Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Craft Fair Tips and Advice!

Here at the beadshop, we have had more and more customers ask us for advice on craft fairs, so we have put our heads together to think of our top tips and advice for those just starting out or thinking about taking part in a fair. Craft fairs are an awesome way to get feedback about your work, meet fellow crafters and become part of an ever growing community. It is also a good way to help fund your hobby!

Before booking a craft fair, do some research! The best way to do this is visit local craft fairs, especially if they are run by the same organization that you hope to work with. Not only will you get a feel for the range of work shown, but you can also see the people it attracts which will help you when it comes to deciding what stock to bring. It is always helpful to ask questions! Most stall holders will be more than happy to chat to you about their experiences within craft fairs!

Once you have decided on the right fair for you, there are several things to look into to make the most of your space;

one - Check how much space you will be allocated and what is included in the price you are paying for a stall. Sometimes tables and chairs are an added extra so a couple of camping chairs are a good investment as standing up all day can be quite tiring! Once you know the dimensions of your space you can start to plan. Have a practice run beforehand and photograph your layout as a reference on the day.

two - Some venues will provide covers for tables but some will not, so it’s worth taking your own. Neutral will always be best to show off your designs. Avoid anything with too much of a pattern as this can detract from your work. There is a reason you see a lot of velvet and crushed velvet on tables at craft fairs, it doesn’t crease and has a great non-slip property!

three - Professional display stands can be quite expensive so think creatively. Vases, tiles, mug trees and even branches can all work well to show off your pieces. Just placing your pieces on a flat table top doesn’t make the most of your space and isn’t very inspiring so ‘build’ height into your layout try putting upturned boxed under the cloth to add different layers.

four - Take a mirror along as people will appreciate being able to see what suits them.

five - Price everything clearly. Not everyone likes to ask, and if you are busy talking to another customer, at least people can already see prices and carry on browsing. Make sure signs are easy to read and that spelling and grammar are correct!

six - Carry a range of prices. A customer may love your products but may be on a limited budget. Jess always has badges featuring artwork starting at £1.

seven - Always take business cards and/or flyers. Often people will think ‘that would be perfect for…’ and want to buy items nearer birthdays, Christmas or other occasions.

eight - Try and take pieces to make/finish/package. Not only is it better to look busy (rather than reading a magazine etc) but it also provides a talking point to customers. We have often found that if people can see you involved with your work, they feel more inclined to start a conversation about it.

nine - Don't forget bags! Think about how customers will take away their purchases. A necklace would look more impressive in a jewellery box rather than just placed into a bag. However if you sell items already packaged then a bag would work fine.

ten - Stay positive! Although it can be disappointing if a fair is quiet, or mostly window shoppers, don't be disheartened! Keep smiling and promote a good attitude as it will attract people and give them a much nicer lasting impression!

We hope you find these tips helpful and inspiring! If you have any suggestions on other topics you would like to see us cover, then please let us know!

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