19/11/2013

Christmas craft fair weekend

I have spent most of the last two weeks frantically sewing up a bunch of stock ready for Christmas craft fairs.

I do this every time - craft fair looms, I go into panic mode, realise I don't have nearly enough pretties to fill a table (because you lovely peeps keep buying them from Folksy! *not complaining* ) and spend every waking moment with a needle in my hand. The house gets completely ignored, and it's truly amazing how quickly kids and partners go feral when they have to find their own tea...

And for what?

This weekend I did two events - one billed as a 'ladies Christmas shopping night', the other was in a local pub.  Both were a terrible disappointment...

Not a complete waste of time to be fair - I covered my table costs and I have an order from another trader for a personalised bunting banner for her own stall. I also had a lovely chat with the organiser of the pub fair about how we could all work together to make a successful regular event. (More on that as and when... )

I have blogged about the craft fair conundrum before over on TFMP and every time I come home from one I ask myself the same question. Why? Why do I do this thing?


The truth is I enjoy them. I come from a retail background and I enjoy setting up shop! I enjoy meeting customers and talking to them. I get a thrill when they point things out they love or pick up my work to get a better look or take a card so they can check out my blog and online shop later. I love wrapping up a purchase and popping it into a bag and handing it over with a smile and a thank you.


I wish I could do more of it.

I just wish more people liked to shop that way...


What are your craft fair experiences? Do you love them or see them as a necessary evil? Do you have any tips for a 'successful' fair experience?

And if you are a customer what makes you make a purchase? Do you have any advice for stall holders on how to attract the attention - and the purses - of potential customers?

I always love to hear your opinions.

We are all in this together after all....


Anthea xx






11 comments:

  1. There have been a few blog posts recently about craft fairs and the number of people who say "I could make that" on seeing handmade items. Perhaps it is time to tap into all these people who think they could make it themselves and sell basic kits for some of your items. The kits could have pre-cut fabric shapes (so they won't have a pattern unless they are organised and make a copy), some filling and maybe some sparse instructions if you're feeling generous. Of course, include cards for your Folksy shop for when they find out it is not as easy as they thought or they have not got the time to finish it.

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    1. funnily enough this is *exactly* what I am planning to do for 2014! I really think kits are the way forward - and they make great presents too.... :-)

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  2. I agree with you. It's really difficult. The older generation mostly say 'I could make that myself' but I've found the younger generation ball at the price. It really frustrates me that people would rather pay sweat shop prices than get a good quality hand made product. It's almost as if people have no conscience anymore! Sorry rant over!

    I found doing a weekly stall on the market helped because people learnt where I was and came back even if they didn't buy the first time around. Although unfortunately I couldn't charge craft fair prices...

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    1. The main problem we seem to have here is actually getting people through the door in the first place!! I agree though, that being at a regular event would possibly improve sales as people get to know you and your stock.

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  3. Just did my first one last Saturday and only sold 1 item. Subsequently I didn't cover the cost of the table but fortunately the Organiser allowed me just to pay a token amount. I'm just worried the same may happen at the next sale which is this coming Saturday. I wasn't alone, most of the stall holders sold very little despite the Sale being relatively well attended.

    Like you, I am doing much better on-line, just hope I can turn this round as this is my full time job now!

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    1. It's a sign of the times that people are simply not spending as much as they did. I guess it's our job as 'shopkeepers' to make our stall so attractive they cannot possibly walk on by! Very quiet fairs are always disappointing but I definitely feel worse not selling much at an apparently busy fair! Good luck with your next fair and your online sales too!

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  4. I just completed one show two weeks ago and did exceedingly well. I have another one this weekend. I love talking to people and yes talk about my techniques. I do better at the shows than on line. It is not easy to know what will sell because you never know. I keep doing a few shows a year because I love the feeling of being a shop owner. You do have to create new items to keep your displays updated and interesting,

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    1. I agree that being able to meet and talk to your customers is a definite plus point of doing fairs and that updating your display to keep it looking fresh is very important! A high street shop that changes it's window display often is much more enticing than one that stays the same and we should do the same with our stalls.
      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.

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  5. I would say, pick wisely when you book to do a fair. There are far too many people who put on events knowing they can sell the tables, but don't realise they have to market the event in order to fill it with customers Do less shows, but only good ones.

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    1. You are absolutely right! The organisers have an obligation to make sure people know about their fair - too many assume that stall holders will promote for them and encourage their friends to come along. I am planning to limit myself to a couple of 'regular' events and am already looking at getting into larger Christmas fairs for NEXT year :-)

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  6. I have had a couple of disappointing markets for sales. However, I am treating them as a way to get my name out there and a great way to get market research by talking to potential customers. It can be disheartening as so much work goes into this but as I am relatively new to the craft fair scene I am hoping that by meeting future customers and networking with other crafters the hard work will pay off in the long run, fingers crossed anyway!

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