Folksy Ltd

Fairs vs internet

I do like selling at craft fairs but I realised last night I could have listed 1000 items in my Folksy shop for the same amount of money I spent on craft fairs last year. I made no overall profit from the fairs and didn’t really think twice about handing over the money to sell at them, yet hesitate to fill my Folksy shop with goodies because of the cost(which is obviously very low in comparison).

Do you prefer fairs or the internet?

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I do much better at fairs than online for example I’ve just done a month of open studio weekends (as part of a local scheme) which cost me almost £200 (gulp) but I’ve had the plus account for the last 4 years (cost of £180 plus commission) and in those 4 years I’ve sold the same amount as I did at the open studio. To me fairs are hard work on the day but the pay off is worth it (I’m picky about which fairs I do to ensure a healthy profit) vs the seemingly easy task of online selling but considering the amount of time I spend taking photos/ writing descriptions/ promoting it sometimes doesn’t feel worth it even if from a financial point they both work out approximately the same in terms of money spent.
(You might get a different answer from me if you were asking the evening after spending a cold, wet day at a christmas market where I’ve had to get up at dawn to pitch a gazebo)

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Just a thought but if you know which of the fairs are worst for sales/ profit margin why not scrap doing them and spend the stall fee on some listings and British Crafters promotion? Dotty (@dottiedesigns :wave:) still has spaces for belt and braces in Nov or Dec so you could get your products in front of all the christmas shoppers.

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As Sasha says, depends on the fair! I tend not to do fairs because the ones local to me just don’t attract the sort of person that would buy my items at the prices I have them at. I’m talking about the “Craft and Gift” fairs where not everything is handmade and people come along with bagging bargains on their mind!

Personally I’d stick with online but with a good handmade event once or twice a year, but with my time spent on trying to get into the media. I was trying this before I went back to work full time last Oct and so things have now gone very slow and quiet for me.

It is very hard to photograph my items well enough to show the detail and things like fabric character can’t be captured very well. Exhibitions are my best selling environment - online seems better for cards. Some craft fairs are a massive waste of money and the good ones mean that your product has to show a healthy profit margin otherwise you end up losing out even if you have made lots of sales.

I tend to do better at fairs as my products are scented and people like to feel/try them in person. Saying that though, I have tried to do far less fairs this year as I am an introvert and they drain me physically and mentally. My online presence is slowly growing but it is really really difficult to make progress.

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I know what you mean - I’m not a people person and my other half likes to remind me that I once said ‘I don’t have to like people, I just have to be able to charm them’. My friends know that for a day after a fair I like to hide under a metaphorical rock and recover without any human contact.

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I love the internet, i love working from home and even the community on here. I’m pleased that over the years things have changed and I don’t have to rely on craft fairs so much. I find myself getting so unreasonably stressed before a craft fair these days, I hate not knowing where I’ll be exactly, my table size or space, who I will be next to, will the organisers like my work, will the public like my work, have I remembered everything. I enjoy them while I’m there and like Sasha prefer no human contact for a couple of days after! I love having the contact with my customers and other crafts people and I seem to make a lot more money at them, and whilst I won’t stop doing them anytime soon, I think the internet for me is the winner, and I hope it continues to grow for selling but everything changes so rapidly, you have to change with it.

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Internet wins for me every time :slight_smile: I did fairs many years ago, but that was in the days before sciatica, IBS and hot flushes lol! I don’t think I would cope well with a day of having to be nice to people face to face anymore either :smiley:

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IBS and craft fairs sounds like a really bad combination :flushed:

Sam x

I do well at fairs, especially close to Christmas, I think people like to see the cards before buying and I also sometimes get people saying “you’ve just reminded me it’s so & so’s birthday on Tuesday” I still like online as I couldn’t do craft fairs everyday and make a profit.

This year i am only selling on line last year i only did 2 craft fairs which were at the transport museum which is near to me,these i have done for a few years but the foot fall has gradually declined over the years and this year they have been cancelled.
I used to clear the amount of the cost for the table and a little profit but the amount of work involved to pack and set up it was not really worth it. I have decided to put this money towards paying for promotion to my folksy shop instead.

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I tend to do better at craft fairs than online - I think my photography skills are sadly lacking and I just can’t seem to do justice to my items no matter what I try. I’ve become far more picky with my craft fairs than I used to be. I’ve concentrated on only attending the ones I’ve found to be most profitable and ditched the others so I now only do a few a year. Although the fairs are where I sell the most, I too am quite introverted and therefore prefer selling online.

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I do better at fairs and I love doing them.

I think people like to see the items for themselves and I guess whereas at a fair I might be ‘competing’ with one or two other jewellery sellers, but not with the numbers of other jewellery sellers that sell on line!
I think seeing items in front of potential customers sometimes brings about impulse buys or gets them thinking about what birthdays they have to buy for.

I enjoy the feedback when meeting people face to face and also find that I get some good ideas from customers.

Fairs can be hard work but I have all my stock and displays organised so I know exactly where things are, although I still never manage to set up very quickly.

I’ve made some lovely friends with other sellers at craft fairs, and they do sometimes turn in to a bit of a social event as well as (hopefully) a selling event.

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For me fairs are hard work but I enjoy them when people appreciate my wares and see the value in what I am selling. Unfortunately there are now so many ‘so called’ craft fairs out there where the stalls are not true craftsmen’ that it can be a struggle to make costs meet! Because of this I have become very choosy of which fairs I attend. To be honest I enjoy creating more than marketing my products so being able to sell online is an ideal answer for me but again there is too much competition on line so I have to get them out there some how!

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Thank you so much for the shout out @SashaGarrett much appreciated! We can certainly help get your work noticed! We have a discount code for the next few days of LASTMINUTE10 for 10% discount! Head to www.britishcrafters.co.uk for package details! Valid until the book is closed off!

I do think that “real” fairs have place but personally I go for the higher priced ones where I know there will be good footfall. A couple of years ago I did the Chichester Christmas Market and was right outside M&S. Never had so much money on me in my life!! Mind you, if it had rained then I probably would have sold almost nothing!

I also do 1 low cost Christmas event where I sell off all my seconds and one offs. This year I will be in Southsea outside John Lewis :slight_smile:

PS @SashaGarrett have messaged you (in case it doesn’t arrive!)

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I think the 2 can be very different. I like to sell small, cheaper things at craft fairs because it’s a way to get new ideas by chatting to people and also getting feedback on my hard work. The craft fairs I do I choose carefully and set a limit to the amount I’m prepared to pay, currently £15. Also these craft fairs are local and all make a contribution to local charities so I’m supporting my local community too. I sell a lot of items that aren’t on my Folksy site and specialise in more expensive items on Folksy.

At my most recent fairs I gained valuable feedback and got some ideas for Christmas. I also bought 10 tombola tickets and got 5 prizes which was an unexpected bonus! As I craft on my own, I love the buzz of chatting to ‘live’ customers and smiling at the ‘ooh look at these’ comments.

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I tend to do better at fairs but, I have now limited myself to 2/3 a year, perhaps Xmas and Summer. I only do in busy areas if I can as I find some countryside/local ones are not very profitable ones When you take into account your travel and stall costs, you are probably better just paying for promotion, even though like Claire I have never thought about it like that. It is also quite disheartening sometimes at fairs when people say how lovely your products are but then don’t buy anything. It is however good to get your name and products out there to get yourself known.

Hi Sue… think we met recently (ish!) at the Brackley carnival? (I’m the baby blanket lady), wondering if you are doing any more local fairs anytime soon? I’m doing Scotch Lodge later this month and booked a Christmas one up, be nice to have a chat again :slight_smile: Helen x

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I started doing craft fairs this year to get my name out there and to take the next step with my business, unfortunately in my area the fairs seem to be lacking.
I haven’t had the best experiences so far from not many people attending to having people look away from me pretending I’m not even there, that was a bit harsh for my confidence as I’m a very nervous person and was being extremely chatty and friendly and got ignored! :sweat_smile:
But they were a good experience to actually get out there and I met other sellers who were really nice but I just can’t justify the costs of fairs compared to what I make online through various outlets.
I found it really depends where you go, the fairs I’ve gone to have had a lot of people arrive seeming to expect cheap bargains like a car boot sale.
So after my experience I’m sticking to internet sales for now but I’m not saying I’m not doing another fair, I just need to find one that is popular I guess!
The other joys of fairs I’ve found are that you can never guarantee how many people will turn up!

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