Folksy Ltd

Craft fair help

I have just booked my first craft fair and now I’m in a bit of a panic.
Its not til beginning March.

What would be your one piece of advice?
I’ve taken into consideration the amount if people who might be there, the area its in etc.
What items could I have that are a bit cheaper? Hoping to have a mix if prices in the hopes of selling something!
Do you price your makes differently at a fair than you do online?

  • Find out the table size and lay out your stock at home to see how it will all look. Try to create different levels so that things at the back aren’t lost, and there is some visual impact from a distance.

  • Plan some cover for toilet breaks & food!

  • Whatever the venue (indoor or outdoor) wear lots of layers so you can be comfortable however warm or cold it is!

  • Take lots of change, because the first couple of customers will always pay with a £20 note & clean you out. :wink:

  • Have business cards/flyers on display and/or readily to hand so even if somebody doesn’t buy on the day, they can find you easily later.

It’s a while since I’ve done a craft fair, and I know I had a big list of prep advice. But the above are some good starting points… :slight_smile:

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Take food and drink with you, just in case.
Keep notepad and pen so you can write down what you have sold. TAke note of if the venue is good/busy, when its busy/quiet, who is buying and what amount customers are willing to spend. Also you may have some ideas that you didn’t think up before hand eg looking around you see a great display idea.
Check if theres a chair, if not, take one.

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I do a lot of fairs and quite successfully .
Make sure everything has a price on it . Enjoy yourself make conversation with the customer be confident about your product , Take something with you so you can stand and craft at your table ,People tend to interact more if they can see you crafting .You may have to do a little discount if people want more than one item but don’t undersell yourself.
If you have a bad fair don’t let it put you off ,some fairs are good and some are bad.
Be prepared for the old I can make that myself comment . Make sure you have plenty of business cards it can lead to commissions.
I hope you do well let us know how you get on.
Annette x

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I love that “…the old, I can make that myself comment…” I never thought of this before, but if you are crafting at your table you could say, “Go on then, let’s see it!”

Sam x

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Definately have a ready response for people expecting/asking for discount.
I was so effected by flattery one year that I discounted quite a lot from a sale. It was only afterwards I realised I was being manipulated so the customer could pay less.
If you don’t want to give discount there and then, maybe say something like, ‘If you come back 10 minutes before the end of the fair I shall give 10% off’.

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If you make lots of different things, group similar items together.

Try and get some height on your table, it is a more efficient use of space, it only needs to be a set of book shelves.

Use clamps to attach your table cloth to the table - there’s nothing worse than someone accidentally pulling everything off your table!

Go for a range of prices with your items, having items under £5 and under £10 tends to provide more impulse purchases ( as long as it works for your costings!).

I tend to give offers on items related to upcoming events/holidays but make sure you don’t discount so much that your profit is negligible!

Try to make eye contact and say hello to everyone who visits your table. I tend to only start talking more when customers begin to show an interest, highlighting any offers or informing what something is made from ( like the fact that I use sterling silver earwires).

Make friends with the stallholders around you, it can help with passing time if things are going slowly, customers seem to like having sellers that are happy, and when you need to nip to the loo then they can keep an eye out and inform a potential customer that you’ll be back shortly. If they have done the event before then they can also be a really useful resource for info about previous footfalls etc

Good luck and don’t panic!

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Lots of good advice above…

My No 1 advice would be…go to the craft fair having no expectations. See the event as an opportunity to be there, show your work, talk to customers and give business cards. I was petrified, and very excited, when I did my first craft fair. It wasn’t that bad actually! Sometimes the fear is bigger than the event.

I let customers approach, said ‘hello’, let them have a look and then answer their questions. I didn’t try to ‘grab’ them and get them engaged straight away. I have been to craft fairs as a customer too and I get rather annoyed when the seller starts talking to me the second they notice I look at something. I like to take my time first, but that’s just me (and other people I’m sure). Others feel ignored if you don’t talk to them. Something to bear in mind…

Do take notes at what people say and what they are looking at so you can improve or change what is necessary…

Good luck and have fun!!

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Someone I know gave the following answer to this: ‘Sure, you can make it yourself, but I already have everything here. All materials sourced and put together and the item is ready to go. What a great time saver!’

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:joy::joy::joy: I remember setting my stuff up in an emporium (not a great success) and having a lady come up to me and saying “You really shouldn’t be doing this. You should leave it to people in developing countries who can do it more cheaply.” Where to begin or end with the sweatshop scenario.

Sam x

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Sometimes I have a “Bargain Basket” of old stock at a slightly reduced price. Otherwise I think I’ve only given a discount when the customer buys over £70-worth at once.

Use the fair as an advert for your Folksy shop, so even if people don’t buy on the day they may still buy later. Have plenty of business cards in several piles around the table, and put one in with every sale.

If at all possible do not hand over your beautiful hand-crafted item in a second-hand supermarket carrier bag! If you end up doing a lot of fairs you can get some printed with your own logo. Meanwhile, plain white or brown “kraft” bags are cheap and easy to find, and you can brand it yourself quickly and cheaply with a sticker or stapled on business card if you want to.

You have got Public Liability Insurance sorted out? Most organisers insist on it now, but I wouldn’t be without it anyway.

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Lots of good advice already … but, one thing I noticed helped with sales was to stand up, and just chat generally with customers (“Are you enjoying the show?” or whatever) and a big smile, rather than sitting without making eye contact. Good luck! Let us know how you get on :smile:

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Having not done craft fairs for ages I dipped my toe again last year and was caught out by the the fact that a lot of customers didn’t carry much cash and expect to to be able to pay by card now (it was cash or cheque back in the day !!) I ended up investing in a PayPal card reader but do appreciate that’s not always an option so finding out where the nearest cash machine is so you are able to direct customers there is useful.

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All the above are excellent tips - certainly a variety of levels to display your goods on your table seems to go down well, and price everything! There’s always that one person who wants to purchase that one unpriced item just as you’ve popped out for a loo break and your neighbour hasn’t a clue how much it should sell for! Plenty of change, and a means of taking credit card (if there’s wifi at the venue) is important (and try not to spend any profit - my downfall every time!). If you take a credit card machine, have a little display announcing this - it may pull 'em in!

I’ve just started a new blog with tips for craft fair vendors - I think you’ve probably covered everything yourself in the first part, but I’m aiming to write the second part in the next day or two. Good luck with your fair!

Elaine

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Thanks so much everyone. This is all brilliant advice and lots of things I hadn’t thought of. Having a card machine is a biggy. I would like to d this in the future but I don’t think I can do it in time for my first craft fair. Also, I think that would just add an extra element of stress for me, my first craft fair plus operating a card machine arhhh.

Thanks so very much everyone. I love this forum!