Sunday, 10 July 2016

Tips for craft stall first timers!

So the past few weeks have been busy, not only with the end of school fundraisers (and the long list of days where the kids need to bring in bottles/raffle tickets/chocolates and tombola gifts...) but also because the end of the school year has been busy with teacher notebook orders, and I took a first step. After a year and a half of trading online, I finally did a stall (in fact two)!

So obviously I am a complete newbie at this type of selling, and with some social anxiety chucked in the mix it was always too much for me to contemplate. But I thought long and hard, and this was the next step I needed to take! I chickened out of proper craft fairs but went along to a local school fete and Sam's preschool fete, I mean I couldn't chuck myself into the deep end first time could I!?

I had quite a lot of stock made up already (internet selling is also proving more difficult than I thought it would...) and I made up a fair amount of smaller and cheaper items up for the summer stalls. 

Thankfully both my venues I knew I was inside, and with them being school fetes the tables were cheap at £10-15, so were good for a taster to starting out. 

My top newbie tips!

Before you get there

1. Target Audience
Find out who your target market will be at your event, these were at schools, so I did some lower priced items (hair clips, bookmarks, piggy wallets etc) alongside my more expensive frames and hoops). 

2. Stock
Make up enough stock, although you don't want to be overloading your table, you want there to be enough to show, excess stock can be kept hidden under the table if need be and restock should things sell.

3. Practise setting up
I don't know about you, but sometimes I can't visualise something until I am actually physically doing it, I did a mock set up which helped me see what I needed to do, what was missing, and any changes I needed. I also took a photo to help me for future reference.

4. Insurance
You should have it already, and all venues should ask for it, but if you haven't set it up now, it isn't worth the risk these days!

5. Storage
I got myself two plastic tubs as well as the crates I was using for displays to store my makes in, makes for easier travel.

6. Money
James bought me a reduced lockable cash tin/organiser in Makro, and although it's massive, it is practical. Take note of how much money you have before you head off, and make sure you have plenty of change too.

7. Card reader
This is up to you, and depends on the price of your items also, I took my iZettle along with me, sadly no one bought an expensive item at my stall, but I do know of other crafters who love them at proper craft events.

8. Remember a snack and a drink and comfy shoes if it's a long event

Once you are there

1. Time
Leave with plenty of time, I always get into a bit of a flap if I'm running behind. Most places leave you an hour to set up-it's amazing how fast this hour goes by!!

2. Set up
Deep, breath, work out your surroundings and table space (varies if you don't have your own to bring) and work out how best to set up your makes.

3. Smile
Once set up smile and look approachable. This is probably the bit I struggle most with if I am honest, I'm not rude just very shy and self conscious

4. Hand out cards and leaflets
Even if people aren't buying try and engage and hand over business cards if you can, with any purchase I made I tried to remember to add something with my details on it also. Here's a leaflet I made up

Tips and things to remember

A flat sheet is great as a table cloth.

There are many places online to get business stationary. Mine were done through Essah Aitch and I have been so pleased with my stickers, cards, tags and notes, nice to know you are helping another small business too. If you don't have money make your own leaflets on word or pic monkey.

Use shelving, crates, and boxes to add height to your table (this is one thing I need to work on in the future).

Buy a frame and print off your logo and basic info to put in it to show it all off.

If you can, get some one to help you, a). to keep you company and b). give you a helping hand if you need

Try not to get too disheartened if you don't sell much, I have learnt that school fetes people don't really spend much, but again they are a fairly cheap way to be seen too, it just depends where you are positioned too I guess.
In terms of my events, the first was in a primary school and it was very busy, I had some lvoely comments about my work, but I only sold £29 worth of stuff (table was £15) if you exclude the £30 frame someone had pre-ordered off me that is. I thought the hair clips would have sold like hot cakes but sadly not!

The second was my son's preschool, much smaller footfall, £10 table and I sold £11.50, so not the greatest success, but in all honestly I didn't expect to do well there. I was a bit miffed as I had to turn down a day trip with James and the rest of his family to the Isle of Wight for it but ah well. You live and learn.

Hope these tips are of some help to someone :)

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