In December 2011 I booked tables at 2 local Christmas craft fairs – one at an annual primary school fair and one at an independent cafe.
I’ve worked in retail before – as a store manager for a well known high street fashion chain – but putting my own handmade creations up for sale was a new, different and scary challenge for me.
Having only sold through Etsy up until now, facing the public was quite nerve-wracking as I had to try and predict which items would sell and have enough product made in case sales went well.
My list of stock:
- Christmas cards
- Crochet corsages
- Crochet candy canes
- Crochet xmas wreath decorations
- Crochet heart hangers
There’s so much more to think about when selling in person, rather than online, as its not just about a great photo of an individual item but instead about your whole display. You’ll see from the pics that my 2 tables were different in size, although I did try to keep the product layout similar. I’d also forgotten (in my last minute panic to get things finished) to pack a tablecloth for the first fair although thankfully the table I was given wasn’t too bad and almost lent a little to the rustic/traditional feel of my items.
Sales at the first fair were steady and I was really pleased with the feedback from people about my crafts. At the second fair, my table was placed in a narrow walkway which prevented people from being able to stop and browse without being in the way of others trying to move through. The weather that evening was also horrendous, torrential rain and very strong winds, and had I not been a seller I’m not sure I’d have left the house to go anywhere – a feeling supported by many I think as overall attendance at the fair seemed slow. I did make a few sales though so although I left feeling slightly disappointed, I was still encouraged by the interest in my products and the feedback I received.
The experience certainly hasn’t put me off trying again and I’m actually already looking for Spring/Easter fairs to get involved with.
The one thing I did notice at both fairs is that very few (if any) others were selling handmade crafts. There were a few jewellery sellers but even most of those seemed to be selling mass-produced product. With the recession still hitting hard and more influence coming from TV shows, such as Kirstie’s Handmade Britain, maybe 2012 will be the year that more people get involved with making things themselves.