Since launching my business in March 2019, selling at Craft Fairs has been a big part of Mwydro (formerly Cardiau Mwydro). It gives me a chance to come out from my crafting corner in the living room and engage with potential customers and the crafting community, sharing my handmade cards with a wider audience.
Balancing my business with a full time job, I enjoy the flexibility of Craft Fairs and how I can choose them to suit my schedule. The social aspect of it is also a great confidence booster in communicating your business and products to potential customers.
I have learnt many lessons along the way, and as still somewhat of a beginner, I accept I am still learning now. However, from my first year of craft fairs here are some of my top tips
1. Check the details before you go!
Having had craft stalls in a pub, on a beach, in school halls and University receptions (just to name a few!); one of my biggest lessons learnt is to always check the details before attending a fair. This spares any complications when you arrive at the venue.
Established Craft Fairs typically have set guidelines about their rules and regulations, and will send them through to you when you make the initial request to attend a fair. However, smaller and ‘one-off’ fairs are less likely to have this in place.
Top things to check with the event organisers:
- How much does the stall cost?
- Is there a table and chair provided or do I need to bring my own?
- Do you require me to have Public Liability Insurance?
- What times should I set up and pack up?
- Is there parking at the venue?
- Are there any rules and regulations I should be aware of?
- How many other stalls will be there?
2. Add some height to your stall
This is an age-old tip, but there is no better way to draw in customers to your stall than having some height on it. For the first few months of my Craft Fair journey, I dismantled my mother’s bathroom cupboard and used that as a display. You may be competing with stalls opposite and around you for attention and a striking display that potential customers can see from some distance will help.
3. Bring a Packed Lunch
If you’re busy or quiet on your stall, a packed lunch will be to your favour. If you get a slow day, you’ll be glad the packed lunch spares you having to spend any profit on buying your lunch from the shop. If your stall is busy, a packed lunch will stop you having to worry about finding five minutes spare to pop to the shop or finding cover for your stall.
4. Take something with you to keep you busy
The most predictable thing about Craft Fairs is their unpredictability. You can be quiet one minute and then rushing to serve three people at one time in the next. There’s no set formula or sure fire way of having a busy day, so you’ll just have to go with the flow.
‘The flow’ does however bring its steady points, and it’s in those quieter moments I like to ensure I’ve always got something to keep me busy. Running a business selling handmade cards, you can usually find me at my stall doing some calligraphy or drawing cartoon cacti or peas. If I’ve got a table and chair I know I’m able to do something and often customers can react negatively to seeing stallholders sat glued to their phones.
Having something creative to occupy yourself can also be a great boost for sales. Countless times I’ve had customers strike up conversations with me after seeing me creating some work.
5. Stay Positive
Always try and enter each fair with an open mind and a positive outlook. It’s good to be ambitious but don’t get too tied down on sale goals. A slow day in sales doesn’t necessarily mean an unsuccesful day. I’ve had days where I’ve barely broken even but a few passers by grabbing a business card will have led to numerous Custom Order sales soon afterward.
Feedback can be just as vital too. I’ve found that customers can provide great ideas for how your business could develop and diversify.
Fairs can be great to build connections with other crafters, build an idea of what interests the people you’re engaging with, and get comfortable communicating your business to the public.