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Craft Fairs

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  • Craft Fairs

    I wanted yo share something with you all and get your opinion. Over recent months I have received several invitations to attend different craft fairs. I attend in the main 2 craft fairs a week but these wont start till we get towards the end of April so between Christmas and April I am always on the look out for the odd craft fair. I am quite well known in my area so if anything is going on I generally get to hear about it.

    I attended a craft fair on Saturday but the weather was awful and I blanked, as did several other stalls. We had a lady come round who gave us a leaflet each about a craft fair she was organising and its only about half an hours drive from me so I will go. Its from 11am to 3pm so that is not to bad. Many invitations I get state the doors will open at 10 and will be open till 12-30. that gives just 2 1/2 hours to try and sell our goods, not very long. The normal craft fairs I attend are from 10am till 4-30. I can get in an hour before to set up and I am happy.

    I have just received another invitation and this is a completely new one to me so it must be a first for the organiser. The tables are £15 each and I need 2 for my stuff. The doors open at 2-30 and we would have to pack up at 5pm. Its going to take me and hours driving to get there. I sent an e-mail to the lady organiser and told her it would be a complete waste of my time. Its going to cost me £50 to attend and I would only have 2 1/2 hours to make any sales. I told the lady that if she was to organise any more craft fairs where we could be open for at least 5 hours I would be interested. As I said, it takes me a good hour to get set up and once the doors close another hour to pack up, which is the worst part, then I have to get it all back into the car and for me it is just not worth all that hassle.

    What do you think, do you have the same attitude to me. Its not so bad if you only have a few boxes of stuff to take but I have 12 boxes plus a huge storage box with all my display stuff.

  • #2
    I agree with you on this one. We have turned down a couple recently for the very same reason there is just not enough trading time. If we are setting up both the woodturning and the jewellery it can take 90mins to set up and 45-60mins to break down and like you the cost of two tables plus travelling, and that's without costing in our time as we run a business from it. We did do a christmas one of an evening for the switching on of the lights but we still got 5 hours of trading in.

    Might consider something very local and very cheap, £10 table max or % of takings, but would have to be at least three hours trading with a guarenteed reasonable footfall for such as school/charity fundraising.

    Mo. Bodrighy Wood.
    Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage..Lao Tzu.!/AuntieMornie


    • #3
      I don't have a lot of things to move, and fit it all in a wheely suitcase, but I don't drive or have a car and rely on public transport. On the weekends, this makes getting to and from a craft fair a big headache. Only local ones for me from now on - the last one took me 2.5 hours to get to, and it was just the county next door!
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      • #4
        I take the same attitude. I often have local schools approach me, they have "shopping evenings" which amount to just 2 hours of trading. I always explain to them very gently that with the hour it takes me to set up and the hour it takes me to pack up, plus travel time, it's not worth my while. I'd be lucky in that time to make enough to cover my costs.


        • #5
          Craft Fairs are a tricky one for me, during my first year I did several fairs and learned a lot from the experience, chatting to customers, getting feedback on my items etc. So it was extremely useful for building my confidence and talking about what I do.

          However I have decided not to do anymore as by the time you account for the stall fee, travel, cost of materials for what you sell, your time, there is very little or no profit (just talking about myself here, I'm sure it's different for everyone).

          So I totally agree with you, if there's only a couple of hours trading time it's not worth it unless very cheap table fee, commission only or very local.
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          • #6
            I generally agree however I remember doing one in a school local to me so petrol costs were minimal and the table 'fee' was a raffle prize. It lasted 2 hours and I never stopped, taking more in those 2 hours than I frequently did in a full day trading. Now I'm much rather do that than sit in a cold hall bored out of my mind for 8 hours with hardly any customers coming through the door - but that's the problem unless it's an event you know well it's such a lottery knowing if it'll be worth your while or not.
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            • #7
              When is it worth attending a craft fair...........

              I agree that anything less than five hours is not worthwhile - think about cost of petrol, tax, insurance and general wear and tear on your vehicle before you even take into account table costs, stock, refreshments [especially if there's a cake stand next to you!] etc etc. The best fairs start around 10.30 and finish 4.30/5pm. I did try a mini Xmas fair which was only 5 miles from home. The table cost was minimal but the fair was very much a village affair full of yummy mummies selling their jams and cupcakes and with hordes of small uncontrolled children racing about - not very professional and although I made some sales most of the customers were just coming to chat with their other yummy mummy friends and buy a cake for tea! I find the best places to set up shop are rural agricultural shows where you can take a table in a craft marquee. You usually have people around from about 8am until late afternoon and footfall is much better. Then again I've done well at smaller events and worse at rural shows - swings and roundabouts really
              Last edited by Shalimar; 13-02-2013, 01:29 PM. Reason: bad spelling!


              • #8
                Originally posted by Shalimar View Post
                [especially if there's a cake stand next to you!]
                Many a time I've managed to spend the majority of my profit at that cake stall!
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                • #9
                  Another one here agreeing that, generally speaking, an event with only a couple of hours selling time is probably not worth the hassle. I too, need around two hours to unload and set up and a good hour to break down and pack away - and that's not counting the unloading, sorting, stock take and packing away when I get home.

                  Any event that doesn't allow craftspeople at the very minimum one hour to unpack and set up is probably not a well thought out and organised event, and is being done be those who don't understand what goes on in the background of such events.

                  Everything has to be considered when making the decision whether or not to attend - cost of stands (including % commission, raffle prizes etc), distance, venue, organisation/administration, cost of travel, preparation time, set up time etc etc.



                  • #10
                    Another one in agreement. We're just updating our diary and booking in a number of events and this year will be going mainly for the all day village shows, agricultural events, steam fairs etc. Often a pitch is usually no more than the equivalent of £35 per day and for the 2-3 day events there are usually several hundred people camping overnight so you can trade for 24 hours if you wish! We will do other more local events for £10-15 but we've had information for events on for only 3-4 hours and trying to charge £25-35 to attend. Obviously turned these down. We also find that with the village/agricultural type show you can put a gazebo up the night before (there is security on most sites), park the car immediately behind so there is never usually any problem with setting up or taking down. Usually as a bonus attendees come willing to spend money as well!



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                    • #11
                      I've just been invited to a fair giving half an hour to pack up....I've actually said yes to it so that should be fun. I'm always the last one out when we are allowed an hour! .

                      I also got invited to a fair asking £35 a table plus 10% of the takings, in February, in a village where I only took £35 (£5 table before Christmas) (Nice fair but worst takings I've ever taken). I said no to that one.

                      As I was doing fairs while moving house over the run up to Christmas I did split my stuff into big fair, little fair. It was quite nice not to lug so much about.

                      I'm in a new area and all the fairs I can find are double in price to attend and all the ones I've done are a quarter the money I used to make.

                      I'm scratching my head about what to do too.