Monday, 7 April 2014

fizzi~jayne's top tips ~ selling at craft fairs....

With my first craft fair of 2014 coming up this Saturday, I have been reflecting on what I have learnt from the fairs I have I attended so far.  I really enjoy selling at craft fairs, I think it is my retail background and the chance to set up shop plus they are also great for:
  • meeting fellow crafters
  • networking with locals
  • making sales
  • customers get to meet the name behind the brand
  • promoting your brand
With my retail background, my own experiences and with a little help from my twitter pals, I have put together some top tips for selling at craft fairs (be warned! I have lots of useful info so make sure you have a cuppa ready)....

Before Booking a Craft Fair....
Ask questions and do your research. By finding out about the event you can find out if it is the right craft fair for you....
  • What type of fair is it?  How big or small is it? 
  • What advertising do they have? A good organised event will have advertising and promotion, so find out what they have organised. 
  • What other stalls will they have? The best ones I have been to have a good mix of stalls, although a bit of competition is healthy you don't want to find out that every other table is selling the same as you.  A variety of stalls also attracts more footfall.
If the website or information provided doesn't answer all your queries, then ask, the organiser should be happy to help.

Other things to consider....
  • Cost is obviously a big factor as you need to be able to cover your costs with the potential sales
  • Do they provide a table? You may have to request and pay more to have a table provided
  • What insurance do they require? I would always recommend insurance and it is often a requirement.
  • Is it indoors or outdoors? The British weather cannot be guaranteed! My first was outdoors and it was sooo windy! I had to use paperweights to hold my cards down, so my display did not look how I wanted it to.  Plus I found out how bad my hayfever could get after spending a whole day in a field with fresh cut grass ~ I didn't look pretty! From now on I will only do indoor events.

 Made by Mrs M has a great list, her post is worthwhile checking out.

Bear all this in mind but my view is just to do it and try different venues and different sized events, you don't know until you try.  When you start out it's about experimenting, finding which ones work for you and just giving them a go. 

On the day....
  • Leave plenty of time to set up.  Make sure you know where to park and what time you can set up from.
  • Don't forget your business cards! Leave them on the table and anywhere in the venue so customers can easily pick them up.
  • Take table cloths to cover the table and make sure it is long enough to cover the boxes hidden under the table. 
  • Take lots of change! Customers won't always have the correct money and there may not be an open bank near by.
Again Made by Mrs M has a comprehensive list so I recommend reading her tips.  She even thinks about taking water and snacks, good idea! But before you do I have more tips....
  • Use the opportunity to chat with customers, find out what they are looking for and what puts them off. 
@loveAmybecca finds it's a fine line between engaging with customers and being too full on.  I know the feeling! The mistake I made on my first couple of fairs was being too shy, and for those who know me, yes it's true! I need to let my bubbly, chatty personality shine. Most people are friendly that come to these events so smile, say hello, a quick introduction about what you do and any promotions you may be running.  Then gauge if they are a chatty person to decide whether to continue talking.  It is not easy to sell yourself but be proud of what you have created, this is your hard work and your talent!
  • Do not sit and hide behind your table, stand up and talk to your customer. @maxfieldmaddid takes a tall chair, so you don't have to stand to talk to each customer and you're at their eye level.
  • Practice arranging your display beforehand to make sure you get the look you want and it takes the pressure off the day when setting up.
@jewelsofSayuri sells jewellery and offered this advice....
  • Use sturdy multilevel displays ~ which can be used for any product type as it makes your stall visually interesting
  • Customise your space by adding colour
  • Mirror ~ a must have if your customer wants to try your products on
  • Use checkout trays ~ Ideal if you sell lots of small things and encourages the customer to multi buy.
  • Use it to test new products, see people's reaction to them and ask for feedback.  Craft fairs are a great place to do research.
  • You can never have too much stock, you can always keep products back for when space is created on the table from all your sales.
  • Lots of people worry about the minimum amount of stock to take.  My advice is to make sure you have enough to fill your table and enough that you would make a profit from the day. Don't worry about selling out or running low of stock by the end of the day, surely that is a good thing!
  • Think about your pricing.  Do you have varied price points?  I would advise putting some of your cheaper items towards the front of your table, having high value items may scare customers off thinking they can't afford your products.
  • Make pricing visible, not everyone likes to ask and it may put people off.
  • Have a craft fair special promotion to attract shoppers.  By having a special promotion that customers cannot get at a later date encourages them to buy.
  • Offer a discount for future purchases.  I usually have a flyer offering a discount especially for visitors to the craft fair to use in my online shops.  By using a coupon code I can track how many shoppers have seen my stall and have shopped with me at a later date.  Success may not be on the day but maybe with the after sales.
  • @membymargot likes to get emails and follow up with a discount code for her online store. 
  • If you have a newsletter it is also a good opportunity to ask if people would like to sign up for it.
More tips....
  • Network with other crafters.  It's good to share experiences and general chat with like minded people.  By doing this I have been recommended other craft fairs in my local area.
  • Also have something to do whilst you are there. It passes the time during quiet patches but will engage a conversation with potential customers if they see you making what you sell. Don't get too engrossed so you don't see your customers!
Most importantly, Have fun and smile!

After the event....
  • Congratulate yourself! You have worked hard and deserve that celebratory glass of wine
  • Follow up on any enquiries you may have received on the day and if you have a list of email addresses contact them asap before they forget who you are.
  • Persevere! Practise makes perfect. I wasn't happy with my first 2 stalls but as I learnt what worked and what didn't, my stall appearance improved and my sales increased. 

I am sure this year of craft fairs will have its highs and lows but what is important is I am spreading the word of fizzi~jayne makes.... I'm learning all the time whilst reaching new customers and hopefully making sales along the way.

I hope this has been useful and if you have not booked a craft fair yet, I hope you feel inspired to book your first one. 

Have you been selling at craft fairs, what tips would you like to share?

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