How to survive a craft fair – A sellers guide part 2

Part 2

Following on from yesterdays post I have compiled a list of things to help you survive the big day. Again some of it is common sense that you probably know already but I hope some of it will be of use to you.

craft-fair sellers guide part 2(Photo by Mollie Makes)

The Big Day

Have you got a float? – You can almost guarantee your first customer will only have a £20 note for something that is £3 or £4. My float normally consists of one £10 note, 2 £5 notes, £10 worth of £1 coins and £10 of silver coins normally £5 of 50 pence and the rest in 20p and 10p coins. Don’t forget to take it out at the end of the day!

Bring a friend – It’s going to be a long day, and you are going to need someone there, not only to help set up, but if you need a loo break or to get a cup of coffee, its also handy if you have a sudden rush on (this is where your pricing and price list comes in handy). Of course it also gives you a chance to browse the fair yourself and check out the other lovely handmade goodies. During the quieter times you have someone there to keep you company and to help keep you smiling.

Packed lunch and flask of tea/coffee – It’s going to be a long day, and hopefully for you a busy one, which might mean you don’t have a chance to go get some lunch. I always make sure I have some snacks and a sandwich to hand and a nice flask of tea. Best to eat discreetly though you don’t want to be getting crumbs on your lovely stall.

“I could do that” – I’m afraid you will come across these people, they will pick up your beautifully made items look at the price tag and claim that they could do that. The fact that you took all the time to design the piece and the time in to make it is irrelevant to them, just smile sweetly, the reality is to every one of those customers there will be plenty who will really appreciate your creativeness and hard work..

Don’t be too disheartened if sales are slow to start with. A lot of customers will want to do a full circuit of the fair first before choosing which items they would like to buy, especially if they are Christmas shopping, you will probably find that sales will pick up around lunchtime and early afternoon. I find the last hour of the fair is always a bit slow too.

Bring some work to do while your there – One of the best thing you can do to attract customers is to do some of your craft work while your there, it will also help pass the time for you if its slow. People love to see how things are made and it may inspire them to buy. It looks better than reading a book or looking bored. Obviously if you use a sewing machine or if pottery is your trade that won’t be possible, that’s where having a friend there is a good idea to keep you company.

Don’t look boredSmile– I know this is pretty obvious but even if the day is going slow, and there are not many customers, try and keep that smile going. There is nothing worse for a customer to see is a bored looking face. It may put them off and walk straight on by. Another reason to bring a friend or do some craft work while you are there.

Put your phone on silent – Nothing worse than your phone ringing while your talking to customers, or being on the phone while customers are there. Pop your phone on silent, and when you nip out for a loo break check and return calls then.

Don’t push sales – It might be tempting to do the sales pitch, but it can be intimidating, do you like it when you go into a shop and someone starts trying to sell everything to you? Best thing to do is say hello and let them browse away, if they ask a question stand up to answer and then maybe offer some suggestions of products.

Pen and pad of paper – Always handy to have. If a customer likes something but would like it in a different colour, it’s a good idea to offer a custom order say you can do it in other colours, refer them to your website, or take down their name and address and offer to send it to them. How you deal with payment for this is entirely up to you, it may be better to take the payment there and then. I also use my pad to jot down the sales I have made, it sure makes stock taking easier when you get home, especially if you have them listed on your Etsy store for example.

Don’t forget your promotional material – Remember to put your business cards out on the table and any fliers you have, including information of any other craft events you are doing. I have also in the past put out a little bowl of wrapped sweets, great for attracting the kiddies and where there are children their parents are sure to be not far behind them.

I don’t know about you but I get quite protective over my stock and unfortunately you will get people who insist on picking up and touching everything and messing up your well thought our displays, to add insult to injury these customers rarely buy. Keep smiling. You will find throughout the day you will have to tidy up your table, these times are a good time to move things that maybe getting overlooked nearer to the front.

One of the good things about doing a craft fair is you get real feedback there and then. You get to see what customers are reaching for first and what things are just not generating interest.  You may also get some nice compliments which trust makes all the stress and hard work worth it, especially when the biggest compliment you can get is when some likes your work enough they want to buy it.

Most importantly have fun, enjoy the day. If your enjoying yourself your customers will too.

Good luck and happy selling xx

You can see part one of my sellers guide here. If you have any suggestions I have not mentioned please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments.


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