Doing a craft fair can be daunting; scary; exciting; exhilarating and rewarding. Whether it is your 1st or your 50th all crafters, makers and stall holders go through the same thing in the run up to a fair.
We all worry asking questions like – have I made enough stock? Have I made too much? Will customers like my items as much as I do? Will they buy them? Have I remembered everything? What have I forgotten?
This blog post is made up of thoughts, experiences, advice and top tips from members from the Glasgow Etsy Team in the hope that it can help.
- Make sure you have all the necessary insurance/paperwork
- Advertise – promote your event loads and as widely as possible before hand to ensure as many people as possible know you will be there.
- Will you need a card reader to take payments?
- if so make sure you have it all set up
- and know how to use it!
- will there be wifi to link it to?
- Have a float and plenty of change
- If you forget to go to the bank for the customer services desk in the supermarkets are often happy to swap £20 notes for pound coins and fivers.
- Make sure you have plenty of stock and examples of made to order items
- Craft fairs run all year round so make sure your items are appropriate for the event and the season e.g. woollen hats or Christmas decorations may not be your best sellers at a summer fete.
- Know your stock – this might sound daft but know where things are sourced from; is it vegan/environmentally friendly; are there any possible allergy issues…. you would be amazed the questions people ask.
- Have packaging/bags/paper bags to put sold stock in for customers to take their purchases away.
- Make sure you have PLENTY of business cards to take with you
- Think about the practical logistics in advance:
- Know how you are going to pack up your items for transportation and to ensure no breakages/damage before you even start.
- Know how to get there – maybe even do a practice run to know how long it will take you.
- If using public transport make sure you know train times etc;
- If driving make sure you know where you can park.
- Will you be carrying everything yourself? can you? Will you need several runs to and from your car to your stall?
- Make sure you will have time to do this and set up before the doors open you don’t want to be sweaty, stressed, disorganised and still trying to get set up as people are walking round – this is NOT the image you want to portray.
- Pinterest has some very interesting ideas that can be useful to look through for inspiration, even if you don’t end up using them.
- Don’t just have everything flat on the table .
- Don’t have it looking too busy or cluttered.
- A single bed sheet fits perfectly on a 6x2ft table in place of a table cloth! – but make sure its clean!
- Definitely do a mock set up in your house – take photos of the mock up so that it can be easily reproduced on the day.
- In terms of your stall layout, building up height helps, so a small shelving unit off centre or something similar helps. You can also hide your paperwork behind it.
- Use a variety of heights on your stall and a nice range of products!
- Is it possible/necessary to take lights and an extension cord to brighten up your table?
- Try and see if you can see any images from previous GET made local events to get ideas.
- Depending on what you sell maybe use two poles to get height and clip products on string across between them.
On the day:
- Take an order book or a notepad and pen to write down sales and orders if you take them.
- Have water, maybe a flask and something bite sized to eat, like grapes, as that’s always when a customer turns up!
- Always smile/acknowledge or say hello to everyone that comes up to your stall and have a few lines of banter ready about your products if they want to chat to you, you want them to remember you. And you never know who might be your next customer!
- Put the phone down whenever someone comes up to the stall. Customers feel ignored if you’re looking at a device rather than at them and you could lose sales.
- Wear comfy shoes!
- Dress according to the venue – will it be hot/cold etc
- If you sell clothing or items that can be worn then wear them – be a walking advertisement for your stall.
- If you sell clothing or jewellery remember a mirror.
- Place a business card with every sale and offer them to as many people as possible who are just browsing.
- Have your shop sign displayed prominently so people remember you.
- Make sure it is as big as is feasible.
- And at Eye level if possible.
- Have prices clearly displayed – customers always like to see prices so they know if things are in their price range.
- If possible added some products that are below £5 just to encourage browsers.
- Network – chat to the stall holders on either side of you. When you need to pop to the loo they’ll keep an eye on things for you. You might even make some new friends too!
- Please don’t pack up before the event finishes. It annoys organisers and other stall holders.
- At some point in the day you’ll encounter the customers that think there’s a sound proof forcefield separating you from them. They are the ones who think they can make your items or will make a comment about how high your prices are. Apart from giving them a smile and a hello IGNORE THEM. We’ve all encountered these types at fairs and their opinions aren’t worth the breath they used to air them.
- Don’t get disheartened if you don’t sell much – often people need to see you a few times before they buy. Regular craft fairs have their regular attendees, and sometimes you need to chat to lots of them before any buy anything.
- Remember you’re out there as a living, walking, talking advert for your business and often people will remember you and get in touch later to buy something.
- At first maybe look at fairs as market research rather than a money making venture.
- Persevere – fairs can be trial and error
- Craft fairs are great for market research and meeting fellow makers, I love it!
Finally the biggest piece of advice everyone gave was most of all to enjoy it!!