Folksy Ltd

Do's and don'ts of selling

This has probably been shared before but everyone selling anything, should read this.


I’m afraid this person is being “snooty” as she herself admits.

I don’t dispute that toys need to be tested in accordance with EU legislation, but all that is required to sell a beaded bracelet on elastic is a label stating to the consumer “This Is Not A Toy” or similar to be in accordance with those laws.

As far as public liability insurance is concerned this is also not compulsory. As a former insurance professional I can tell everyone that for the average seller of knitwear or ear-rings it is unlikely there will ever be a successful claim against your business (providing your design is not too outlandish, of course). Under those circumstances, if you do not sell at fairs that insist on it, then the money you pay in premiums will be wasted.

There have been a number of people commenting on other feeds that the Inland Revenue have been stating they do not want to hear from self-employed people who fall under the tax threshold. Two of which I am aware have obtained this advice in writing.

This article smacks of elitism. We all have to learn our craft and start somewhere. Nobody knows how they measure up against the competition until they try to start selling. Nobody knows quite how to price their products in the beginning either, and mistakes can be made before you come up with a formula which suits you.

Neither do I think that the “Jam and Jerusalem” nature of many British craft fairs is necessarily a bad thing, Only a confirmed misanthrope can criticize people who decide to donate their time to charity. This is an admirable thing to do and it gives great pleasure and fulfillment to many people who no longer work or are unable to work. Lots of the customers who visit fairs clearly also think so!

I personally would not like a craft scene in the UK that was as cut-throat and sterile as the US scene is becoming. The introduction of so many requirements and commitments from sellers only favours one set of sellers. Those companies who sell mass-produced “handmade goods” from overseas and it is these that are the real threat to British Crafters.



I’ve stopped doing craft fairs, I always preferred small local fairs, usually fairs that had been organised to raise money for charities, local schools, church halls etc. I found that some of the larger Craft Fair Organisations where far to regimental and cut throat for me. I had one organisation tell me that I was selling my items too cheap and needed to raise my prices!!! This was because they were not only getting ‘table money’ but they were getting a % of sales too. I passed on that fair.

These days I like to visit craft fairs as a visitor, a browser and possibly a buyer. I like Craft Fairs that have a good mix of crafts and price ranges. I like fairs where I can give a couple of ££ to my grandson so he can buy something for himself or a little something for his mum.

Errgghh…can we enter a time where common sense is in charge please?!
Personally totally fed up of living in a world where we can’t just use our own brains and exercise a little common sense. I’m sick of having someone else somewhere decide how I can live my life.
Do I check used by dates on my food? No- I just use my brain and decide if it’s off or not- am I still alive? Yes! Do I ever get food poisoning? No. Will I die if there’s a hair in my cupcake that I bought from the market? No. If someone buys a print from me gets a paper cut off it, is it my fault? No. Is it anyone else’s business as to how I handle my tax? No.

Sorry- this isn’t aimed at anyone at all- nor the person who wrote the article. They’re (sort of) correct- all these things do have to be adhered to. But I don’t agree with them. I actually think it’s just quite sad. There are regulations for absolutely everything and policies for everything, and well…it’s just made everything all rather sterile and boring.
Clearly I’m in a complainy sort of mood today!! Haha


Everything said it that blog post is correct. She’s right on the ball with every area she mentions.

Everyone should read and take notice.

Your might not require product liability for your craft but if you are going to do craft fairs then you do require liability insurance in case your stand, table, marque falls on someone and causes them injury to their person.

She’s right about being registered with HMRC as self employed even if you are under the threshold.

She’s right about about the laws concerning if it looks to a child that’s it’s a toy then it has to pass the CE testing. No disclaimer will protect you should a child/baby chock or hurt themselves.

She’s right about the under priced items it just devalues our hard work and makes it harder for those of us who do value our time, and work.

She’s right about copyright and Trademark infringement.

Most craft fayre’s are becoming glorified Car Boot Sales.


When I started I offered to register as self employed with the Inland Revenue and they weren’t interested: I think they felt it was a complete waste of their resources when tax wasn’t going to be paid for ages if ever. One might want to get it from them in writing, I suppose, so they can’t challenge it later!


oh, don’t get me started Susannah @curiousseagull

When I was young (and it wasn’t that long ago!) if, for example, I tripped on the pavement, or knocked something over, I got a ‘clip on the ear’ and told to watch where I was going, but now, … there’s a case for COMPENSATION …



Hahaha glad I’m not the only one it bothers. We do live in a blame society. It’s sad.

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When I inquried they said yes you must otherwise you face a £100 fine if caught trading without being registered even if you’ll be returning a negative return.

Thankfully I did my first year in time and got a tax rebate :smile:

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well I had to register…I am nearly 70 and still have to fill in the forms every year and my total income which INCLUDES my pension is only about £4k a year…yet I STILL have to comply …
I would love them to tell me that I don’t have to bother…
My accountant who thankfully does my tax returns for free says that sometimes after a while they tell people that they no longer need to fill in the forms…I wait and hope.
I have been at craft fairs where the trading standard’s office has taken toys…even labelled …not suitable for children under 3 and have pulled and pushed the toys and issued warnings to the people selling them. In fact I used to do needlefelting and despite the warning label people wanted to buy them for children and my conscience would not allow that, so I stopped making them.
I agree with Eileen…a lot of people think that if they buy a knitting pattern they can make and sell the item but that is not true. You need permission (which some companies will allow) For this reason, everything I make or sell is from my own head or design.
I know it is scary but what is in the article is TRUE.


I’m not going to fully discuss all the ramifications of Donoghue v Stevenson in this forum. I studied this case enough at law school to last a lifetime. It is however the basis for negligence law in this country and it is the reason why public liability insurance exists. In a nutshell, negligence has to be proved by the the claimant. If a table falls over by accident and you have not been negligent in the way you have set it up, nobody can claim compensation. When somebody presents a claim you don’t have to just pay it because they say so. People get confused because in motor claims (where I worked for 10 years) there are set positions for liability which have been agreed between the insurance companies to decide who is at fault without the expense of studying the circumstances too deeply or (heaven forbid) going to court.

Moving onto the toys question, if you are selling something that is labelled “This is not a toy” (not “This toy is not suitable for x”) then the European regulations do not apply to you. Not even Claires Accessories or Accessorize test their costume jewellery as toys unless they are specifically for children. It is simply not the case that if a baby is injured by something you have sold then you are liable if it is NOT a toy. If it is a toy and you have sold it as such, obviously then regulations do apply.

As far as tax returns are concerned I note that a third person has turned up on this very thread having been advised by the Inland Revenue they don’t have file a tax return if their income is under the threshold. If you have a pension and other benefits or savings accounts those count towards your income, so just as if you had a day job, you need to be careful you don’t go above the threshold. This is different for the person for whom crafting is their sole income.

As far as copyright infringement is concerned, the people that do it probably make so much money from it that they can easily afford public liability insurance and they probably do file a tax return, so asking them for their insurance details and tax number is not going to see them off the craft fairs circuit. In point of fact, it is none of my business or anyone else’s if somebody else is infringing Disney’s copyright. Copyright infringement is a civil matter, not a crime. It is the Disney Corporation’s business and it is up to them to sue them if they want to.

I personally wonder why this lady feels so threatened by people selling lower priced items than hers. If she is so professional, and her work is so excellently well produced, then those people selling a bit of beaded jewellery are hardly a threat to her. Nobody likes to buy a cheap necklace for their wife or girlfriend, so price is not the main determinant as to whether or not somebody buys something hand-crafted. This makes me wonder if she is not confident in the strength of her own work and is worried that customers might prefer to buy from somebody up and coming with more unusual ideas. It just seems that the tone of her article is a little defensive to me.

I would never want to drive away those people who make knitted items, or knitted soft toys with the proceeds going to a charity like a local vetinary charity or say, Riding for the Disabled from the UK craft scene. I don’t think they harm any of our business and people like to buy these items. The risks to children from things like this are completely overstated and they cannot be put in the same category as some of the dangerous counterfeit toys that are illegally imported into the UK every year from abroad. This is what the EU regulations do.

In the end I agree with @curiousseagull. Donoghue v Stevenson was a case in which a woman claimed monetary damages for the shock resulting from seeing a decomposing snail in a bottle of ginger beer from which she had just drunk. Instead of ruling (as he should have done) that there was no form of action in English law to support this claim, the judge created an entirely new action know as Negligence, which has been causing problems ever since. As the woman had not been physically harmed by the snail the idea that she should have money over and above the cost of the drink because she had been frightened is ridiculous. But there you are-the law is an ass.

Sam x


This website is very helpful on toy regulations and sells a very useful pack on how to self certify your own softs toys (which I used for my sock monkeys)

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a very interesting read Sam…thanks for you input…it is indeed a minefield…no wonder so many people are confused…
I am just glad that none of it is something that concerns me…

Oh dear just try telling that to the lady I was pitched next to a few years ago on a windy day. Her marqee was taken up in a gust of wind and came down crashing into the face of a poor woman.

This vendor didn’t think she required any insurance.

Well she was in for a shock the poor women hit in the face lost 2 of her front teeth, another one was broken and there was blood every where damage to her mouth and nose.

I’m a qualified first aider and came to her aid. Her dental bill was rather large as it always is for reconstruction. I know I’ve been there I paid over £6,000 for mine at that was over 10 years ago.

The woman took the vender to the small claims court as she had no insurance. The vender refused to pay so the lady got a debt collection agency involved to recover the monies for her dential treatment. Which of course cost the vendor even more.

The woman bemoaned the fact the balifts came to her door and took items to sale to recover the debt as she didn’t have the money to pay it. She ranted and bemoans the situation on a forum I’m on.
I think she’d no idea I was a moderator on that forum and that I was the lady pitched next to her at that Craft Fayre.

So think about had she taken out insurance that would have covered the damage to the poor woman’s face.

I don’t know all the facts of this case so I can’t comment on it fully, however, if the accident was caused by a gust of wind, this is normally considered an “Act of God” and insurance companies would not usually pay out on such a claim. The only reason it could be considered negligence and the subject of a claim would be if the marquee had been negligently set up.

Of course it may be that the vendor you are referring to did not raise the “Act of God” defense in the small claims court because she was unaware of the law. As I said, I don’t know all the facts of the case and I suspect that some important points were raised in Court that you have not related.

Sam x


Thanks @HeavenlyAnarchist!

As I was alluding to in my post, it is always a good idea to know what the law actually is before taking action.

I should also mention that a lot of craft events use “umbrella policies” for insurance to cover everyone selling at an event, and this is a much more appropriate (and much less costly) insurance policy than insisting that individuals purchase their own policies.

Love Sam x


Yes, that doesn’t surprise me at all - bureaucratic inconsistency on such points is not uncommon. A reason for asking for it in writing if one is, like me, simply told one shouldn’t register. However, I have a witness…

As far as the toys go, if you had to CE mark anything that a two or three year old could possibly take for a toy, that would include cutlery, pepper pots, and safety razors!

Miscarriages of justice happen in every area of law - though I’m not going to comment without knowing more if Eileen’scraftstudio’s case was one or not. (Tents always do blow about in the wind - it is a predictable danger - I imagine one would want to know whether or not reasonable measures had been taken to secure it?). It doesn’t necessarily mean one should go about things - make one’s own decisions - in the assumption that such miscarriages will actually take place. But it sounds as if one of the advantages of an insurance policy is that the insurance company are a professional body who should know what they are doing and what the law actually says on these points. I suppose part of what you are paying for is for them to take the bother of handling unreasonable attempts to hold you responsible.

I would feel that copyright, though a bit strange and a bit of a pain and a bit of a problem with regard to uneven application (i.e. you can only protect it if you can afford the time and money), is a moral issue as well as a practical one. We don’t have a right to make money from other people’s work, and doing so is reasonably considered a form of theft. On the other hand, how far that protection should go (morally) or does go (legally) is much harder to determine, because we are inevitably always building on other people’s work, as the people whose work we are building on have also done (something like knitting or spinning has developed; standard clothing patterns and designs that work have been formed and adapted over many centuries).

I must admit that if I found a decomposing snail at the bottom of a bottle of ginger beer, I would feel that the manufacturers had questions to answer, and if they could not answer them, should be seriously liable for something.__ I know it sounds facetious, but were decomposing snails listed in the ingredients? Even if she was fortunate enough not to come to harm, harm is a likely result of decomposing organic matter being in food.

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I think the toy issue is that you can’t just state something is not a toy when it clearly is. To be able to claim something that looks like a soft toy is really a collector’s item you need to have special features, such as a keepsake item. Price is assumed a helpful indicator too. And all soft toys have to be suitable from birth, you can’t put a disclaimer of age range. Safety testing for soft toys is not difficult, the real difficulty is materials, as you need to be able to prove their chemical content. I belong to a sock monkey network where members buy certificates for commonly used socks and the money pays for the testing.

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My frustration is when organisers allow obviously mass produced items to be sold at craft fairs. One I did, there was a stall that only sold handbag hangers, that had been bought as a job lot from the Far East, factory produced, it was my deputy head doing it!

This weekend I went to Stitchng, Sewing and Hobbycrafts at Event City Manchester. Had a good time, if you make cards your purse was not safe! My friend bought a new overlocker, great deal. However what soured it for me were stalls such as mass produced handbags or a jewellery stall where nothing was handmade. It was the kind of thing I’d love to do, but working full time can’t do a three day event. I don’t feel ‘threatened’ by these sellers but as they were not selling handmade products, doing craft demos or selling craft supplies, they should not be there. Seeing a guy making lamp beads was wonderful, as was a felting demo.