Friday, 30 October 2015

Preparing for Christmas Craft Fairs. A Beginners Guide.

Tis the season to be craft fairing? The newest boom in craft has meant that there are lots more fairs than usual. We have done quite a few over the years so we thought we would share  the things that we wish someone had told us when we started. If some of this is obvious please don't be offended.

Before the Fair
Long before the fair you will be making stock but also check old stock if you have any- we make a 50p box of things that didn't sell last year which is extremely popular with children looking for cheap presents for Mummy, grandad etc.

50p box just visible at child height.

Find out how big the space is if you can, if not assume 2m long, with room for you to stand behind a table.
Do you need to provide your own table? We use pasting tables from B and Q but we regret not spending a bit more on something more sturdy.
Are you provided with chairs - a day is a long time to stand up.

Prepare a float so you have coins and notes for change. Make sure you have a means of keeping your money safe - we use a bum bag. Some people may ask for a receipt so a cheap receipt book might come in handy.

Label boxes of stock so you can find things easily. Hopefully you will be very rushed
Think about pricing and then make sure your customers know the prices - you could use labels tied on the goods or notices that are easy to see. This is always the most difficult thing for Vicky and I, but if you don't sell very much, even though lots of people look at your crafts, then have an end of fair sale and reduce your prices.
Everyones' display will be different and depends on what you are selling but it is worth trying it out at home and making a list of what you used.

trying things out at home.
This made me realise that we needed to get the red cloth straight.

Note these collapsible wooden shelves look good but fall over very easily.

Setting up
Get there as early as you are allowed - easier to park - have time to ask for adjustments to your space/place. There may have been a cancellation and a better place may be available to the early bird.

You will need a table cover, we use double bed sheets because they hang down and you can shove all your boxes etc. under the table and out of sight.

This is the part where I stand back and let Vicky set out our crochet because she has an eye for making things attractive.

When you are ready sit down and have a cuppa before the rush!!!

 Out Doors
We do one or two Christmas fairs that are out doors. They have a lovely atmosphere on a crisp cold day and they are usually the best atended and the best takings, but you need to legislate for the weather.
Wrap yourself up warm, wear boots with thick soles or take cardboard (or something insulating) to stand on, there is nothing more distracting than cold feet.

The gazebo should be the first thing you unload, then the tables and lastly the stock.
The wind is our worst enemy so we have weights for the gazebo feet and we have crocheted around stones so that we can weigh down our work.
Take plastic sheeting to cover your things in case of rain. You can invite people to come into your stall if it rains, they then get a close look at your stock.
You will also need lights and torches if this type of fair goes on into the dark.

Really useful stuff
Paper and pen for those orders you get on the day. A pair of scissors.
Pegs and clips to hold things in place
Spare labels
Carrier bags - although we don't need to we are going to try asking for a small donation and give the proceeds to charity.
Paper bags
Sellotape and string
S shaped hooks to hang things on to the gazebo.
Business cards

This is really obvious but - don't look as if you are not interested in your customers by looking at your mobile phone constantly.
Do take something to do in case there are not many customers - one of our first fairs we took £4 in a whole day - but be prepared to put down what you are doing if people want to talk about or buy your craft. The people who want to talk are usually those who do the same thing or who are interested in learning so it should be easy to share your passion.
Above all enjoy what you are doing, show off, your things are beautiful and you are talented.


PS. The dates and venues of fairs we are attending are on the facebook page

Still want more?  A couple of years back when we were still fudging our way through things I wrote 2 posts under the joint title "Lessons Learned".  Here are the links:

1 - Being Ruthless (That scarf became Persephone one of our best sellers at fairs and one of our best selling patterns!)
2 - Audience Participation

Victoria x

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