10 Tips for Organising a Craft Fair

10 Tips for Organising a Craft Fair

10 Tips for Organising a Craft Fair

Last Saturday I had a stall at a local craft fair. Not any old craft fair mind you, this was important to me for two reasons. First off, it was right here, in my village – the first one we’ve ever had. Secondly, it was the first craft fair that I’ve organised myself.  It was the culmination of a couple off months of planning, and, if I’m honest, a fair bit of anxiety.  I needn’t have worried – it was a great success, so I thought I’d share with you here a few things to consider if you’d like to organise something similar yourself.

  1. Do your research regarding other markets and craft fairs in the area and make sure your event doesn’t clash with another on the same day. As well as competing for visitors, you’ll also be competing for stallholders.
  2. As soon as you’ve decided on a date, secure your venue.  You don’t want to be inviting stallholders until you’ve confirmed your accommodation for the day.
  3. Invite / organise crafters as far in advance as possible. Many crafters book themselves into markets and craft fairs many months ahead.  It’s also worth considering asking for a deposit on the cost of the table – this decreases the risk of stallholders not turning up on the day.
  4. Ensure that all your stallholders have public liability insurance.
  5. Ensure you know how many tables you can fit into the available space. You don’t want to ask 20 crafters to attend and then find when you’re setting up that you can only fit 19 tables into the room!  It’s definitely worth having a trial ‘set up’ before deciding how many crafters to invite.
  6. Don’t double up on crafts unless it’s a BIG event.  There’s nothing worse for a stallholder than setting up at a fair of, say, 12 stalls to find that there are two or three other stallholders there selling something very similar. It’s not fair on any of them.
  7. Don’t try to charge too much per stall / table, especially if it’s the first time this event has taken place. You won’t have any idea what the footfall is going to be and won’t be able to make any claims as to likely number of visitors.
  8. Advertising, advertising, advertising. You want as many people walking through the door of your venue as possible, so this is an instance where too much advertising is never enough.  Get your event all over Facebook – on your personal feed (ask friends to share), on local selling pages, and on local community sites. Put a small ad in the local newspaper, a paragraph in the parish magazine, get it listed on’What’s Happening in Your Area’ type websites. Make sure there are posters put up in the area. Don’t forget your local tourist bureau and local hotels / guest houses if you live in a popular area for visitors – local crafts are just the thing that they’ll be interested in.
  9. Have a spare cash float or two.  It’s not unheard of for stallholders to arrive at a craft fair without their cash box.  Not me of course, oh no… well, only that once a few months ago 😀 and I was both grateful and impressed that the organisers had thought to bring along a couple of ‘spare’ floats for just that eventuality.
  10. Rope in as much help as possible.  Setting up, decorating the venue and getting plenty of directional signage outside and in the immediate area can take longer than you anticipate.  If you’re also planning on holding  raffle / tombola / lucky dip / cake stall you’ll need yet more hands on deck.
  11. A bonus tip – if you’re holding the craft fair or market to raise money for a local cause, consider also having a raffle / tombola / lucky dip / tea, coffee & cakes stall. Just make sure that you put out the call for donations well in advance

Market Set Up

September was my first month of regular markets, and it seems I’ve neglected my blog a bit – apologies!

I’m currently committed to three monthly markets – there are more out there that I could do, but I think I’ll wait until it all becomes a little easier (as it surely will when I’m more organised and the preparation becomes second nature) before I agree to do any more!

I did a bit of Pinterest research on the best way to set up my stall, but please tell me I’m not the only person to pin, pin, pin and then fail to go back and read it all, let alone implement any of the advice!! 😀 Still some work to do on that score  I think…

Anyway, I thought I’d post some pictures of my set up at the last two markets.

This was my stall last Saturday.  Tables were provided,  and were smaller than I expected, so I was careful not to make it look too crowded.  Notice the rubbish bin to the right of the picture?  Arrgghhh!! I persuaded the organiser to cover it with a tablecloth soon after this photo was taken!

1-Pictures 150The following day was a different market, and I had a dedicated gazebo area and a larger table. I tried to keep my booth as uncluttered as possible with boxes and other paraphanalia out of sight (those you can see in the picture belong to my neighbours):

1-Pictures 185The display stands are simply cardboard boxes covered with random fabric, but they do the trick:

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I know there’s probably a lot I could do to improve the look in general – some kind of backdrop would be good as a start.  Time to get back on Pinterest I think!

Stocking up for market

I’m still busily building up my stock levels for the fast approaching farmers’ markets.  The first is only a fortnight away now, so the deadline for that one has passed  (I cure my soaps for a good 4-5 weeks before they’re ready to use) but there’s still plenty to do for the one after that.  I’ve committed to three markets a month for the time being, and I’ve no idea how many soaps I’ll need or how many will sell, so I’m stocking up and time will tell!

Here’s a round up of the last week or so:

Pink Matilda – Pink Musk Fragrance Oil

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Smiling Zebra – Tangerine Fragrance Oil

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Rosemary & Peppermint Essential Oils

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Second attempt at the Holly Swirl, Maraschino Cherry Fragrance Oil

Picture 054Vanilla Cupcakes – Vanilla Fragrance Oil (in base)

Picture 048The second and third markets are at the end of September, so I’ve got a few more days to squeeze in another soaping session or two :0)