15 December 2014

Planning for a craft fair

Today I'm starting a week of posts all related to craft fairs!

I’m not really an expert, having only done a couple of craft fairs, but here are some things that worked for me and may be useful to others!
Theme or style
Choose a consistent theme or style for your stall so that everything goes together (but doesn’t necessarily “match”). From the items you choose to go on your stall, to the table covering, business cards, staging items, etc, it looks so much more professional if it all looks consistent. For example, I went with a sort of country/shabby chic style for my stall with some folklore influences, and a colour scheme of red gingham, duck-egg blue and pine.

If you can, find out what size the table will be, so that you have a trial run of setting your stall up at home, and can bring a table cover of the appropriate size. This could be a tablecloth, old duvet cover, or any other fabric. Choose a fabric that fits the style of the items on your stall, and isn’t so busy that your items will be lost on it. You can also ask whether you can bring lighting, and whether you can set up things around or in front of your stall or on the wall behind.
Have some sort of sign so that the customers will know the name of your brand. Even if you don’t have a business as such, having a brand name is useful. The sign could be a banner (of fabric or paper), a picture frame, blackboard, etc. I put a clothes peg at each end of my banner so I could clip it to the fabric.
To stage the items on your stall, it’s a good idea to have things at different levels, so I used boxes, a small stool, a plant stand, and a few other items to achieve this. It also looks good to have the items well organised, with smaller items in boxes or baskets that the customers can dig through (with maybe one or two items in front to show them what’s in the basket). Trays and chopping boards are other things you can use to corral items together, and mug trees are good for hanging things from. Try to come up with some unique ways to display your items, to make your stall stand out from the crowd.

Price tags/labels
Here’s a good way to have a consistent brand across all your products – make price tags or labels. I made lino cuts so I can print all my labels, but you could print them from a computer if you like. I have three types that I use:
1. Hang tags that I tie to items (price can be stuck to or written on back)
2. Cards for brooches or earrings (again can be priced on back)
3. Standing labels with the item name and price written on the front – I have these for all my items but they are particularly useful for delicate items you don’t want customers to handle too much, or items that don’t have a suitable place to stick a price label.

Things to bring
Some of the things I bring include water, a float (the amount depends on many factors, like how expensive your items are, whether they are priced at round numbers, and how much you expect to sell), money belt, bags, gift boxes, string, sellotape, price list, pen/pencil, notepad (my brain turned to mush trying to add simple numbers together!), and lip balm! If you’ve got business cards, bring lots and put them in a pretty container. If the fair is longer than a few hours, bring food and maybe a friend!

Be friendly and cheery
This is probably the most difficult bit for an introvert like me, which is probably why I found it easier to start with a fair at my workplace, where I would know a lot of the customers. I tend to say a cheery hello, smile and make eye contact with anyone who approaches the stall, to let them know that I’m ready to attend to them, then give them a chance to have a look undisturbed. If they seem to be paying attention to any particular item I’ll tell them a bit about it. If a lot of customers arrive at once, I'll try to keep an eye on what order they decide on a purchase, so that I can serve them in order, and smile and make eye contact with those who are waiting so they know I'm aware they are waiting. Consider wearing your favourite outfit to help give you confidence!

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