to half way through!)

        Keep at it - it sounds like you got some great responses from visitors for your soaps so you should do well at fairs.
        Ali x

        Etsy Shop:
        Facebook: AlisCraftStudio
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        • #5
          What a negative response. How upsetting it must have been for you to get that tirade back from the organiser!
          I won't sell at anything that is classed as a "craft and gift fair" because it inevitably means that there will be a lot of bought in tat on show and it is awful to be put beside one of those stalls, especially if, like me you sell handmade jewellery and next to you is mass produced Chinese stuff.
          Never mind, just be careful to check what is acceptable at the next event that you do and better luck next time.


          • #6
            You really didn't deserve that response, so don't let it upset you. No, they aren't all like that, but (as you've found out) some are.

            Don't let it put you off. Keep trying others - try and visit before you commit. People packing up early is a sure sign they've not had a good day (although it's very unprofessional).
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            • #7
              I agree with all of the posts so far. Unfortunately there are good, bad and indifferent organisers, all craft artist/makers have to stick to their guns and principles and then choose carefully where they spend their money at a fair - vote with your feet!

              A bad experience first time for you is very unlucky, but everyone lives and learns from these things, although it's hard at the time because it can be so hurtful and easy to take personally. It'll be better next time, you were well received by the paying public and they decide which fairs are worth visiting in the longer term. You'll get there!

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              • #8
                What an awful experience for you but don't give up they are not all like that. Try to visit before signing up if at all possible. There are a lot of fairs that I have been to look at that are selling imported goods and saying they are hand made - not handmade by the stall holder!!!!!!
                Janice Phoenixjewellery from



                • #9
                  You will learn a lot with the more fairs you do. Don't let your first experience put you off, I'm sure we've all had experiences like this or similar. You will get to know the types of organisers at different events. Good luck for your next fair, hopefully with friendly & helpful organisers!


                  • #10
                    No, not all organisers are like that!!

                    I've met a few in my time who sound a bit like the lady you booked with, but we're not all ogres

                    I've met some truly wonderful organisers over the past few years, and as an organiser myself I try to be as friendly and approachable as I can, although on the day of an event I can be a bit 'frazzled' at times, but I'd like to think I'd never be abrupt or rude to a stallholder, because at the end of the day, they're my 'customers'

                    Most organisers worth there salt will welcome constructive feedback from stallholders, as it helps to make the next event better for everyone.

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                    • #11
                      Hi. as has already been said's a shame that you encountered a 'bad' one for your first fair. but if it is any consolation this is my 3rd year at fairs and I still manage to find the odd 'bad' one as some organisers think that craft means jewellery and second hand and dont care how many they have. but I have learnt to avoid the craft and gift fair.

                      Please dont give up..maybe at your next fair you could ask the other crafters if they can recommend any fairs to you. We all like to help each other out if we can...
                      Handmade jewellery, to buy gifts or just to treat yourself visit my website, commissions welcome or join me on facebook for a chat


                      • #12
                        Hi folks thank you so much for your responses it has made me feel alot better!! I have a couple more fairs booked up so hopefully I'll have a better experience
                        so just to clarify organisers don't mind you asking what sort of products ie handmade or not they wouldn't think I'm being rude?

                        Thanks again really appreciate the replies

                        Lucy x
                        The Sleepy Valley Co
                        handmade the traditional way



                        • #13
                          What a load of tosh "some bought in slip through the net!"

                          At my fairs it is 100% handcrafted. If I think something is bought in and the seller is someone I don't know and whom I think may get shirty, then I don't ask them to remove the offending items on the day. They just would not be asked to attend any further fairs. Otherwise a quiet word will be given!

                          I don't like mixed crafts either and state that if cards or jewellery are part of your craft you must book a separate table for these (otherwise I would end up with every stall having jewellery and cards on them!)

                          I also state quite clearly on my booking forms that you are NOT permitted to pack up and leave before the end of the fair. This really annoys me, is unprofessional and selfish.

                          So ok, not all fairs go to plan, the weather on the day being the main culprit for a bad fair (at mine) but if the fair says it ends at 4pm then as a member of the public I expect to be able to turn up at 3.55pm and still see stalls there.

                          Anyone at my fairs that pack up early will be black listed and never asked to return!!! I state this on my booking forms (although in polite words!!!)

                          Then again perhaps I am different because I am a crafter first and organiser second. I only organise to give myself and other crafters a decent, well advertised fair to attend. I don't do it for a living or profit!
                          Reach for the moon-if you miss-you'll still be amongst stars


                          • #14
                            ("Hi folks thank you so much for your responses it has made me feel alot better!! I have a couple more fairs booked up so hopefully I'll have a better experience
                            so just to clarify organisers don't mind you asking what sort of products ie handmade or not they wouldn't think I'm being rude?")

                            The best organisers care deeply about their reputation, visitors and stallholders, they won't mind being asked any question. Always try and visit a prospective fair beforehand and if you still have any concerns then air them with the organiser as politely as possible, they won't mind or at they they shouldn't!
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                            • #15
                              sorry to hear that you had a bad experience but don't let it put you off, most people care about the exhibitors and my own experience has been of friendly helpful organisers so keep going and keep confident!!