So, it is that time of year when every crafter and maker start to get excited about craft fayres. They have fingers and toes crossed and live in hope, that this time, three cherries line up and the jackpot is struck.
What I have come to realise over the years is this, we as crafters and makers love to craft and make. The majority of us generally don't like asking for money for our products. We certainly don't cost the multitude of time we spend making our products, as to us, we love doing what we do.
Therefore what we are not is born sales people. With that in mind, that archetypal craft fayre is the panacea to multiple sales for us. We live in the dream of mass profits and early retirement. The problem is, when you get a bad one and struggle to make your pitch fee, let alone travel expenses, it can be soul destroying.
I therefore thought it would be useful to draw on my experience and put a few pointers down that will hopefully help people.
For the sake of parity, lets call them craft fayres, but in reality they can be farmers makets, charity events, school gala's, sporting open days, networking events or pop up shops, I think you are getting the general idea.
They can be product specific, the "Cycle show" as an example or you can be playing a supporting role to the main event.
Here are several pointers for you I have picked up over the years.
This is just like traffic to your website. A fact that has been proven to me is the Pareto 80/20 rule. The notion that 80% of sales come from 20% of clients. A slight variation, but I find that of the footfall, I might get 20% that are interested in my stall. So if you have 2000 visitors to a craft fayre, 400 are likely to look at your stall. But remember, not everyone will purchase from you straight away.
The converse of that of course, is if the footfall is 200 you only see 40 people. And, as happened to me last year, one craft fayre only had 2 visitors in total. I know that sounds ridiculous but it is true.
2. Support or specific.
Is the fayre totally aimed at your market or are you the support act for something else. This has a massive impact on footfall. If your punters are here for the lastest Bruce Springsteen tribute act, then not many, unless you sell BS merchandise, will be interested in your wares.
Check out who is organising your craft fayre. Is this a regular well attended event? What experience have they had? is this a new event?. Remember, footfall is the lifte blood.
Have the organisers promoted the event and if so where have they promoted it and is it reaching the right people?
Are they pushing it on social media? if so what has the response been to that? Are there many comments and shares or retweets?
Can you support it yourself by pushing this out to your customers on your social links? Some organisers don't like you doing this, so it is important to check.
5. Table layout.
Very important, you normally have a 6ft by 3ft table. This sounds a lot, but how big is your merchandise? Very quickly you can run out of space, with lots of your goodies getting lost and hidden. The trend here is to go vertical. Utilise your space by building tower blocks of shelving on your table. This sounds daft, but I have seen some very effective and sales promoting vertical displays.
6. Point of Sale
Your kids love the crème egg stand at the Asda check out. Your kids see it, they pester, you buy. This is point of sale merchandising. Taking advantage of impulse purchases is very important and supermarkets and retail stores are brilliant at it. There is a reason why Sports Direct put those footballs outside the front door. Think about your layout and how you can attract and tempt your customers to purchase those products. Design some qualtity POS merchandising and incorporate any branding you have.
7. Used car sales people
You have done all your prep and are on site and ready to sell, sell, sell. But, no one likes a pushy sales person and definetly one that comes across as being desperate. Let the prospective customer take a good look at your goods. If they want to know anything, they will ask you. Have plenty of business cards and leaflets. If they have shown interest but not purchased, make sure they take a card or leaflet. Usually you pointing to a website helps to get them engaged and they may ask questions at that point.
Be friendly, but don't drone on forever about you or your products.
Lots of buyers like to look around first and spend time at craft shows. They tend to make a day of it. If they are interested in your goods, they will be back.
8. Sales or promotion
Sometimes it may be helpful to see this as a promotional event and not the end of the world if you don't make a few quid. As long as you cover your costs, make a few bob for a well earned glass of wine and you got your name out into the big wide world, you are winning.
9. Buy a sack barrow to make it easy to transport your goods. They are cheap enough, I got mine from IKEA and you will be tired after a long day and your back will thank you.
10. Conserve on your costs, it is easier to take a packed lunch and a flask than to purchase food while you are there, which can soon add up.
11. Have a look around and make friends with other stall holders, remember you are all in it together. Find out all you can, tips, tricks and information on good fayres from other crafters.
I hope you found that little lot helpful. Put any comments you may want to add in the box below, or message me direct.
Remember we are community and need to help each other.
Until next time, enjoy the spring and Happy Easter.