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The Crafters community across the board regardless of craft admit to contemplating whether or not fairs or shows are worthy of time and expense. Here’s my opinion and why it can be a daunting decision
This is my craft stall (and helper son) at a local fair.
When I started doing craft events I signed up for just about any fair or exhibition…a definite ‘trial & error’ process. I learned quite a few lessons, the good and the not so good, along the way. Some fairs can be a considerable investment of time, energy and money, as they can be two, three and even four day long events. Some even run later into the night. While there is a lot of potential for sales, there is potential for disaster too. It should be paramount to check how established a venue as well as an organiser is. Always check the kind of advertising in place…is it targeting the right market? Is it covering the relevant catchment area and so on? And of course, weather. We can’t really predict the weather, but a bit of research up’s the odds of determining the footfall, whether it’s an outdoor or indoor event. Weather is probably up near the top of the list of what can make an event a raging success or a complete washout!

Catrine Festival (June 4th 2011)

Marquee events are probably are one my favourite, so long as the weather is kind and my feet are in good form…there’s a lot to be said for thermal socks and wellies, let me tell you. 

My table with shelves, display stands, platforms and busts
Making the most of your six foot table is vital. I invested in a 30” tiered corner shelf (see picture) which gave my table visibility from other points on the marquee floor. Although having pretty cloth on the table adds to the effect, laying all your items flat doesn’t. Display stands, platforms, shelves, whatever will lift your wares up for better viewing will make the world of difference. Local farmers markets can be a good investment. They attract a lot of local customers that go just to see if they can find something a bit different, and organisers usually welcome local crafters.

Mauchline Holy Fair
Although, sometimes it’s not necessarily always about the sales, you also have the opportunity to promote your craft, with business cards, your website, twitter, facebook pages etc. Meeting customers and fellow stallholders are great for feedback, validation, ideas and friendships. There’s no greater reward than a customer enthusing how beautiful one of your creations are, especially when they are willing to part with their cash too! Market research costs a lot of money, and being a crafter, you probably don’t have a stash especially for it. But being a crafter also means you don’t need to. Attending events is the ideal opportunity to exhibit your work at a comparatively nominal outlay, and feedback is usually immediate. I’ve found that casually listening in while customers are browsing and talking to each other a very useful tool. Customers can be brutally honest, but don't be down heartened by every negative comment…unless of course they are all saying the same thing. Bear in mind, that different markets will in all likelihood yield different results in both sales and comments.

Mauchline Holy Fair May 28th 2011
I love doing craft events, though I don’t get to do as many as I used to because my website and online orders don’t let me, but the ones I do are great, which for me I think, is good value for my time and money.

Mauchline Holy Fair is happening all over again on May 28th 2011
See you there!

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