I've been thinking a lot about craft fairs and markets recently. With a family and a husband who works weekends, any free days are very special so I need to make sure that any fairs which I attend are good value in terms of sales etc. My last 2 fairs have been less than successful in terms of sales, which really knocks your confidence as a maker - there is nothing as sould destroying as spending all day (often in the cold) manning a stall, being polite to customers and then after several hours packing up most of the same stock you unpacked with such high hopes that morning !
Every time I do I fair, I get up on the morning very excited and load the car with a mixture of excitement and aprehension, Once I find the venue, its then a hunt for my table and a quick look round to see who is close to me - Is it someone I know ? Are they selling similar to me ? Does there display look better ? Then the doors open and we all wait with great expectation - will there be lots of customers ?
The customers start to come in and pick up items on the stall (this is the point where I wish I was psychic !) Are they looking to be polite ? Do they like the item but think it is too expensive ? Often they don't make eye contact, is this deliberate because they don't want to be bothered, or are they just thinking about something else ? I always find it really hard to know if/when to speak to a customer and assess if they are the kind who just wants to look in peace or they prefer a little input (I hate a hard sell so won't do that). When I get talking to customers I love to hear feedback about my products and have adapted designs etc when I have spoken to people so this on its own is a fantastic reason to do fairs.
One of the other good things about going to fairs is that I have met some amazing crafters while doing them, and really feel that I am starting to get to know a few people who I have done a couple of fairs with. I also find that lots of people will take a business card, and I have had a couple of orders on the back of this - maybe with more to come when Christmas comes around. I also find it is great to chat to other stallholders about other events, everyone is more than happy to pass on details of which events work for them, and who to contact, which is really useful when you are just starting out.
So I am going to continue doing events and have got several booked in before Christmas along with a list of others which I need to sit down with a diary to try and work out if I can do any more. I hope to see you at one of them.
I would love to hear what you like about Craft Fairs/Markets both from attending as a customer and as a seller.