Monday, 17 October 2011

Craft Fair or not to craft fair???

I have been pondering over a question for sometime now, are craft fairs good for sellers or just soul destroying? You get up early in the morning, pack you car with your precious creations, drive through the mist, full of optimism and a bit of excitement at the thought of selling some of the new items you have spent the bulk of your recent life creating. You get there and set up stall, getting everything looking 'just so', and then the waiting game begins....

This is the bit I hate, waiting for that first sale. I have a theory, sales are catching, once you have sold one item, no matter how small, others will follow. But at my most recent craft fair I didn't make this first sale until almost lunchtime. There were many browsers and lots of chatter, but no actual sales for most of the morning. Whilst it's lovely speaking to other lovely crafty like-minded folks, my main aim for the day is to find a happy home for my makes and to add a bit of money to the fabric fund. But sometimes it just doesn't work out like that, and that can be very hard to deal with, all weekend I have been thinking what could I have done to turn things around? Could I have had more stock, made more chatter, tap danced?

Sometimes it's just how it works out, sometimes there is no reason for it. But these rational thoughts don't occur to you as you are driving back from the fair feeling deflated.

Today, however is another day and I have given myself a bit of a talking to. I'm not sure that Craft fairs are the right place for me to sell my designs, but I find the impersonal internet a bit sterile, I'm a people person (deep down)! I will let you know how the next one goes. Below are some photo's of my most recent stall :)


Lorna May said...

Oh No if you feel this way no hope for me :o/
Your stall always looks lovely and wouldn;t look out of place in MAKING magazine.
I like doing them as they get me out of the house and meeting like minded crafty people. BUT yoou have to be tough skinned as your confidence can take a knock.
I do think a good well run and advertised fair makes a BIG difference. Love the atmosphere and the care put into Warkton but have found this to be rare.
I did one and so poorly organzied even stall holders couldn;t find it, supposed to stay til 4 it was empty by 2.
I enjoy them as an extension of my hobby but do wonder how those using them to fund an income survive.
{Dab and a dash.}

michelle said...

aw bless you honey, i've been knocked so many times especially when i first started out, i havent really done a fair since starting the market, so i'm kinda dreading the ones i have booked in november, as i feel so out of the loop with it all!! eek

keep smiling chick xxx

Quirky Boots said...

oh poop was still signed in as warkton - that message is off me - Deanne :) xx

Lalabibaby @ Dreaming of The Simple Life said...

You just never know who is going to walk through the door at a craft fair no matter how good the advertising and even then you can't make people part with their cash. Like you I enjoy the social side chatting with stallholders and the buyers and find that even if sales on the day are slow I usually pick up some orders to make up for it. Always have a supply of business cards and pop one in with every purchase. I am finding that the mix of vintage & handmade fairs like at Northampton and Olney are working best for me. Craft fairs on their own can be confidence knocking and my OH stands willing people to buy something and wishes he had a fiver for every time someone picks a quilt or cushion up and says thats lovely then puts it down again! Good luck at your next one ... I know Sharon loves your makes x

michelle said...

hello - this actually is michelle this time! ;)
(was reading my comment thinking - did i write this in my sleep or something?!! lol!)

hang in there with craft fairs hon, it takes time but you'll get there :)
i agree in sales generating sales, but that comes largely from sales generating confidence
tbh i've found the best fairs to be (oddly) the ones where i've mostly thought "i'm not going to sell very much" !
i think going into the day with a carefree attitude, "what will be will be", and "its all good advertising at the end of the day" makes you more likely to succeed
i like to sit, knit and chat to everyone who stops long enough to say hi to...(and for me to thrust a business card at them! i normally find a lot of them come and join me on facebook a day or so after)
its all about being smiley, approachable and fun to chat to (even though ur really sitting there wishing you were still in bed!!) xxx

evajeanie said...

Lorna, thanks v much :) You are right though, you do have to be very thick skinned and I am just wondering if I'm not really cut out for that?!
Deanne/Michelle lol! I was confused with that one! Dee you will be fine In November, your stuff is gorgeous. Maybe I just didn't take enough stuff with me to do and so I really noticed what was going on more than normal? I would really like to adopt a 'what will be, will be' attitude, but I don't think I would be being very true to myself :S. And I feel like a right moron being smiley and chatty!! I did get about 30 new 'likers' after the last market so that is a positive.
Lalabibaby, you are right, the thing about never knowing who is going to walk through the door is the thing that spurred me to do a market in the first place. I haven't had an order through doing a fair but I haven't advertised that I could do this, do you have a sign or just tell people?

Lalabibaby @ Dreaming of The Simple Life said...

It's all part of the chatting EJ .... it didn't come easy to me at first but as I looked around the fairs the people that just sat with their heads down behind their tables were the ones with the least interest. Just starting with a smile and hello breaks the ice and before you know it once they get chatting you get to find out what they are really looking for and there's your opportunity to say take my card and please get in touch if you would like me to make something for you. From that small start that person may order and in turn pass your name onto their friends and family. From little acorns as they say (I'm only at the sapling stage BTW!) x

evajeanie said...

That's great advice thank you Lalabibaby, I am really good at talking to people in the real world, I just feel a bit phony talking to shoppers at craft fairs, (maybe I need practice)? x

Thecraftytrundler said...

Know exactly how you feel, It is disheartening at times, but you have a great range of beautiful products, and you come over as being friendly & approachable. I thought you had been at craft fairs a lot longer than you have!!
Lalabibaby is one of my friends from the Vintage fairs, she's lovely (just like you), and you will have to come along one day & say hello : )
Don't feel 'phony', cos you definitely aren't!!! : )
Sharon xx