My First Craft Fair

My first craft fair was this year at the Scottish Smallholders Festival in Forfar.

As my first time exhibiting at a fair, it was very daunting, especially as someone who likes to be organised! The unknown is commonly to be feared so I wanted to created a checklist and some tips to help other people in the same situation I was in.

What do I need to take to a craft fair / market?

  • £20-£30 of loose change
  • Extra chairs or a table depending on if these will be provided?
  • Large tablecloth
  • Bubblewrap
  • Carrier bags
  • Signage / banner displaying you logo
  • Crates / boxes
  • Price list of services – pet portraits
  • Electronic payment device – I would recommend iZettle
  • Price tags
  • Greeting card stand
  • Business cards
  • Receipt book
  • Shelving / display unit for more height?
  • Lighting?
  • Products for sale

To give you an example, as an animal artist, I had the following items available for sale:

  • Animal art prints
  • Greeting cards
  • Animal art originals
  • Slate hearts
  • Mugs
  • Bespoke pet portraits

Hints and Tips

Ensure you have more than enough stock with you as the last thing you want is to miss a sale because you didn’t bring enough. At the fair, I had an extra stash of greeting cards under the table so that I could keep topping up as they sold.

I wanted my display to be colour coordinated so I had a kind helper paint my shelving unit and crates for me. Lilac was my choice of colour as my logo has different shades of purple and thought it would be a bit different to other people’s stalls.

Tip 1: Take a lucky mascot. Luckily, I had my sisters lovely cocker spaniel, Bramble visiting! Bringing friends and family to the fair for moral support is very much recommended to put you at ease.

Tip 2: A good idea would be to do a mock setup of what you would like your stall would look like on the day. Here is my setup below, it doesn’t need to be on an actual table, just measure the size the table would be on the floor.

craft fair practice table

Tip 3: Lighting is important to consider. For instance, if you are exhibiting in a dark place such as a castle, extra lighting would be required to show off your display. I was exhibiting in a large open space with lighting from above so decided a few fairy lights around my shelving unit would suffice.

Tip 4: On the day of the event, arrive nice and early – I got there an hour before opening to make sure I gave myself plenty of time find the place and to set up my stall.

Tip 5: Really make the most of the event by visiting the other stalls. Even as an introvert, I knew how important it was to speak to different people. I learnt a lot of new and interesting facts as well as the opportunity to meet a Newfoundland:

  • Newfoundland dogs can weigh 14 stone 
  • Dales ponies are actually a rare breed
  • Alpacas have to be bought in threes
  • Chickens have to be rotated on their patch of land every month as they are super messy
  • Bramble really is a lucky mascot
Newfoundland dog I met

Final words

Lastly, if you are unsure which craft fair or market to exhibit in, go along and see for yourself. Treat it as market research, finding out from other stall holders what works well and what doesn’t.

I will be attending some Christmas events this year to plan where I would like to exhibit next year. Hopefully I will have more items for sale as I am currently looking into cushions and coasters. Watch this space.

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