Handmade In Keswick at Craftfest

Friday, 6 April 2012

Preparing For A Craft Fair

Whats the best tip for preparing for a Craft Fair?

I've spent the last few days preparing for a local craft fair in Keswick.  Its an Easter Fair at Keswick Museum.

I'm not exactly experienced at this kind of event, but I have done a couple now, and I've found that priorities aren't necessarily what I thought they were (that is making a TON of stuff and selling EVERYTHING).


Obviously have plenty of stock, but be prepared to take orders from people as well.  That way, it doesn't matter if you didn't bring enough stock -and it also looks like you looking like a rabbit in headlights when someone asks you to make and send them something which isn't on your stand.

If you have an online shop, you'll need to develop a system where you know what you have sold and, unless you can reproduce it, you take it off your shop.  That may be easy if the show if is in a venue where you can pick up your shop on a Smart phone and you have time to remove online items as they sell (and remove them from your stand if they sell online). 

But unless you've tested that out, you may well find it easier to close online outlets for the day and manually record sales made at the fair for updating later.


Setting up your stand may leave you a gibbering wreck, so REHERSE, REHERSE, REHERSE (after all it is showtime).  Don't leave to the last minute to work out whats going where either.  

If you know that you're the kind of person who works better under stress, then picture this scenario:

You realise you need more double sided tape the day before your show, you drive, first 3 miles, then a further 20 miles to find that you can only find tiny rolls of the stupid skinny stuff when you want big fat rolls of wide; you drive another 20 miles to the shop you know has the right stuff (sweating a bit now) only to find that they're out of stock.  You drive 43 miles home, stopping at the first shop and spending a fortune on 27 rolls of skinny tape which you are now going to spend even more HOURS applying to things you wanted done last night really.

Got palpitations yet?  Good, if you want stress, come back and read this again, and then, do yourself a favour and plan ahead.  Otherwise, you could learn the hard way, like...erm...I did.

 Think about what are you doing to bring people to your stand,  and to engage them?

Not quite got there yet

Return customers.

A craft fair is an exercise in marketing.  You may or may not sell a lot on the day, but you'll need to find a way of staying in people's minds - whether its with freebies, vouchers, collecting their contact info.


Plan layered clothing, comfortable footwear, food and drinks.

Extreme high heel ballet fetish shoes

How you feel WILL become more important than how your business is going if you get this wrong.


As well as reviewing what worked and what didn't, you'll need to update online shop (and you may find that your method for tracking sales at the fair now comes into the 'what worked, what didn't' section.

Tell everyone what a wonderful job you did, by writing press releases, social media postings etc.

And only then, can you put yourself in that bubble bath and tell yourself 'never again'.

So I suppose next time, I'll be telling you how I got on.

In the mean time, has anyone got any tips for me?

And finally...
the weather
Just a sprinkle of snow on Causey Pike
Only a few days ago, folk were slathering on the sun cream, mowing lawns, and lighting BarBQs, then we had the sideways snow, and everyone battened down the hatches. 

Mind you, whilst the rest of Northern England has had several inches of snow, Keswick has taken a turn for the better.  We did have a day of 'thin' wind, as they say in these parts (so thin it goes right through you), and the temperature has dropped considerably: -4°C Thursday morning, but the skies have cleared and we have glorious sun again.  Its just not bikini weather now.


Danni said...

Thanks for a really informative post. It's great to hear about these experiences first hand. Good luck with your next one!

lu said...

Thanks Danni. I see you're a newbie too. Perhaps we can help each other along.