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Sunday, 17 December 2017

Craft Fair Tips

Having completed my fourth and final Christmas craft fair of 2017, I thought now would be the perfect time to share a few tips that I've picked up over the years.

There's no point in making great products if people can't see them properly. I start with a plain table cloth to cover the table (I believe you can't go wrong with a neutral colour to let your products stand out). Then, I try to use levels to make my display more interesting, whilst ensuring that everything can be seen without be blocked. I often use boxes or baskets, which I'd stored my items in, to raise up elements of my display and cover them in cloth napkins to hide them.
One of the main elements of my display is a big notice board, which goes at the back of the table. I got at a car boot sale for £1 and then my Dad made a stand for it out of two planks of wood. I use it to pin up Christmas decorations and other things that hang. It's a great way of showing off a lot of items without using much table space.
Other things I use to display my products include: a Christmas tree cupcake stand from Hobbycraft which I sprayed gold, cutlery and mug stands from charity shops, and little wooden easels.
I find it helpful to group items in to boxes or baskets to keep everything from getting mixed up on the table, or to keep crocheted Pokeballs from rolling on to the floor. I try to arrange my products on the table according to the customer. For example, children tend to go straight for my emoji calls and keyrings and want to pick them up, so I make sure to put those baskets at the front of the table where they can reach.

As a customer, I don't like having to ask the price of something. With this in mind, I make sure everything has a clearly displayed price label. Not having visible prices could cost you a sale if someone is too shy to ask.
I make my labels by printing them on to card and pinning or blu tac-ing them next to the items. I use a lot of baskets to put my items in and I've found a good way to display the price label is to stick it to a clothes peg which is clipped to the edge of the basket.
I have a lot of labels that just have the prices which I can re-use each year with different items, and then I also have some labels with the name and the price of the item. I always use the same font to make everything look cohesive.

Keep a list
Each year, I print out a table of all the items I have for sale, as well as their prices. Having a pre-written price list makes putting the price labels on the items super easy because you don't need to think about it.
I put the list on a clipboard and keep it in an easy to reach spot behind the table. When I sell something, I mark it off on the list and then at the end of the fair I can tally it up to see how much I've made. I use the same list for all the Christmas craft fairs I do in a year, marking out a column for each one. It's an easy way to see which items have been really popular, as well as which ones have been less successful.
One final hint for lists: make sure to bring a working pen... or three! Those things always go missing.

Where possible, I like to have someone with me at craft fairs. They can go on for quite a while and if you're on your own the time can go very slowly. It's nice having someone to talk to during the slow periods and keep your spirits up. Having another person with you is also useful when setting up your stall and means less trips to the car to unload everything!
I usually have either my Mum or my boyfriend with me. I'm not very good at engaging with customers so it's great when my boyfriend is with me as he's much more outgoing. He has no problem telling people "she made all of this!" whereas I find it a bit harder to big myself up.

This is a tip I follow for life, not just craft fairs: always bring snacks. You might be lucky enough to attend a fair where the organisers bring bacon sandwiches round to you, or you might be placed next to stall selling irresistible cakes (and that's where a lot of your profit goes!), but you can't always rely on what's available at a fair, so bring your own.
With the fairs I attend, they nearly always run over the lunch time period, so my Mum and I like to treat ourselves to a supermarket meal deal. She had the good idea this year to take all the food out of the packaging, cut it into manageable pieces and put it in containers to take with us. This meant we didn't have to worry about rubbish cluttering up the space behind our table, which can sometimes be limited. It also meant I could just grab a bit of food at a time in between customers. I don't like to be seen stuffing my face when people approach my stall, which again is where having another person with you is handy. One of you can be sat down eating while the other deals with customers. My notice board display is also good for ducking behind.

So those are the things I do to help craft fairs run more smoothly.
Do you sell at craft fairs? Do you have any tips to add to the list?

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