What You Need to Know When Selling at a Craft Fair

Insurance – As a minimum you will need Public and Product Liability as most Fairs expect sellers to have their own cover.  I found a company that was set up for market traders but is also suitable for occasional sellers at Craft Fairs.  The cost was £48 for a year with no limit on the number Fairs you attend.  See my Recommendation page for details.

Labelling – Each item must be clearly labelled with the price.  I attached hanging cardboard labels with a gold safety pin and added printed sticky labels which had the name of my business and my website address on one side and the price on the other.  I also used a couple of picture frames to show my business name and give further information on my range and prices.

Stock Condition – Carefully check each item you are planning to take.  Things can acquire bits of fluff, threads etc when in storage.  People will handle as well as look at your stock so it needs to be in tip-top condition.

Stock List – I prepared a list of the items I was taking which I ticked off when making a sale this made it easier to keep track of what I needed to remove from my online shop. 

Money – Make sure you gather plenty of change, taking account of your price structure.  I had items at £4, £7 and £9 as well as £15 and £20 so needed pound coins as well as a mixture of notes. You will also need something to keep your change in; as I did not have a cash box I used a small decorative box into which I popped in a plastic tray to keep the coins separate.  I will however invest in a cash box if this becomes a regular event.  

Display Stands – You need to consider how your items will be shown, I had a number of cushions that needed to be kept upright so rigged up stands using old cardboard boxes which I put under the tablecloths so they were not seen.  You could also use decorative boxes to hold things upright but you may need to weight them down if they are on the light side. 

Table Cover – Most fairs will supply a table (do check!) but you will need to bring something to cover it.  A single sheet will be fine if you do not have any tablecloths but do consider the colour, you need to make sure your items stand out.   Also do confirm that they will supply a chair, it’s a long day and you will need to sit down!

Location – If your fair is a regular event try and attend in advance.  Not only will you know where to go the next time but you will also see what is being sold and who attends.  This will enable you to consider if the items you are planning to take are suitable. 

Display Layout – Make sure you know the size of the table you will be given.  Then mark it out (I used masking tape on my dining room table) it will always be smaller than you imagine! Then you can then experiment with your layout, I would also strongly recommend you go away and then come back in a couple of hours with a fresh pair of eyes.  Once you are happy take a photo, print it off and take it along on the day, this will save time and mistakes.

Leaflets – I put together some simple leaflets using a word processor and some of my own photos.  As well as information on what I sold I added a section about myself and how I got started.  I also included the links to my Facebook, Twitter and Blog pages.

Publicity – Make sure you tell your family and friends and use social networking such as Facebook and Twitter to let people know when and where you will be.   Also pack your camera you will want photos to share afterwards as well as having a record of how you set things out. 

Bags - You will need something to put your sales in.  As I had cushions and small items I sourced some large brown paper carrier bags as well as some smaller striped paper bags.  I added a large sticky label to the carrier bag with my shop name, a photo and website details, which was a lot cheaper than getting someone to print them.  I also prepared some small sticky labels with my GG logo which I used to close the paper bags. 

Packing – Think about what will be the most suitable.  You don't want turn up with hundreds of carrier bags or over flowing boxes.  As I had a lot of bulky but light cushions I used large storage bags, see my Recommendation page for details.  You also need to pack logically so the things you will need first such as table coverings are easily accessible.  Also if you will be on your own make sure you can easily get everything in and out of your car.

Attending the Fair:
Directions - If you have not previously attended make sure you have clear directions, know where to park and have a contact number in case you are running late.

What to Wear – Consider the weather, my fair was on a hot day and the hall got very stuffy so make sure you will be comfortable as well as presentable!

Setting Up – If this is your first time at a particular event leave plenty of time to set up.  I had practised my layout but then ended up with more space than expected so had to have a rethink.  Once all your items are out make sure the price for each one is clearly shown and you have put out any leaflets and/or business cards.  Then take some photos!

Security – When you get there you will need to consider where you will keep your change and any other valuables such as a handbag.  I only kept a small amount of money in my cash box the rest I put in my purse which I kept with me at all times.

Facilities – If you are on your own make sure you take food and drink (including water) as you are unlikely to get the opportunity to pop out.  My fair had a small kitchen so I could make my own hot drink and take it back to my table.  So make sure you know what will be available and whether it is acceptable to eat or drink at your table.     

Keep Fresh – I took hand cleanser and wet wipes which were essential given the hot weather.  Not only did it make me feel presentable but ensured my hands were kept clean and prevented me from inadvertently marking any of my items. 

Use a Chair – It will be a long day so you will need a seat but more important I found that sitting down made me more accessible, people tended to stop and chat rather than when I was standing about and looming over them! 

Take Something to Do – Sitting like a lost soul will not do you or your customers any favours.  I took along some simple crochet which was easy to pick up and put down.  Not only did it keep me occupied at quieter moments it also encouraged people to talk to me.  So if you can bring along something to do with your hands it will be more appealing than you sat reading.   

Hope this will be of help and if any of you have any further tips then please share them!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for all this extra work. I haven't read it all, but can tell it will be helpful and I'm saving it to my file. Thanks so much.