I spent the next couple of months building up my stock and scouring the web for answers to the craft fair related question I had.
How much stock to take? How much money to have in a float? How to set out my stall? to name just a few.
I worked hard for those two months concentrating on bags and pillows in pretty (more grown up) designs as I knew the audience at the craft fair wouldn't be the Anime loving type.
I got myself a sign made to hang at the front of the stall and had business cards a plenty. Every page I read told me how important good signage and advertisement of your company was so I took that on board. I even considered getting myself a Geeky Cat T-Shirt made to wear to look even more professional but didn't actually get the time as I had a list as long as my arm of things still to do as I approached the final week before the fair.
One thing I did do that I think worked well was my price tags. I didn't want just plain white one but didn't have time to produce some like the wonderful ones I had seen whilst browsing blogs.
I decided to buy some ready made plain white tags and brand one side with the Geeky Cat text. I done it by printing out the text onto labels, you know the type that are meant for sticking to envelopes or parcels, and cutting them down to size and sticking them to one side of the tag and then writing the price on the other side.
So with price tags and advertisement sorted, short of me wearing a mascot style suit of Geeky Cat, I moved on to the stall layout.
I am grateful my boyfriends house has a fairly large kitchen where I could set up the pasting table I had purchased to act as a temporary stall. Unfortunately he came home half way through me sorting the layout to find the kitchen looking like this.
So the morning of the craft fair came and me and my boyfriend packed up the car and headed off to the craft fair in good spirits. It was a nice sunny Saturday and I was looking forward to seeing how my items measured up to the other stall holders.
We arrived and set up the stall complete with sign and sat back to await the customers unfortunately it was not the roaring success I had hoped for...
In a 6 hour day we had about 100 customers through the door and the majority of those were friends and family of other stall holders. There was an hour patch where there were no customers at all however I have learnt a few lessons from this fair.
- Location is important: I choose a nearby town thinking it would be busy on a Saturday and people would wander in whilst doing there usual shopping. This didn't seem to be the case as the town I choose wasn't overly big and so not as busy also the venue itself was only small there was about 15 stalls I had assumed there would be a fair few more. Perhaps a dedicated craft show that people have to pay entry for would bring more customers. Lesson: Choose a bigger town/venue or a dedicated craft show where people are there because they want to be there.
- Don't get disheartened by lack of sales: Even though everyone at the craft fair was suffering from lack of sales its hard not to think "whats wrong with my items". I came out of the fair and said to my boyfriend "well that was disappointing" and felt quite disheartened for a few days after. Lesson: Use a lack of sales to fine tune your products, see where you can improve your item quality and make sure your selling things appropriate for the audience.
- Make friends with the stall holder next to you: On the stall net to me I had a lady called Vicky she also made pillows but hers where screen printed and a lot simpler in design but really nice. During the quiet moments in the show we chatted about all sorts of things and took each others business cards. Then a few days later she emailed me about a craft fair she is organising and wanted to know if I'd be interested in having a stall. Lesson: Get to know other crafters, they are the best way to get into more shows and you also build up a support network of like minded people. Most will be happy to let you in on a few tricks of the trade, like there technique for screen printing or where they got there business cards from. Remember if you don't ask you don't get.
So that was my first experience of a craft fair. It may not have gone as well as I had hoped but I haven't been put off as I have another booked for this coming weekend. I wonder if there's time to get that Geeky Cat T-Shirt made...