Okay, so you’ve taken the plunge and registered for self-employment. You’ve got your handmade product sorted and you’re happy with it.
Now you need to sell your crafts and you’ve decided that craft fairs would be an ideal ‘shop window’ for you.
Firstly, and very importantly, you need to find a good organiser. Take advice from anybody you know who already attends craft fairs. Sadly not all organisers give a hoot about their stall holders. Some will take your money but do little else to ensure your success. If you make and sell jewellery for instance, ask before you commit, how many jewellery stalls they already have booked in. Whilst realising that jewellery comes in many shapes and forms there is little point hoping to stand out if there are 10 other stalls selling jewellery in a fair with only 20 stalls in total!
The next important step is the layout of your table; always use covers & always plain – no fancy patterns.
Lighting is essential, especially during the winter months when it’s dark by 4pm. We include electric up to 1kw in the price for our stalls.
It’s not enough to have a great product. You have to set out your stall to make people WANT to stop and look at what you are selling.
We run an aromatherapy business alongside event organising so I thought a few photos of how we set up might give you a better idea of what I mean.
As you can see we aim to display on several levels. Height is very important. I often see ‘newbies’ with everything beautifully laid out on their stall, but all on one level, which fails to show their product at its best.
A very simple way to display on different levels is to use flower pots and planks of wood – a pot at each end, one in the middle and the wood sitting on top. Obviously you can build this up to the level you want.
If you are lucky enough to have a spot with a wall/marquee side behind you a back drop helps to make you stand out. We have a large banner with our name, e-mail address and telephone number on that we display.
If you don’t have a banner just a pretty coloured cloth or some bunting would be perfect.
Make sure your prices are clearly displayed. Nothing puts potential customers off more than being unable to see how much something costs. Also, be realistic; what you could charge in Harrods will be very different from what you can sell for at a small local craft fair or at a niche artisan event. Tip: Have your response ready for those people who will try to ‘haggle’ – sadly, many seem to look on craft fairs as glorified car boot sales, not realising how much time, love, and effort has gone into your finished handmade product.
Always try to engage with people as they approach your stall and remember to smile. The old saying is worth remembering; ‘people buy people’ so it’s no good expecting to sell out if you’re sat behind your stall reading a book and eating your lunch!!
Finally, don’t be disheartened if you don’t do well at first. We ALL have the odd ‘bad’ fair – sometimes it’s the weather and sometimes it’s lots of people with ‘deep pockets’!
Good luck x
http://www.celticfayres.co.uk/ where you can see photos from some of our events
http://www.naturalbeautyandhealth.co.uk/ Our aromatherapy business