I have been really busy recently redecorating the house, and have not been running stalls at Artisan or Craft Markets for over a year. The last one I did was great, and I totally sold out and also took extra orders for my paper wreaths… but WOW was I knackered at the end! Christmas is a time when people want the paper wreaths, so I need to prepare them early so I have enough, I definitely learned that last time. However, the advance orders are also good as people can choose their colours to match their Xmas decorations.
However, encouraged by good friends, I have booked myself into two local ones – one on 15th August at the Whitehall Garden Centre near Lacock, and the Early Christmas Fair on November 22nd at The Bath Artisan Market.
The items I make and sell tend to be paper-based; wreaths, and hand cut 3D framed art with a definite curve towards nature and the botanical. I am also currently experimenting with plaster and gold leaf, plus really interesting acetate layered pieces.
- Prepare everything early and make enough! I have been in situations when I sold out within hours. Great, but I could have sold double if I had more stock. However the next point below can negate this situation if it happens….
- Take Orders if the above happens! I have a book of photographs of the wreaths, so customers can see them and order them, and they can also choose their own colour schemes for the central section. The same applies to the artwork I make. People love the fact it can be customised as well and delivered by hand, and you can charge for delivery if they are delicate items by adding on a small percentage to the final cost.
- Make your stall stand out. Lovely linen tablecloths, stands if you want hang items and twinkly lights. You can re-purpose items to use for displays; battered wooden stepladders, shelving units, clothes rails, even overhead garlands look great. You need to get things at eye level if possible to get people to mooch over, rather than just all laid out on a table so people have to look and bend down.
- Clear pricing is a must. Label every item clearly, or at least have a visible price list on display. If you want to shift stock at the end of the day, prepare a discount sign in advance that you can get out such as ‘Buy 2, get 1 free’. People love a bargain!
- Make a sign or banner. You don’t have to go to a huge expense and get something printed, instead rely on your artistic know how. Here are some lovely examples of signage…
- Try not to just sit on a chair to the side all day, stand as much as you can and interact with the public. You can explain what your items are, and how you make them, plus how you can also make things to order that can suit a customer down to a tee… this is a good selling point for your products.
- Show people that you are the maker, this is the whole point of artisan fairs after all! If it is not too busy, take some samples you can work on, or have a demonstration piece to hand. For some people, crafts are a mystery, so it is nice to show them how creative your are! Take business cards and leave them out for anyone to take as well…
They are usually fun, long days, and it is really nice to see that people want to buy your creations. A large thermos of coffee or tea is a must, plus some food. If you are doing it in the winter and the event is chilly, sheepskinn boots will save your life!
This is my effort at starting the stock ready for the fairs over the past couple of days…
A lot more work to go, but I am so enjoying myself making things that I consider it a holiday!