|Knitting and Stitching Show, 2010 (not my first!).|
♥ An internet presence
If you don't have some sort of internet presence in advance of the fair you'll really regret it. Shoppers are very savvy and although there's a great impulse buying aspect to short events, some people will go away and want to buy later. There's lots of cheap ways to get a presence online, using a platform like Etsy or Folksy your customers can buy later too without the massive price tag of having a website designed.
Water, water, water!! If you're anything like me you'll be chatting away all day, if not to customers then to other traders. You'll have a mouth as dry as a camel's flip flop in no time. I also like to take a flask of tea because I love it, and at many events even with a traders discount you can end up paying ££ for just hot drinks!
Treats and nibbles are also good, as you won't want to leave your stall to go find food once you're on a roll and you will need to eat to keep your energy up!
♥ A notepad
Make a note of all your sales. The boring bit: you should do to make sure that you're declaring your takings to the tax man. Less boring bit: It is interesting to see what sells well, at what time of year, at what sorts of events, etc. Fun bit: people love to give you tips! I have found out about the best stockists from customers telling me my work would suit particular shops I would never know about - make sure you make a note!
♥ Plenty of stock
This is the trickiest thing when first starting out. How much is enough? How much is too much? You need enough to fill your table - using various props to make it visually interesting. I've seen people go for a minimalist look when it comes to their work and it really doesn't work. It's an event for buying and selling, to an exhibition for looking and thinking. And if you walked into a shop on the high street that was half full you'd wonder what was going on. Don't make that mistake. How much surplus stock depends on how much you can transport - as long as it's not perishable, anything unsold will go to your next market!
♥ Business cards, fliers or both?
Who attends craft fairs and markets? Shoppers. Stockists. Other arty types looking to network. I started out with just business cards that had my logo and web address on, and used them for everything. The size works as they can slip into a wallet and I recommend them over something more A6 size. But if you want something to give to another maker or a stockist, maybe something with your name, number and email address would be a good idea too.
Make sure you have plenty of change and somewhere safe to keep it. I find having something to tie round my waist really convenient.
If you have ever met me at a fair you notice I always have a hoody or cardigan. You just never know if the venue is going to be freezing or red hot, so best to wear clothes you can peel off or pile on!
So there's seven of my essentials for market survival. I'd love to know how your first market went - or if you have any market essentials you can't live without.
Next week: Tips for craft fair success!
♥ Colourful ♥ Kitschy ♥ Funky ♥ Fun...
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