Crafting is trendy! It is a popular pastime and people are getting involved in a wide range of craft interests. In the past few years, more and more people are turning their crafting hobby into a way to make extra money, either to supplement an income or as a full or part-time career path. With the increase of people wanting to sell their work, there are more outlets to choose from ever before, ranging from small school fairs, church events and community centre gatherings, right up to regional and national events held in large exhibition centres.
After doing over 300 craft shows over many years, I have learnt a huge amount about selling through this method and have included my top three tops which are as follows:
Tip 1: Location: Think carefully about where the event you are considering will be. For example, will it be in an area which will attract passing customers?. Is it an easy to find location and is the venue easy to find and access with good parking facilities. I once did an event which was advertised as a Sales Extravaganza but as I pulled up to the event to set up, my heart sank. The venue was off the beaten track and down a dark leafy lane which was poorly lit. There was no banner or advertising on the road or entrance to the lane that the event was happening. Sure enough – there was less than a handful of people that came through the door, and they were friends of the organiser. If you are not familiar with the venue or area, do visit and check it out thoroughly before booking. By contrast, I have done events held in “good locations” which were well known in the local areas as it was used by lots of community groups for a wide variety of activities throughout the year and easy to find with good facilities.
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Tip 2. My second tip is to contact the organiser and ask questions about the event. Make a list of questions to satisfy your queries about the event, including anything specific to your requirements. Things to think about is the start and finish time of the event, set up times for traders, parking arrangement, disability access (if you require this), electricity supply, refreshment arrangements etc.
Also, ask about the space you are paying, enquiring what type of display equipment you can bring along – whilst many traders will use a standard 6ft table, your display maybe using alternatives such as cupboards, bookcases, tall units etc to create a unique display. Do satisfy yourself with their answers. Their responses can be the difference to whether the event is going to be suitable for you. No matter how good or experienced the organiser is, they cannot guarantee footfall or sales.
Tip 3: Manage your expectations. In an ideal world, it would be wonderful to have hundreds, if not thousands of people walking through an event, with a good proportion of customers stopping by and purchasing from you. Whilst it is not unknown for people to have “sell out” events, it is rare. Do set yourself a realistic goal of what you would like to achieve. It could be around a financial amount (i.e. how much turnover you want to achieve); or how many items you want to sell. It could also be around how many contact details you can acquire. If you set a goal, you will be more likely to work hard to achieve that goal.
Tip 4: Do your part to make the event a success by informing all your customers of your attendance. The more you market on social media and to your mailing list, it increases the chances of increased numbers of people attending. If all traders do this, it means more opportunities for everyone. Sharing means everyone benefits. Imagine how you feel if your craft show neighbour invited one of their friends who ended up buying from you! It’s a good feeling. So by everyone getting involved in sharing details of the event and encouraging others to attend, it will make for a good experience for everyone.
Tip 5: My final tip is to enjoy yourself and keep positive. Selling at craft fairs can be hard going, particularly if you have an early start and the event finishes late. Do take along things to make the day comfortable for you such as appropriate clothing and sufficient refreshments. At the start of the day, get to know your trading neighbour, as a friendly face can help to make the time pass quickly, especially if the event is slow. At all times, keep positive, even if others around you are not. By keeping a positive attitude, this can boost your confidence, help you get through the day and help to maintain a natural welcoming and helpful manner when dealing with customers. If you are not positive about being at the event, it can easily be reflected through your manner and body language and can result in losing out on sales. So keep positive and enjoy the experience.
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