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Craft Fair Review: Outlaw Craft Fair

by Camilla

Craft Fair: Outlaw Craft Fair
Reviewed by: Melanie Chadwick from Folksy shop Mellybee
Dates: Saturday 14th September 2013, 10-5pm
Venue: St. John’s Hall, Penzance, Cornwall
What was the venue like? Spacious and well used – one large hall with a stage, and one room just off the hall with a pop-up supply shop, workshop space and café
Cost of stand: £30
Entrance: £1.50; £5 for specific workshops that ran during the day
Crowd: Women of all ages and families with a spattering of gentlemen
Footfall: Busy from the onset with a slight drop-off after lunch
Organisation: An incredible amount of organisation went into the entire event and it showed on the day
Sales: Really good – unexpected for the time of year and area
Would you do it again? Yes definitely!

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I was contacted by the Outlaw team back in May to see if I would be interested in applying for a stall, and from there you could tell this wasn’t going to be your average craft fair experience: a funky logo, an appealing website, an online presence via Facebook and Twitter – yep they were planning something big!

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Here’s a list of what was on offer for the day:

  • 40 designer-maker stalls (chosen through an application process – meaning the organisers could curate and promote confidently what and who would be turning up)
  • live demos on the demo table that rotated during the day, run by designer-makers
  • demos that happened on the stalls as designer-makers sold their work
  • pre-bookable workshops for £5, covering a range of crafty projects
  • a dedicated kids craft area – the Crafty Kids Treehouse – where they could make five different outlaw kits
  • a pop-up deli with amazing cakes, drinks and a wide selection of savoury goods
  • a pop-up supply shop, so folk could buy useful bits and bobs to create their own projects
  • live music from local acoustic guitar player and singer Nick Mears
  • a warm, inviting, open, learning atmosphere

So basically you could turn up in the morning and not need to leave the place till close – in fact that’s what I heard a couple of ladies did!

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Plus here were the perks for having a stall:

  • free tea and coffee – all day! (just had to bring your own mug)
  • easy access to unload and pack up
  • very close parking and only £1.90 for the whole day
  • an opportunity to demonstrate your makes and offer workshops if you wanted
  • online inclusion and a link on the Outlaw craft fair website
  • promotion through the Outlaw craft fair Facebook pages
  • two free tickets for the fair
  • an opportunity to meet other talented designer-makers
  • an opportunity to feedback to the organisers at the end of the event

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In the lead up to the fair the organisers were certainly active in marketing the fair with frequent Facebook posts of makers’ work, behind-the-scene images of Outlaw HQ, a competition to win a VIP goody bag, as well as traditional advertising in local papers, sending out postcard packs to all involved and clear signage on the day. A good incentive was offering the first 20 customers through the doors an Outlaw Craft Fair gift bag filled with all sorts of crafty goodies.

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Having been to Renegade Craft Fair in London in 2012 (which funnily enough ran a year to the day of Outlaw Craft Fair) I’d have to say it compared favourably, perhaps even pipping it with the convenience of the pop-up café and great array of workshops and demos.

MystallMy Mellybee stall at the Outlaw Craft Fair

The atmosphere was certainly one of relaxed learning and excitement – visitors wanted to discover new craft and design, which had the knock-on effect of direct sales for stall-holders. Since the fair, I’ve also had a number of wholesale enquiries from stockists who came to the fair seeking new products. The Outlaw team’s attention to detail and professionalism really showed on the day and, for a first-time event, they pulled it out of the bag!

Outlaw has established itself as a trusted provider of a well-run craft fair and I’m hoping they continue – they’ve got the makings of a great business, supporting and bringing Cornish designer-makers to the wider craft scene and general public, as well as encouraging and inspiring more folk to get crafty. So, for now, watch this space!

Melanie sells on Folksy as Mellybee
If you would like to review an event or craft show, email us at community@folksy.co.uk

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