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My first craft fairs

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  • My first craft fairs

    First off, apologies to anyone if I offend in the following post. Just read it through and I could possibly although its not intentional.

    I posted on here about two weeks ago in my introduction about how I was going to try out craft fairs. Well, I have. I’ve attended two. Not high profile ones, just local. I’ve learned a lot. Perhaps you could let me have your comments as I now know I have a lot to learn.

    I made shabby chic type cosmetic bags, toilet bags, tissue covers and scented hanging hearts. Just for a starter. I also added a whole load of cushions that I had made some time ago. All of this was in good quality fabrics and trimmings. Mostly Clarke & Clarke. I did take a picture of my stand but don't seem to be able to upload it.

    I am sure that my stand lacked ‘interest’. Although the things I made were very pretty and I did sell some, I noticed that some people just passed me by - in fact lots of them did! I also think that me standing behind it all didn’t help. Not that I have two heads! It’s just I think people were afraid to approach in case I gave them the hard sell. Most of the stalls there had height that the stallholder almost hid behind, although they were there if needed or had the chance to start up conversation (am I right? Is this a good idea?). I have already bagged myself the top half of a dresser from the junk shop for next time.

    I now know I need much more variety of stock. There are masses of things I have in my mind, but no time to make them this time. I will be stockpiling stuff throughout the year from now on so that I can just pick it up and go next time, rather than spending weeks trying to make stock.

    The fair I attended yesterday was a bit confusing to say the least. It was advertised as a Craft Fair and there were crafters there. However, there were stalls from the local hospice with a tombola, Pampered Chef, the local Methodist church, and Anglican, raffle, cake stall, etc. etc.. These amounted to about 1/3 of the stalls. Another 1/3rd were stalls selling bought in products. One stallholder, who did make some things but not much, said she had had a great day because she had sold nearly all her stock of table decoration sequin thingies! They came in a cellophane packet so certainly not hand made. Also there were 5 stands selling jewellery. Only one had had any input into making it herself and then it was only that she had strung them. Most of it was second hand jewellery

    I had a good time though. It was nice to talk to other stallholders. Especially the couple next to me who were also first timers, and the man opposite who gave me a few pointers.

    Next time I will only do fairs where the products have to be hand made. Is this possible or are they always like the one I went to yesterday.
    Last edited by Stunning_Creations; 04-12-2012, 05:03 PM.
    Cathy
    I sew, therefore I am.
    I apologise in advance for any spelling or grramatical errors, I'm on tablets - no, no - I'm on a tablet.

  • #2
    Most of the fairs I have attended have had a mixture of handmade and brought in. I have found that it hasn't done me any harm as people appreciate that my jewellery is handmade using quality gemstones and precious metals and they are unique. They also return as they are confident in my products and impressed by my gemstone knowledge. The most important thing I have found is to find your own niche in the market and be confident in your product. I have also found that making something behind the stand rather than looking ready to pounce offers you and your customer the chance to initiate a conversation without looking like you are going in for the hard sell. I also use shelving and display stands to make my stand more interesting and easy to look at. I hope this helps. Good Luck with your future sales.
    http://debbieclairegems.webplus.net
    http://www.facebook.com/DebbieClaireGems

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    • #3
      Don't worry that some people just pass you by - you really can't be what everyone is looking for! If you think about yourself visiting a fair there are probably some stalls you wouldn't bother looking at, not that there is anything wrong with what they are selling just not your sort of thing.

      I can't quite tell from your post if you do but it is a good idea to have some height to your display, not just to hide behind but to make things look more attractive. Some people will tell you that you should always engage visitors to your stall but my experience is that this can frighten some away, the key is to look approachable but not launch into a sales pitch with everyone - give them chance to have a look first. Reading the type of customer is a skill that can be acquired (and one that you continue to learn!)

      Fairs come in all types, sometimes it is worth asking the organiser about other stallholders to give you an idea. It is not always bad if it's not all handmade, but can be confusing for the visitor as it makes it hard for them to place what they are looking at. I've been doing some Macmillan events recently partly as support for the charity and find that although some people are confused and expect me to be selling everything for a pound, others accept that I am part of the variety - sales have been on a par with some handmade only events but possibly that's to do with the fact it's a charity event so attracts a particular type of person.

      As you say fairs can be great for the other stallholders you meet, they are also invaluable for getting some feedback on what you are doing, it just takes time to work out which ones are the best for your product. Keep going and enjoy!

      Catherine
      CatkinJane - Handmade Material Things
      http://www.catkinjane.co.uk/
      http://www.facebook.com/CatkinJane
      Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/CatkinJane
      Blog http://catkinjane.blogspot.co.uk/

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