Folksy Ltd

Craft fairs vs Folksy

(Grimm Exhibition) #1

As I was sitting at a craft fair today I worked out that i could make 750 Folksy listings on the total money Id spent on craft fairs this year (5 fairs plus insurance).
That was a horrid realisation.
I only made £14 today(table cost £20) . I have 2 more fairs to attend.
I love the thril of gtting sale to a person at a air but I think next year i wont bother and Il stick with lots of Folksy listings.

What do you do, more fairs or stick with Folksy/craft sites?

(Sams Gemstone Jewellery) #2

I started doing craft fairs mid 2011 and to begin with it was ok, by 2012 I’d figured things out and I think I only had 1 craft fair where I didn’t make a profit… my xmas ones were really good. 2013 I did about 25-30 and they were all really bad - I only made a profit at 3 !! The fairs were at different locations, arranged by different organisers and different types of events and at various times throughout the year. I thought that maybe it was just me but it seemed that everyone was short of sales.The really sad thing is that there were some amazingly talented people who all said they were probably going to stop this year because although they enjoyed them, loved the social interaction and meeting clients they couldn’t afford to be out of pocket. I did a show in Marlborough and the guy next to me said he made about £2500 in 2012… last year at the same event he sold one small picture. At an xmas fair I did, I bumped into a couple i’d met previously ,who in 2012 had had to get her brother to bring more stock from East London to Reading on the Saturday night… last year they bought more stock and took home just under half of it. I decided this year not to do any craft fairs. I did enjoy them but I work full time so giving up all or part of my weekend to end up out of pocket is not worth it. Some people seem to do really well but I wonder if where you live in the country affects how successful the events are ??? I do spend a lot of time promoting but at least you can do it when you have spare time and if you don’t get time its not an issue. If you have booked an event - you have to go. Also if only selling on craft sites you replace stock as when you need to rather than having lots of stock in case you have a good event, and then being stuck with it if it doesn’t sell.

(Sara Leigh Thornton) #3

I’d rather spend the £45 a year on the Plus account and reach people all over the world 24/7 than spend a day getting a numb bum sat on a hard chair at a craft fair in the hope that somebody who likes bunny art will turn up and want to buy. Craft fairs are good if well organised and well publicised, but many aren’t. I’d rather spend my time creating than sit around for a day hoping for sales :slight_smile:

(Lowri of Twinkle and Gloom Art) #4

Fairs can be really hit and miss can’t they.
In a lot of ways, I prefer doing craft fairs, It’s not often that I haven’t covered my stall fee back however finding good fairs in my area of North Wales is difficult- especially when it comes to mid year. I find online sales so much harder though. I love seeing people that come to fairs just to see me- people who recognise my work and follow me online. Seeing peoples faces when they look at my drawings is always fascinating too, I rarely get anything negative- even the people who might not really ‘get’ my work always have a friendly chuckle. I love the people watching aspect.

It’s difficult selling quirky stuff in the area I live, but finding fairs further afield is just too costly to feel worth it. I’ve been invited to lovely looking fairs in Liverpool but the table costs £50+ and then theres the travel on top.

Last year I did a few not so great fairs in the year though- so this next year I will do less fairs.

(Sasha Garrett) #5

I won’t say that I love doing craft fairs, they can be very hit and miss and dependant on weather/ organisers/ area and boxing everything up and getting it to the venue by bike can be a chore. That said I find that the interaction with people can be very useful and having a discussion with them can sometimes lead to commissions which makes all the standing around worth while. I also look on it as a method of promotion - people who see something at a fair but can’t decide (or don’t have their wallet with them) sometimes buy things at a later date. The best ‘craft fair’ I’ve found in my area is Cambridge Open Studios - because people have gone through the guide and chosen to come to my studio (which happens to be my kitchen diner scrubbed to within an inch of its life) the sales conversion rate is much higher than the standard craft fair and no carting stuff around. So I’ll stick with the fairs for a few years yet.

(Claire Davis) #6

I like doing both to be honest. I enjoys fairs for the social side of it, meeting people face to face and hopefully selling some too! I have been quite lucky with them though as I have always made my table money back plus more so don’t really have any bad experiences to put me off.
But I love selling online too! I love the fact that my shop is always open and I can reach people all over the world that would never see my things at a fair. And sometimes getting to fairs can be tricky, having to organise a babysitter or getting the bus there and back with all my stuff if my husband wants to use the car can be hard, but it usually works out ok!
So I don’t think I could choose one over the other - they are both good in their on way!

(Liz Lothian ) #7

Hi, I’ve been at a craft fair this weekend, both days. I had a really good time as sharing with my sister and had a lovely couple next to us. The hall was busier on Saturday, but I made more money on the Sunday. I also do local pop up shops where I share with 2 or 3 others and there was only one time when I didn’t cover my costs. I find I sell more when people can touch the items, especially the kid mohair and silk scarves. My knitted ear warmers have been popular lately. I will still continue with Folksy and try to use it more and promote more, I’m not very computer literate and struggle with my photographs. Will need to try harder with this. I really enjoy the forums on here. Liz.

(Deborah Jones) #8

This Christmas I am very pleased to be doing craft fairs , as my on line shops are fairly quiet this month (compared to past years.)
I am very picky which fairs I do, but fingers crossed I have found people are spending this year. I like getting face to face feedback and it is really interesting to see which items people are drawn to. Having a card payment machine this year has made a big difference to my takings.
I have a 3 day fair coming up at the weekend that I have done very well at before - and I am really looking forward to it.
I love having my on line shops ticking away 24/7 but the money and sales I can make in a day at a fair makes them very worthwhile .

(Heidi Meier) #9

I like craft fairs but personally I think they have had their day.

I could never, as a ‘punter’ get the idea that I was going to pay an entrance fee to go and look at stuff that other people wanted to sell to me. So I turned away from more than one event on that principle.

Now, as a seller, I think the ones where people do well are the ones where they are free to get in, and themed as shopping events or where they are supported by the local community maybe because they are set up to raise money for a charity or maybe because they genuinely have a good reputation for bringing together lots of artisans.

In my area last weekend, we drove past four signs advertising craft fairs on the same day. It’s just reached saturation point, in my view (and I may be completely wrong of course :slight_smile: ) and I think the average shopper is now looking for a ‘new’ or ‘different’ shopping experience.

So to answer your original question, I think Folksy is great as it has potential, but to reach that worldwide audience, you do of course have to be seen. SEO, marketing etc etc. I don’t think either is an easy or quick win, but both have merits.

For me, I want to continue doing both, but have to be very selective about the craft fairs (probably only about three or four that I know of will be suitable).

(Su Mwamba) #10

As has been said above, craft fairs really can be very hit & miss. I’ve tried out several this year, and have found just one out of those where I have done well enough to feel like it was really worth my while, on each occasion. Interestingly, it’s not the one that I was advised by other sellers was usually the ‘best’, but it worked for me. It can take a lot of trial & error to find the one that is the right fit for you & your stuff; I seem to have got lucky.

Not that I’m in any way making a fortune, even at my successful fairs! :wink: But I really enjoy being there, and talking to the customers (something it’s much harder to do online), and of course, the other sellers, too. I’ve met some lovely people! I really like that social aspect, but if that side of things doesn’t appeal to you, then you’re probably just not a craft fair kind of person. Not everybody is!

I love selling online too, though, and I wouldn’t choose craft fairs over that if it was a choice of one or the other. It’s such a limited audience that has the potential to discover your stuff at a craft fair (with the bonus of being able to check everything out in person) but the internet can reach worldwide, even when you can’t be there to man the stall. Long and the short of it, you just need to decide what’s the best use of time & money for you. :slight_smile:

(Grimm Exhibition) #11

Thanks for your replies. I do enjoy the social side of the fairs. Its great to meet creative people. I was sat next to a reat lady yesterday who sold really well.
I guess its down to the individual, do they like it, do tey have to/want to make a profit? etc

(Ronald Koorm) #12

I had my best craft fair day ever this year, on a day when the weather was very changeable and lots of showers but also some bright sunshine. When the organiser came around at the end to give her sympathy at the poor weather of the day, she was amazed we did well, and to be honest, I still don’t know why !

The returns from craft fairs for us have been not so good overall, averaged out, but so much better this year than last. It’s a lot of hassle and effort, but the nice thing is the people you meet and the dialogue. My cards and prints have been bought by several overseas visitors who have said they see nothing like it where they came from, particularly my abstract images.Have sold quite a few cards to other craft sellers too.

Also, sold a couple of cards to a lady one year, and nine months later, she phoned out of the blue to say she wanted a really large acrylic print of one of the card images for her new extension !

(Maddisons Rainbow) #13

No I have given up on craft fairs> I used to do very well years ago but not any more. The problem with craft fairs now is that they are not many handmade crafts and they are very often in the minority compared with bought in items. The organisers are the ones who have brought this about It is all about selling space and we genuine craft workers have gone elsewhere to sell such as Folksy and Etsy and who can blame us

(Nicky B) #14

I find craft fairs great for a cash injection and getting ‘out their’ to meet people that wouldn’t know you exist otherwise.
Folksy is great to have ticking over sales and people stumble across you sometimes, but nothing beats a craft fair, where you can advertise yourself and sell at the same time.
I wouldn’t want to have just one or the other tho, they both work well together to help my little business tick over.
Once people see you at a craft fair take a business card, they can always visit your folksy shop for future sales. :smile_cat:

(Nicky B) #15

Yes! It’s nice to be able to sell things while you sleep - thank you for that Folksy :wink:

(Liz Clark) #16

I no longer do craft fairs as such as the local ones to me were seen as some sort of sale where people wanted a bargain. Only a minority out there can appreciate handmade, the majority will still prefer a mass produced item, just on cost alone!

I’d only consider now the high-end ones that cost a reasonable lump of a fee, but for me it would mean travelling too and costs just don’t allow it at present. So I’ve gone in another direction and trying a local art gallery. So far no sales, but it’s good to get some feedback in that people do like my items even if they’re not buying.

(Diane Burton) #17

I’ve done better at craft fairs than on Folksy this year (but I haven’t sold anything on here since May so that’s not hard!) I also like the interaction with the buyers as well as other stallholders. I find the ones I’ve done best at have been school or playgroup fairs with a mix of craft stalls and the usual raffle, tombola etc. they often bring in children with their pester power so if you draw them in with small pocket money items (I do bookmarks and covered drawing pads plus decorated letters to Santa at Christmas events) I’ve only ever done small fee ones (£20 at the most) as my items low price so I would need to nearly sell out to cover some of the high cost ones.

(Brenda Cumming) #18

Nicky B, your reply really made me laugh…lol

(Brenda Cumming) #19

I started doing craft fairs over 30 years ago and loved them…but gradually over the years they got worse and worse until I was just standing there twiddling my thumbs. I met loads of fantastic people and loved the interaction but as said by others, there were often duplications of crafts, bought in goods and poor advertising. There was no internet in those days, so as well as fairs, I did house parties and demonstrations at clubs and WI groups. At first I was very dubious about selling online but then I worked out the maths…as Sara (DandelionsGallery) said why sit all day hoping for customers and usually get low footfall, pay anything up to £45 for a day (that is what I used to pay in a shopping centre craft day in London 20 years ago), when I can sit indoors and show thousands (maybe more) for 18p…no contest. When I came to live in Wales, my hubby and I organised a Beach festival craft event and charged just £5 for the table…we ran it very successfully for over 5 years. Then we retired…I now hear that the charge is £30 Plus an insurance fee to the organisers and it is 90% bought in goods and farmer’s market. Very sad really. I gave up doing the fairs about 4 years ago and although I miss the chatting and friends,as Nicky B said…I can sit in the comfort of my own home, have a nice lie in on cold mornings, save on petrol, parking,energy,etc, etc,…OK…so sales on here haven’t been good lately but I am still in profit every month…something that sadly was not the case on the last few fairs that I did…I know where I prefer !!

(CrochetNotes) #20

Well said!! My experience of Craft fair is, like minimal, but at end of the time you feel it’s hardly worth the time and cost for the little income gained. Yes, the networking/chatting bit is always useful, but think success probably depends on location and what advertising the place has bothered with? Or am I just cynical. The one I chose wasn’t the best from comments I received from experienced Fair sellers.