Folksy Ltd

What sells, what to you buy?

I’ve been doing craft fairs (in Devon) since last August and although I don’t have huge expectations on the amount I sell some have been poorer than I would expect.
I sell fused glass items and have a range of pieces prices from £50 right through to £3. I guess I am asking an impossible question, but what sort of things sell well (not just glass) and what sort of price. I appreciate that there are a lot of variables such as foot fall, what else is at the event etc. I have done small village hall events to larger professionally organised events…there seems to be no big difference in sales.
Anyway if anyone has any gems of information, either as a seller or a buyer, it would be very gratefully received.

Thank you!

I wish there was an easy way to tell what sells.
I tend to think people want to spend £10 or less at fairs, but I sold at one last year and people were paying £25 for box frames with paper butterflies in, I think the lady sold 5 of them.
I think jewellery sells well, I always see crowds around jewellery stalls.
One thing I have come to realise is people like to rummage through lots of similar things. I tend to make 2 or 3 of something when I get an idea and have lots of different things on my stall which I think can be overwhelming for a customer. Whereas if you have 1 type of item on a stall and have variations of it its more appealing.
I hope that made sense.

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You really are asking for the holy grail there. The thing that made the biggest difference to my sales at craft markets was getting a card reader - it allows people to be tempted and not have the hassle of going to a cash machine as they can just hand me the magic bit of plastic and not think about it (I have an iZettle unit - let me know if you would like more details). I’ll admit to being the same when I go as a buyer - I don’t carry much cash so if you want me to part with my money you need to accept cards. How my stall is organised also makes a difference to how well things sell - my stud earrings have gone from being on a tray (no sales) to in boxes (still no sales) and now on cards in baskets that people can flick through (lots of sales) so altering your presentation might be worth considering to see if that makes a difference. Make sure you have lots of business cards easily available for people to pick up and take away (a stack under a paperweight at each end of your stall).
Since jewellery is a popular ‘paying hobby’ and rife with resellers I always check with organisers if they cap the number of jewellery stalls and check that those they do have are selling different styles to keep it interesting for the customers and to give us a chance at selling something. I stopped doing school organised events - kids didn’t want to look at my stall so dragged parents away and the price point people were shopping at seemed lower than my lowest price point - so I decided not worth the effort even at Christmas. However if you were selling the sort of thing that kids would go for then you can do really well at those sorts of events. I think you just need to keep trying fairs/ markets out until you find the ones that work for you/ your product.

How long is a piece of string would be easier to answer! It is what many of us find difficult when it comes to setting up in business.

I would think about what it is you do, and the best way to display it. A range of prices is great. Having something unique and different is always good IMHO. Looking professional and approachable, good branding of your products, display and packaging will always stand out. However that sort of setup is what I’d expect at a high-end event where I’d pay a premium, rather than the local village hall kind of event where people are looking for a bargain. So it really depends on what you want as a business, what your prices are and who your target customers are.

What sells? Ice cream :laughing:

But from a crafts point of view, I haven’t figured out any consistency. I’ve sold woolly hats and Christmas decorations in July! Some days a customer will ask if you have a card machine when looking at a £10 item, other days a customer will hand over £80 in cash.
Your items are probably quite heavy Carol, some people may not want to carry them around - maybe a “I can post it” sign? And I agree with Sasha - business cards! It doesn’t matter if you sell nothing at all on the day if you get a rush of online orders the rest of the week.

What do I buy? Things I can’t make myself.
Stallholders will often buy from each other, especially if you are all having a good day, but the card-maker will not buy cards. You have an advantage there, as there are not so many glass stalls.

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I find fused glass earrings go well at fairs, the sparklier the better. And don’t price them too cheap, you should aim for a ‘this is a treat’ price, not be competing with Claire’s Accessories :wink: I’m just passing on advice that was given to me here as I don’t wear earrings (no ear lobes!) so wouldn’t have thought of them otherwise.

Love love love your puddle pendants (I’ve recently made some myself but not listed them here) but the photos are so dark they really don’t do them justice. Funnily I find mine don’t do so well at fairs but do go very well through my local gallery.

Thank you everyone, answers to an impossible question. Looks like I’m not going too far wrong, do need to work on my stall display. I do have a card reader, so if there is wifi or 3/4G I’m ok! I did joke the other day that so many cards have been picked up I should start charging :grin:
Good tips about the jewellery, ear rings and also about the pricing and the ‘rummage’ tip. Yes, I also buy things I can’t make myself so (although getting more common) most folk don’t have a glass kiln :wink:
Thank you very much again.

Yes Ice cream-or any type of food. People won’t pay £10 for something unique and handcrafted but they’ll happily hand it over for a couple of bits of pappy dough with plastic cheese and a slice of rock hard burnt cow.


Perfectly put & so very true Sarah

Ha ha, too true. Some people just don’t “get” handmade. But others will fall in love with what we do, those are the ones that will buy.

I look at Mister Finch for example, he makes very quirky textile items, that are snapped up and command a very good price. Some people would give their eye teeth to own a piece, others wouldn’t see the fuss at all. I don’t think Mister Finch worries about those who don’t see value in his work, but focuses on those that do, and carries on what he loves most - creating his handmade items, weaving his story and brand, capturing imaginations.

I think personally people are becoming more practical lately and like to buy things that have a use.

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Perhaps, practical but something different that can’t be bought cheaply on the high street. It is finding those practical things that people want to pay that little bit extra for handmade.

In my experience glass coasters sell well. They are practical and affordable but can be very unique and make great treats or gifts. Jewellery is also a winner, it’s small and has the ‘treat’ feeling.

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I sell jewellery and just do craft fairs from September onwards as people mostly buy my pieces as gifts. It’s good to have a variety of price points, as well a variety in the range. Choosing the right location is also important, I’ve tried to sell in places where no one wants to spend over £10 with little luck. Also, have faith in your pieces - if it’s made well people will buy. I’ve looked into whether I can make things low price, but I think that can cheapen my offer. The average spend on my pieces at craft fairs in 2015 was £20.48 so I’ve realised in the right place people will spend. And, yes, a credit card machine is a must for those impulse purchases!

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True, I always have my business/ flyer cards handy which quite often return some nice commissions for portraits even If I do not do very well on the day .

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