Sunday, 9 March 2014

Preparing for a craft fair part 1: book your stall!

When preparing for your first craft fair, there is undeniably a lot to do. Taking your first step into selling your crafts on a market stall can be daunting, overwhelming and overall, confusing! 

This series of blog posts will explore how to prepare for your first craft fair- what needs to be done, what you need to prioritise and in what order. 

Part 1: book your stall!

You have made the decision to sell your lovingly handmade items at a craft fair- fantastic! Your first step is to choose the right craft fair for your debut. Spend a month or so beforehand to look at which craft fairs are running in your area, and visit a few potentials to get a feel for the atmosphere, layout and clientele. 

Another consideration is the time of year to start out. While there will be footfall all year round, craft fairs certainly enjoy a lot more trade during certain months- particularly from October to December, in the run-up to Christmas. 

In my opinion, it's better to start out small. When running your first craft stall, you will almost certainly make mistakes and learn from them- and I think a small fair with less pressure is the time to learn these lessons. Consider practicalities above all at this stage. Choose somewhere easy to travel to, with good parking facilities. After all, you will have a lot of "stuff" to carry, and you will not yet be familiar with the best way to transport them effectively. Smaller craft fairs close to home (think church halls, school fetes, community centres) would be a good option for a first market stall experience. 

Most craft fairs will provide a table for you to display your goods on. Check the dimensions of the tables available at your chosen fair, to make sure they meet your needs. It's easier to opt for a fair that hires tables/ displays out for a small cost than a market expecting you to bring your own. 

You will probably need to pay a fee for your stall slot. Since this is your first venture into the world of craft fairs, I recommend choosing one with a low fee. This means that even if you don't get many sales on the day, you won't be out of pocket or disappointed. Think of your first experience as a "test run", a networking opportunity, a way of ironing out and problems and gaining experience. See any profit you make as a bonus at this stage. 

Once you have decided upon a good first craft fair to sell at, bite the bullet and book your stall! Congratulations, you now have a real goal to work towards. 

Stay tuned for part 2: organising your inventory! 

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