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  1. Well today saw the first time I used my new table cloths and homemade bunting.  I was at Bourton-on-the-Water's craft fair at the Victoria Hall.  Whilst the stall took a little longer than normal to set up, I was very pleased with how the finished stall looked.
    Bourton New Stall
     
     
  2. Having just passed it's 2nd anniversary, I feel it is now time to give the website, branding and overall appearance of my stall at fairs a facelift.
     
    I have recently had a photoshoot at Venture Photography with a few products and I am very excited to share them with you.  I will hopefully be using a few of them on the website and Facebook page.
     
    I will be ditching the black tablecloths and replacing them with a pretty green polka dot cloth.  Vintage Cakestands replacing the baskets and there will be new signs and business cards too.
     
    This will hopefully be producing a much more pretty image in keeping with my products.
     
    Watch this space so they say!!
  3. Welcome to the last instalment of my essential craft fair tips.
     

    Selling

    This has always been a bone of contention for me.  I attend so many fairs where the stallholders are not presenting themselves properly.  They can either come across as aloof or too keen, finding the perfect balance of relaxed shopping and interest in the customer is what you I feel you should strive for.

    Determine whether you will be seated or standing behind or to the side of your stall (may vary on the venue).  Look interested in the visitors and say hello or good morning to acknowledge that you know that they are there and offer assistance if they have any queries.   DON’T STARE AT THEM it’s rude and intimidating!

    If you have helpers at the fair, make sure that they are briefed on your preferred selling technique and they don’t just sit and gossip behind the stall.

    Give any potential customer an opportunity to look at your products first and ask questions before you launch into a full scale sales patter.  Quite often enough if you can find a topic to talk about that is not related to your work then you can quite often make them more relaxed and ease them gently into the sale (i.e. build up a rapport with the customer).  More often enough it is the person selling the item not the item itself that persuades the buyer to part with their cash.
    stall detail

    It has to be said that some craft fairs can be a bit quiet at times, so it is worth taking something to occupy yourself with, such as a book, crossword puzzle or even craft if possible, something that is easy to put down if a potential customer comes along.  Try not to get too engrossed in that activity and miss a potential sale or come across as bored.   

    Demonstrations of a craft can sometimes help sell work, such as painting, woodwork or embroidery for example.  Messier crafts like pottery you will need to have processes in place to deal with a purchase when you are in the middle of a demonstration (i.e. clean hands or have an assistant).  But don’t give away too many tricks of the trade as you don’t want people rushing home to make their own instead of buying from you!
    Smile!  And be polite.
    Professionalism
    Most of all, my biggest tip would be to be professional whatever you are doing or selling.
    Lastly, enjoy the day, you will meet lots of interesting and friendly people.  "Network" with the other stallholders if you get an oppportunity as they quite often have tips and contacts for other craft fairs.
    I hope this has been of some help to you.  I welcome any feedback and additional hints and tips you may have.
  4. Arriving at the Fair

    Before you leave for the fair check the information provided by the organisers for any special instructions for arrival, set up and break-down of the fair.  These may include timings, special access to the venue and detailed information on parking.  They may even have already allocated you your space.

    Allow sufficient time to arrive at the venue to have completed the set-up of your stall for at least 15 minutes prior to the opening time of the event.  This allows time for you to clear and tidy your space around the table, move cars and loo visits etc so you are ready to start selling when the doors open to the public.

    Upon arrival at the venue, locate your space and unload your car quickly and efficiently.  Invest in a sack trolley or boxes on wheels (or a suitcase with wheels) as quite often enough you have to walk your boxes some distance.  Do not leave your boxes and bags in the way of other stallholders.

    Store the empty boxes neatly under the table or back in the car if possible.
    Last instalment will come on Monday.  I have the weekend off so I will be redecorating my hallway & stairs.  Hope you have a good one too x?xml:namespace>
  5. Setting your stall up

    Practice setting up your stall at home before the event.  This will help to identify whether you have enough (or too much) stock and will make it easier on the day to arrange the stall quickly and efficiently.

    Table cloths

    Most craft fairs will provide you with a table that is usually about 6ft long (this will usually be specified in the events details) so make sure your table cloth is large enough to cover the table and just touch the floor at the front.  This hides your boxes and bags under the table and gives a smarter more professional impression.  Iron your table cloth – no-one likes wrinkles! 

    When selecting a table cloth choose one that will compliment your stock and not detract from it.  Most people go for a plain solid colour such a white or black, but pick one that suits your stock, such as a pale pink gingham fabric if your work is a pretty shabby chic, or a chunky hessian if your work is rustic and more country. 

    Display

    Work laid out flat on a table is very uninspiring and it is difficult to see them items at the back of the table, so try different levels to display your work.  Use baskets, plinths, boards and other props to display/hang/elevate your products.  Make sure that these props don’t detract from your products – you don’t want more offers to buy these then your actual work!  Make sure they don’t distract from your products – make sure it is obvious what is for sale!

    Try not to clutter your table – clutter makes it harder for the customer to see the items in insolation (ie in their own homes) without the distraction of the other items around it.

    Only sell the products that you have disclosed on the application form.  Good fair organisers will visit your stall and check that you are only selling the items you have advised them of as it is not fair on the other stallholders if overlaps occur.

    Try and have a product identity.  I have seen some stalls that sell a “mish-mash” of products for example a few cards, a couple of pieces of jewellery, a few cushions, knitted jumpers, cupcakes and pickles (this is a real stall that I have come across recently!) and they look jumbled and confusing when there is not a common theme.
    sulgrave stall

     

    Tomorrow I will talk briefly about arriving and setting up at the fair.