Craft Fair Secrets…

Many sellers arrive at Folksy having already been succesful at craft fairs. Between craft shows and events they are looking for a place to display and sell their stock of items, or just show off a small selection of their handmade designs. In addition to these experienced craft sellers, an increasing number of talented people are turning to thriving online marketplaces like Folksy as a great starting point to offer their handmade crafts and designs. The confidence gained and excitement of selling online may turn something that started as a hobby, into a successful micro business!

Often the reason people begin to sell their goods online is that their friends and family have said to them “You should sell those, they’re amazing” after receiving a gorgeous handmade gift. The reality of producing enough stock for a fair right away could be quite daunting, especially if you have been making items on a one off basis up until now. Joining an online marketplace like Folksy and spending a few months of focussing your efforts, and hopefully making a few online sales can really get you motivated and prepared for your first fair. You will no doubt find yourself with a growing amount of stock and designs, and a desire to get out there and start selling face to face! The feeling of making your first sale at a craft show, carefully wrapping the sold item and handing someone their change at a fair is hard to top for a crafter – I’m smiling just thinking about it!

Frillybee

Many of the sellers on Folksy would not have dreamed of displaying a table of their beautiful handmade products had they not caught the bug from selling here on Folksy! But what exactly do you need to know before you embark on selling at craft fairs?

I asked Chris and Satoko from Satoko’s Origami Jewellery how they felt about their first fair -

“We felt a strong sense of anticipation concerning our first fair, only to be bitterly disappointed at the number of customers that actually turned up. It was a similar story at our second fair as again almost no customers showed up. It was only at our third fair, which was well established in a popular tourist area, that we had any real success and this gave us the confidence to look for similar fairs.”

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Wouldn’t it be good to know how to avoid fairs that are overpriced, badly advertised or not right for your products before you waste your time and money! Chris and Satoko are now being much more selective with the fairs they attend, although they say they still enjoy trying new fairs.

We have put together a list of concerns and questions that sellers may face when they first decide they want to take the next step with their crafting and start to sell at shows, or just need some tips to boost their confidence at fairs. Over the next few weeks we’ll be looking at these questions in depth to provide you with a plethora (yes really!) of information and advice on what to expect from selling at craft fairs – it certainly can’t all be covered in just one post!

We’d love you to help out,  by getting in touch and letting us know all about your experiences so that throughout this craft fair tips series we can share your insights here with the Folksy community.   Just  email me – hilary@folksy.co.uk and I’ll be in touch!

Was your first fair as bad as you first thought or did you sell out because you didn’t make enough stock!? Did you meet some great new friends and become part of a network of sellers or did you find it cliquey and intimidating? Do you now run your own fairs and have some killer tips for all the newbies reading this series of posts? Maybe you have a picture of your first stall and can tell us how you’ve improved it over time – or perhaps you came to this article to find out a the answer to a specific craft show query and would like to have it added to the list of future articles.

lolas room print

We’ll add links to your shops and blogs if we publish any of your words and images in future articles, on this series or any other future topics.

The images of handmade items in this post are taken from items for sale at www.folksy.com please click images for more details.  If you would like to submit ideas for future articles please get in touch via email – hilary@folksy.co.uk

26 Comments

  • Reply May 25, 2010

    Ellie

    Thanks for the great tips! I’m thinking about selling at craft fairs so you’ve given me a lot to think about.

  • Reply May 25, 2010

    Lizzie

    I have been to a few good craft fairs, but also ones that have been overpriced and no customers,

    I would like more tips

    Lizzie

  • Reply May 25, 2010

    Victoria

    I look forward to reading other articles in this series. I’ve never done a craft fair before, doing one this summer and I feel like I could do with a few tips!

  • Reply May 25, 2010

    Hilary

    Great! Glad you are all so keen :)

  • I love reading your articles Hilary! I look forward to seeing how you cover the answers to those questions :)

  • Reply May 25, 2010

    AlamsTrading

    Thanks for your article. I am looking to join some craft fairs. Plz visit my facebook profile http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/profile.php?id=100000963835593
    and plz plz suggest your idea how can I sell some of my handmade needlepoint quilts.

  • Reply May 25, 2010

    Fiona

    I’ve done lots of craft fairs over the years and have had hugely mixed results. Interestingly I just posted my most recent experience at a fair on my blog. I’m going to give the link as I think it may be some help but I hope you don’t think I ‘m doing blatant advertising.
    http://fionastolze.wordpress.com/2010/05/22/going-to-the-art-fairs/
    I’m willing to share on the topics you have mentioned as there is so much that can be learned and passed around.
    Cheers
    Fiona

  • Reply May 25, 2010

    Sue - Blue Box Studio

    I’ve been doing fairs since 1993 and there are still days when I think I should have learned my lesson by now! Actually I love them, great chance to meet people and judge opinions of your work. Look forward to reading more posts and happy to help with tips if you want/need Hilary.

  • Reply May 25, 2010

    Jess

    This would be a hugely helpful topic! I’ve done a few craft fairs in the past, nothing on a grand scale, but still with very mixed results. I’m looking to get back into the swing of things after a maternity break, that’s why I opened my Folksy shop.
    Great subject!
    Thanks
    Jess :)

  • Reply May 25, 2010

    Lynda Norton

    Will be following this one with interest, not done an actual craft fair but did one stall at a dog show and another one coming up on Monday as my crafts are many with dog themes.

    One of the things I struggle with is ‘what to say’ you dont want to stand and say nothing, but dont want to appear to pushy either, be interested in replies to that one.

    Lynda

  • Reply May 25, 2010

    MissFrekkles

    Fantastic and useful article.
    I’ve never done a craft fair but have thought about it so I’m looking forward to more articles. I’m completely daunted by the idea of doing one.

  • Reply May 25, 2010

    Shaz from OddSox

    Ooh, I’m looking forward to these posts. I’ve only done 3 and have been very lucky with good sales. I’m especially interested in the ‘how do I find…’ I have a post on my blog about a 2day fair I did in March which could be quite interesting for anyone organising events as they had a couple of really good ideas http://thesockgarden.wordpress.com/2010/04/06/fair-enough/
    Great topic Hilary – thanks! Shaz

  • Reply May 25, 2010

    cherry tree

    Really looking forward to reading this – I haven’t done a craft for a while and had the sad experience of there being more stall holders than customers!

  • Lynda, I always just say ‘Morning’ or ‘hello’ if someone catches my eye. otherwise I just let people get on with it. I hate it when I get within feet of a stall or shop and get pounced upon by the seller.

    This looks like it will be a really useful resouce, there’s been lots of talk abou fairs on the Folksy forums lately so it’s obviously a hot topic!

  • I’m really looking forward to reading and contributing to this blog series. I’ve been a craft market seller since 2005 and an organiser for over 2 years. I’ve only had a couple of miserable experiences out of a list of many fabulous ones. As an organiser of fairly large events, I hope I can help bring a bit of perspective from ‘the other side’ too. The success of a craft event relies on the whole-hearted input from organiser AND vendor. I’ll chip in where I can with hints and tips. Great that this series looks like it will go beyond the usual, “Bring cellotape and scissors” hints and tips lists :) Can’t wait for more!

  • Ooh good post I will be keeping an eye out for future ones on this subject. I have done about 6 now so am still on a learning curve. Luckily only one out of those was bad, really bad! However, I took it as a learning opportunity for what to avoid in the future and as a chance to pick the brains of the stall holders who were more experienced.

  • Ohoo my favourite things are craft/school fairs. I am much more a face to face seller, and thus far have had really good events, lots of lovely sales, super networking opportunities and many orders so for me have been really succesful. I am now inspired to open up my own shop, lots to think about but the seed has been planted. I would love to help out with any craft fair research. x

  • Reply May 27, 2010

    Lauren Ceramics

    Looking forward to reading more. I love a good craft fair, it’s a great chance to meet other makers and buyer who appreciate your work. I did my first fair 6 years ago and sold almost everything. I had lots of stock but as i new people hadn’t seen my work before and were very keen. It’s important to make new work if you’re doing the same fairs every year as many fairs have a loyal fan base. Two years ago i started organising my own xmas fair so i could guarntee that the quality of craft would be what i expected and similar to my own work. It’s now a succesful show taking place for the third year this year. Good luck to everyone donig their first craft fair.

  • Reply May 27, 2010

    Deb

    This is brilliant – I just did my first ever craft fair last weekend, and although it was really quiet and I didn’t sell anything, it was still a positive experience. Really looking forward to the rest of your posts on this subject!

  • [...] article is one of a series of articles from Folksy featuring tips and advice on how to sell at craft fairs – the images used are taken from items for sale at [...]

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  • [...] comment below. This article is one of a series of articles from Folksy featuring tips and advice on how to sell at craft fairs – the images used are taken from items for sale at http://www.folksy.com Click images for more [...]

  • [...] for us below! This article is one of a series of articles from Folksy featuring tips and advice on how to sell at craft fairs – the images used are taken from items for sale at http://www.folksy.com Click images for more [...]

  • [...] far in this series of craft fair tips we have discussed how much to pay for a craft market, the worry of not selling anything and [...]

  • Reply October 15, 2010

    Eddie

    Going to my first ever craft fair to sell tomorrow. I have never been so nervous in my life. I have been through a lot of exams in ,y life and have always done well and never been this nervous. This is like an exam where even if I get it right (although I don’t know what exactly is right!) the examiner may just not be in the mood that day.
    I’m a person who like to feel in control of what I do and this is an area where I am really not in control. The next couple of days will be an emotional roller coaster.
    But I have read the posts here and found them really helpful. Thanks!

  • Reply October 15, 2010

    Hilary

    Good luck – let us know how you get on Eddie :)

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