Folksy Ltd

Christmas Fayre disasters 2015 .. Grab a cuppa, have a giggle

We were discussing on #folksyhour a couple of our Christmas disasters to date… and we’re not even finished for Christmas yet. This is the first year for me so a steep learning curve and wanted everyone to have a chuckle and see the funny side of the days that don’t go so well…

So for me there was the obligatory cancelled event, the event with a footfall of about 10 (and they were the other stall holders), the frozen feet (no one seems to want to provide any heating!!!), the customer who laughed and said out loud ‘but I can get 10 for that in poundland’ and of course the fact that I just spent any money I did take on all the other stalls!!!

How did you get on … At your worst??..

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@frillyindustries @TrudiMurray

I attended one recently, where the organisers built it up as a superb venue, lots of footfall etc etc. I had an hours drive to get there, with my friend who is a blue badge holder. Once there, there was no where to park. when I did find a place, the disabled spaces were miles away from the venue and I had to keep moving and paying more parking throughout the day. The weather was atrocious and I ended up getting soaked unloading the car - not a great start.

My stall was positioned next to another jewellery stall, filled with ‘silver’ items all bought in from overseas. The couple selling the jewellery had priced up rings at £1!!!

The organisers were using click counters to keep tabs on how many people cam through the doors. There were four bus loads of school children, aged between 5 and 7 I would say, all decked out in high viz jackets, holding hands in pairs. They must have counted for at least 40 ‘customers’ per group. Obviously, no one purchased anything! The teachers just took photos of the stalls! We had no sales all day.

The best part was that there was a cafe selling the most wonderful French pastries near by, so I went there and bought loads of cakes, which I shared with my friend for lunch. The day wasn’t a complete loss after all!

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Unfortunately I haven’t done a fair yet this Christmas but last Christmas I had a strange one.
I was the first one there so put my jewellery out but couldn’t display a lot as the table was a lot smaller than we were all told.
Well by the time I started paying attention I counted another 6 jewellery stalls.
Literally every other stall was jewellery.
It was terrible all the people who came to my stall kept commenting on how many jewellery stalls there were.
The lady selling shamballa style bracelet paid no attention to the customers she had her head in a news paper the whole event.
Then moaned and packed up early because she hadn’t sold anything.
It was terribly organised.

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This has happend to me a lot over the past year too. In fact, I cancelled all my pre-Christmas fairs with this one organiser because they oversubscribed their fairs with jewellery stalls. xx

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I did my first ever fair a couple of moths ago was told by someone I worked with it was at a church round the cornernto my work. I said I’d do it as it was a nice area and quite small. Found out the night before it was not at this church but one about half hour away the other side of town. I got there and it rained all day my table was next to a heater so it got a little hot. I was also put in the corner next to the fire exit and a lady who was selling science stuff. That stall was a massive crowd pleaser but everyone just went past mine as I was the one on the end. The chocolate raffle we oppersite so everyone would go from the science table to the chocolate one. I sold just enough to cover my table cost. I was so annoyed at the time but we sort of laugh about how much of a disaster it was. Was always unsure about doing my own stool :confused:

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I have to say @OhButtonMe that your experience isn’t unusual, sadly. Awful isn’t it?

I have found that some of the best fairs aren’t the big, expensive organised ones, but the little local ones. I have been to a ‘coffee’ morning at our local village church and sold more in two hours than I have at a large, expensive event where you are sat freezing all day with flasky tea and loads of competition. Best of all, I only ever take the minimum of setting up equipment and if I put everything in two trolleys I can walk - so no parking troubles either. Packed up in half an hour, then home. Very civilised. xx

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I did one a couple of weeks ago and the most buyers we had in was about 12 but to my surprise I actually covered my table money but nothing else. Luckily it was only about 10 miles away from my house so not so much fuel used. It was the preparing for it that annoyed me the most.

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So far this year no disasters (even did well at an outside event with high winds last weekend) but a couple of years ago I took a stall at a ‘pamper and shopping event’ at a village school. Their christmas fair gets good reviews from punters so I thought that this would be ok as well. Hired a car for the weekend, bought the extras to make the stall look feminine and appealling and sold … nothing. The stalls were in a hall on the left the pampering was in the hall on the right so people just didn’t come into us to browse on their way to get their head rubbed. Lesson learnt, no more pamper events for me. I always ask in advance about if there is a cap on the number of jewellery stalls having had a similar experience to others in the past.

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‘I can get ten for that in Poundland’ - yes you hear lots of that don’t you. You feel like saying ‘you can’t dear, you really can’t.’

I haven’t had any disasters recently, but when I used to share with a friend a few years back we went to a wildlife trust event and were put between two pillars in a cold dark barn. I think my friend sold 1 card and I sold nothing. Even people we knew walked passed us and didn’t see us because we were so invisible between these pillars!

My husband can’t understand why I do them anymore! The one we always remember (well 2 actually) is the cake lady did better than we did, she organised it naming the fair…???after her business name, charged!!!people to come in, wondered round, no Christmas music, atmosphere, so quiet, then when someone walked in, we all stare at the unusual sight! 10 seconds and gone again! Nothing sold, pretty obvious, location was not the type place you would expect people to buy, really. As the saying goes, money for old rope!
We look back in horror at that one! :joy::joy::joy:

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Done 2 last 2 weeks.

First - rained off after an hour and a half so got pretty wet. Discovered later that chains on 2 suncatchers put away wet had rusted so had to fix them.

Second - gazebo broke - fixable for the event but now replaced.
The good news is that the replacement can be put up in 1/4 of the time and is much much better. It even has sides :slight_smile: :slight_smile: ----- ooh and weight bags :slight_smile: :smile:

Next week - just emailed organiser pointing out it is only 3 days away and I have no details at all of the organisation for the day.

I did one a few years ago that was soooooo not the right kind of fair for me. It was for a charity one and most of the stalls were bric-a-brac type ones. The table cost £10 and I sold one pair of earrings for £10. There was a stage in the hall where we were and half way through the day, 3 ladies in belly dancing gear, got up on the stage and did a routine, which was a bit bizarre and not Christmassy at all! Then my mum turned up with my 2 children who wanted to visit Father Christmas in his grotto at £4 each and then wanted to have a go at candle making which was £2 each. So I made a loss. I learned a lot from that one :slight_smile:

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Lol sorry giggling away here! Loving the belly dancers @dare2dream hehe. @TrudiMurray are you feeling better now about the parrot :wink:

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Oh dear everyone! How disastrous some of these things are! I am thinking hard about which ones to do next year. @elliepress is referring to my disaster last week at the village fair, where all the stalls blew down in the wind, and I got put in the barber’s shop - which has a pet parrot, which was indeed in residence. Luckily it doesn’t swear and I kept all my cursing firmly under wraps so as not to teach it any rude words! But boy did i feel like swearing a little bit. I cried instead!!! Still, i did sell some stuff, mainly to my kind and sympathetic friends who came in to find me while the rest of the crowds were oblivious to the delights inside the barbers!

The best thing I ever did was actually a talk - gosh it was scary, but i did a talk about my work, how i got started, how I work, a little bit about my personal journey, showed some inspirational photos on a powerpoint, took questions… then after during coffee they bought all my stuff! It was to a local church group (i’m part of a church too). I was NOT going to take my ‘stall’ to sell things, as i didn’t think it was quite the right environment, but the organisers asked me to have things to buy specifically, for people to look at/purchase after the talk. Anyway it was thrilling and very successful. So i guess my point is - maybe there is a more creative way to sell things too rather than just at disastrous fairs etc!!! I’m thinking about doing workshops next, maybe the resulting sales etc from that will beat sitting in chilly halls or barbers shops.

Onwards!

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@TrudiMurray I think you’ve hit on a good idea there @Folksyadmin, I know from @MinnieandClarence there are craft fairs near cornwall where they do lots of demos and workshops that work really well hand in hand. Maybe we need to do a Folksy one (unless you do that up near Sheffield already?)

If you want slightly random things going on at christmas fairs I did one last year that coincided with an annual trampoline contest (delibrately coincided and I knew the trampolining would be going on when I booked). I sold things to the bored parents who were waiting for their offspring to be called and it was all done to a backdrop of boings, gentle applause and people walking around in sparkly leotards. No snow, no santa, just sequins.

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I haven’t yet tried selling at a craft event, but I love going to craft markets and having a good old nosey and buying unusual things. I really appreciate all the hard work that goes into the items, with making things myself.

I always find the busier ones frustrating. Everyone is swept along in a huge wave so it’s difficult to get close to some stalls, and there’s always someone mumbling “Ohhhh isn’t that pricey!” Or "I could make that myself"
I always think how rude some folk can be.
My husband always flies around the stalls quickly without really looking properly, and I think a lot of people seem to just rush past without really focusing.

Also I’ve found the food stalls get huge attention, and then a jewellery stall just gets bypassed which must feel awful when so much time & effort has gone into such beautiful things. Breaks my heart.

Karen

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I think you a right food stalls always seem to do well.
It was at easter I did a lovely fair but it wasn’t advertised at well.
But there was a lady behind me selling the most yummiest cakes. But she didn’t do well at all. She had a lot of people telling her she was over charging.

But I don’t think she was. She had made three carrot cakes, 2lemon drizzle cakes and so on. She was charging £1 a slice and they were huge slices and £10 for a whole tray of cake. I couldn’t believe it.
I had her crying on me and I thought people can be so horrible.

There were so real meanies I had some one tell me I need to theme my jewellery and I’d sell more. I said I only really do themes at Christmas ect and she said no do frozen theme because she saw I had a snowflake charm bracelet. it’s so silly she got right in my face about the whole thing and wouldn’t leave me alone.

I have done 3 fairs in the past week. The best one was 2 hours in a small village. It was really well supported with quality stalls. The biggest on e I did was awful. I was right beside the entrance which was freezing. Hardly anybody stopped as they all walked about half way down the hall before starting to look. Thecfew people who did look were there wanting bargains and and obviously thought my prices were too high. There was a real mixture of stalls, some lovely and other with bought in stuff. One seller said that she didn’t care if she sold anything or not as she came for a chat and a bit of company. Another said she just liked to cover her costs and just did this for fun. Obviously her woollens were far cheaper than mine! It’s such a hit and miss affair. I’m looking carefully into any I book in 2016.