Tips for your first craft fair
Guys I mentioned it enough times on here for you to probably have worked out that on Sunday I was selling at Crafty Fox Market in Brixton. One of my goals this year was to sell my products in person at a craft fair and I am so glad I achieved it.
It was a really great day and I loved meeting so many customers in person and also other makers who I had been friends with online for a while but not met in real life yet.
Whilst it is still all fresh in my mind I thought I would get everything written up and share a whole load of tips for doing your first craft fair (or some tips might be handy for old seasoned pro's). Some of these things were tips that people shared with me before the event (thank you so much!) and some are things I worked out and learnt on the day.
Packing list - For peace of mind work out way in advance of the event everything that you need to take and then as you are getting everything packed and ready you can just tick off the list and feel confident you haven't forgotten everything. I did have a dream (nightmare!) the other day where I turned up and had forgotten everything.
Phone/device charger - I decided to get this for the market but I think it will probably be handy for so many life events too. There are loads of different makes and styles of these but I decided to go for an Anker one which would charge my phone 6 times over. If you are doing a craft fair and have a smart phone with a crappy battery then this is a must! ESPECIALLY if you are taking card payments using your phone. You don't want your phone to die and then not be able to use the card reader/take photos/book a taxi etc.
Card Reader - I debated about whether to take one or not as I didn't know whether I would be doing a lot of craft fairs in the future, and I didn't really want to shell out £70/£80 for one - so I decided to go for iZettle as they have a card reader you can get for free. They take a 2.75% cut (or lower depending on the volume of your sales) which seemed reasonable to me. I was so impressed with this. I didn't use it loads as a lot of people came prepared with cash and people don't tend to buy a greetings card using a card, but I did use it a couple of times for larger sales and I think it was totally worth getting. It was so easy to set up and really easy to use on the day and it felt really good to know that I wouldn't lose out on any sales due to not having one.
Box of tricks - This is a box that you fill with things like masking tape, packing tape, paper clips, safety pins, string, glue, pegs - anything that could come in handy when putting your stall together. Having all of this stuff made me feel so much better even though I didn't need to use most of it. You never know though when you are going to need to tape/peg/pin something in place.
Suitcase - I pulled out the biggest suitcase we had and filled it with everything. When you are selling notebooks, prints and cards that thing got heavy quickly - luckily for me the venue was only a very short taxi ride away so it wasn't too bad getting the suitcase there. It was a bit tight squeezing the suitcase under the table but it worked out fine and if you have a bigger table then this wouldn't be an issue at all and is a great place to store it. I had all of my extra stock in there too so I could just duck under the table and get things whenever I needed to stock up cards or prints.
Attitude and mood - I tried really hard to stand up behind my stall as much as possible (rather than sitting down and pretty much disappearing behind the card stand) and to smile and look as friendly as possible. I want to be friendly and open to chatting but also not pushy so that if people wanted to just browse the stall without any pressure to buy they could totally do that to. It was a hard balance to get but I think your mood and attitude at these events is really important. I really think that people who are shopping probably subconsciously pick it up, and if you look sulky and like you don't want to be there that is not going to make them want to come over and chat about your work.
Biz cards - Not everyone will necessarily want to buy things on the day. I have definitely gone to markets before where I wasn't ready to make a decision but took away biz cards/postcards and checked them out again online later. I think it is sooo important for people to have something they can take away. Get more than you think you will need printed. People who pick them up might turn into customers later on.
Table cloth - It totally depends what kind of look you want for your stall and some people didn't use table cloths and it worked well but I decided to get a really big one so that it covered all sides of the table so that people couldn't see all the stuff I had stored underneath. Zoe suggested getting a cotton dust sheet which was one of the best tips I was given. I got one from a local paint shop - it was £7 was totally massive and will cover all sorts of size tables in the future and I really liked the material.
Practice your stall - I wish I had done this earlier on (but wasn't ready) but I am SO glad that I practiced my stall beforehand. I set everything up as I was planning to on the day. It was really helpful to take some time to think as a customer and work out the best way of presenting everything, labelling everything and how much to put out. I did actually slightly change it around on the day because of lights reflecting on my prints and things and what looked best but I think as I had a practice it saved a lot of time and was just a case of tweaking things rather than starting from scratch.
Stock - I don't think anyone will ever be able to give a clear answer on this as there are so many variables but before I went I really struggled with knowing how much stock to take. I erred on too much rather than too little as I knew I had another craft fair coming up in a few weeks and so would be able to take left over stock to that too. I am glad I did as my stall looked full and well stocked all day long.
Take food - I don't know about you but I am super grumpy when I haven't eaten and I wanted to be totally on top of my game so that I had lots of energy and was friendly and alert when customers came past. My lovely husband was around for the day and he brought me a yummy sandwich, chocolate and diet coke to keep me going. If you don't have someone with you who you can send out to get treats then I would definitely recommend bringing a packed lunch. Also another tip, make it something that you can eat over a long period of time (it took me two hours to eat one sandwich), and also that doesn't look totally gross to eat - I had to keep ducking down to grab a bite of my sandwich behind the stall because no one wants to see that.
Anyway I hope if you have a market coming up or if you have been thinking about doing one then this is helpful. I had such a great day and feel like It was such a good experience. I am looking forward to my next market already which will be on Friday 16th and the Green Room Cafe in Stoke Newington. If you are free come and pop by, it would be lovely to meet you.