I adore craft fairs. I love looking at things that people have spent time and patience pouring all their love into making and want to share with the world. I really enjoy seeing all the variations in texture, tone and colour that can be used to create something, sometimes using a combination of different materials and sometimes (and usually more interestingly) playing just just one. And I'm particularly fascinated by the backgrounds of the people who run the stalls - why they started doing it, what else they do (because it's very rare that they stick to just one craft!) and what exciting new things they're planning for the future.
It's not a surprise then that I've started attending craft fairs again. My first one was in October and was based at Coldharbour Mill in Uffculme, Devon. This fantastic historic building is one of the oldest woollen mills in the UK and is full of exciting machines as well as the stories of the people who worked there. Where better for someone interested in historic buildings to have their first craft fair?
Now, my stall. There are lots of things to think about when organising your sales space. Does it look attractive? Tempting? Is it clean and clear of clutter? (Not only to make it approachable for your customers but safe too). Can the customer see each item clearly - and their prices? (Some people like to hide their prices but I prefer to be honest from the outset). Have you got something that people can take away with them featuring your contact details if they don't want to purchase something then and there but are interested in your wares? (Usually a business card but some people have fliers, sometimes mentioning other craft fairs they're attending too). Are you displaying everything you need to legally, and have you covered the background legalities? (E.G. Insurance, Health and Safety Risk Assessment, PAT testing of electrical items if required by the sale organisers). Is there anything practical you can bring with you to help the customer? (E.G. a mirror). Do you have something for them to carry their purchases home in? And - most importantly - would YOU look at it? I always try to improve every time and I have a few things I'd change about my current set up but am pretty pleased with how this event went.
This fair was also a first for me in that I've just purchased a new card reader and was trying it out at the fair. What particularly surprised me is that everyone chose to pay by card when they realised they had that option! It should have been obvious; so many people bring limited cash to events like this so struggle to have enough for everything they want, particularly as there is often no cash machine available (as happened here). The opportunity to keep cash back is always welcome! The card reader was also great as it allows me to email or text a receipt to people with my contact details on if they want it, giving them peace of mind.
I'll be publishing details of future craft fairs I'm attending in due course; however my next event is at Tiverton Pannier Market for their Last Minute Gift Fayre on Sunday 16th December, between 10am and 3pm. Please see their Facebook event page for further details. I'd love to see you there!