Saturday, 7 July 2012

Crafty Fairs

     I’m now becoming a bit of an old hand at craft fairs now that I’m into my third summer.  I wouldn’t call myself an expert but I have learnt a lot from experience and have to say I’m still learning.  I don’t think people often realise the preparation that goes into a fair, and I’ve found that really getting organised makes for a better fair.  I have a list of things I take, it’s fairly generic with a few things that I need specifically for my stall. 

      List of craft fair musts:-

·         Directions to the fair!! Remember your map or sat nav.-  don’t give yourself unnecessary  stress by getting lost on the way

·         Pens

·         Pad of Paper for notes

·         Labels

·         Scissors

·         Receipt book- some people do asks for receipts

·         Bags- the size and type obviously depends on what you’re selling

·         Business cards- I always have a few lying at the front of the stall.  People may not buy from you then, but give them the opportunity to come back to you particularly if you sell online. I always look at fairs as a marketing opportunity. I think it is really important to remember that customers put a lot of trust in you if you are making your own products and a fair is the chance to see the quality of your work and to see YOU (it’s important to remember you are an important part of your product- so it’s worth remembering to pack a smile on fair days)

·         Cellotape/ sticky tape

·         String

·         Safety pins

·         Table covering- some fair organisers insist you have something that covers the stall to the floor on three sides of the table just to hide the stuff you’ve hidden underneath it.  It does in fact make the stall look tidier and more professional.

·         Float- cash for change. I find the amount you need depends on the size of the event and it is always as well to be prepared- it is frustrating to lose a sale because you haven’t enough change.

·         Copy of your public liability insurance- the fair organiser may ask to see it.

If you’re at a fair in a tent, in a field, it is useful to have tarpaulin to put under the stall to protect your stock and your feet.  Another tarpaulin is useful to cover your stall if you leave it set up overnight, particularly if you’re in a tent- they are not always water tight and even if it doesn’t rain they can get damp overnight just with condensation or dew.

I always try to keep extra warm clothes, waterproofs and wellies in the car- I’ve just been reminded of this as I listen to the rain coming down in stair rods outside.

I find that the clear heavy duty plastic boxes or crates are the best things for transporting stock and storing it under the stall. They stack more easily, they are great for protecting your stock and the clear boxes make it is easier to see what’s in them when you’re looking for something.

Things to consider taking:-

·         Clothes pegs/ pins

·         Screwdriver- OK possible over the top but worth considering. I have a clothes stand that needs to be assembled for the stall so a screwdriver is quite important.

·         Chair- it’s worth checking whether or not a chair is provided. Possibly more important check that a table is provided. It may be that you are renting a space and the table is not provided or is provided at extra cost. A chair you can manage without but it’s more difficult to manage without a table. Most organiser usually do make it clear what you are getting when you book a stall.

·         Drawing Pins

·         Stapler

·         Blu- Tac

The list could be much longer I suppose and obviously you need to adapt it to your own needs and requirements- it would be interesting to know what must haves other folk have on their list.

I like to take a flask of coffee, some snacks and a packed lunch- this is not to say they are always eaten but it gives you options particularly if there is a lack of, or limited, onsite catering, and (here’s the miser in me speaking) it also means that you don’t go and spend your precious take on food. There is often enough temptation to spend your money at other crafters stalls.

Now off to get organised for another event...