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The Benefits of Selling at Craft Fairs and Markets

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 16 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
The Benefits Of Selling At Craft Fairs And Markets

As the owner of a craft business, you can’t help but be aware of the plethora of craft fairs and markets that exist around the UK. Even if you already have your own online or bricks and mortar shop, selling at craft fairs and market still has its advantages.

A wide variety of craft fairs and markets take place regularly across the UK, from small local events, to regularly monthly and regional fairs, to huge annual national events aimed at consumer craft buyers. They’re attended by a wide range of craft sellers, from those who don’t own their own shop and purely use craft fairs and markets as their primary selling tool, to larger craft shops, stores and businesses who take advantage of the opportunity of reaching a wider range of customers.

For the latter group, who use craft fairs and markets to target an increased variety of customers, there are many benefits of having a stand or stall at such an event. The obvious benefit is attracting more customers as, depending on the venue, location and aim of the fair or market, there may be a vast amount of customers passing your stand each day.

It also offers a chance to advertise any additional services you offer too. Craft fairs and markets are a good opportunity to be able to demonstrate crafts to the public, whether it’s making unique products or teaching how you can use raw crafts materials for your own craft creations. When members of the public see that you’re actively demonstrating or teaching new techniques, they’re likely to be interested and could then pick up any information you have at hand regarding craft classes, tuition or courses you run.

Plus, it adds an extra element of interest to a stand to have someone there making crafts all day – you can bet that they’ll regularly be a crowd around the stand at a fair or market that does this. People like the chance to stop and watch crafts being produced and ask how you’re doing things.

Regular Versus Occasional Craft Fairs and Markets

There are benefits of attending both regular craft fairs and markets and events that are held only occasionally. If you decide to have a stand or stall at a regular event, then you may well find that you build up a regular base of customers who know where they’ll find you each month and come back for additional customers. This can be really useful for those that aren’t able to reach your bricks and mortar shop, or if you want to target areas slightly out of your normal reach.

With national and occasional events, you’re likely to target a different type of customer – often the diehard crafter who saves up to go to special events and enjoys splashing out on new products. If you have an online or mail order part of your company, then you can benefit from promoting this side of your business at such events, as well as any special courses or demonstrations you run.

If you specialise in any particular brands of craft products, or unique handmade items that are hard to find anywhere else, then there are obvious benefits of reaching more customers by going out and about to fairs and markets.

The cost of having a stall and stand vary considerably. For smaller, local markets and fairs, you can expect to spend upwards of £10 per day, but the larger national events charge a lot more for the privilege of exhibiting. You’ll have to weigh up the pros and cons of which type of market or fair you’d like to go along to and consider whether it’s likely to be worth it for you. If you’ve got to travel a long way to get there and pay a big fee to exhibit, then perhaps it’s best as an occasional event, rather than a regular.

Getting the Best from Your Craft Fair or Market Experience

Attending a craft fair or market for the first time as an exhibitor can be a bit of a shock to the system, so here are some tips on getting the best out of the experience.

  • Double-check the size of your table or stand in advance, so you know exactly how much space you have available.
  • Double-check whether or not chairs are provided. If not, take some fold-up chairs with you, as you may be very glad of an occasional sit down.
  • Make sure you know when the exhibiting fee has to be paid and pay it in time.
  • Take flasks of warm drinks and bottles of cool drinks with you, plus food for snacks.
  • Don’t forget to take a float of money with you.
  • Use moneybags that secure to your body, such as around your waist, so the takings are secure at all times.
  • If the event is outside, or may be draughty, wear layers of clothing.
  • Double-check what time you can arrive to set up.
  • Be friendly to other stall-holders – their help may be invaluable when you need a toilet break.

Having a stand or stall at a craft fair or market can be a lot of fun, and you get to meet lots of other interesting crafts business people, so make the most of it and don’t forget to fit in some networking time too!

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