Setting up for a Winter Craft Fair
There’s not a cloud in the sky and there is talk of a heatwave coming and here we are trying to get you thinking of christmas in this latest blog post, and also in our recent 2-part series, ‘The C Word‘!
Unfortunately this is the time to apply for the craft fairs and markets to take advantage of our busiest time of year – Christmas. Jewellery business tutor Anna Campbell gives some advice on choosing a winter craft fair and how to write a successful application.
It can feel a bit ridiculous to be thinking about christmas in August but it is now that the Winter and Christmas Fairs, that can be so lucrative, are taking applications. But, there are so many, from large craft markets to school fairs so how do you choose which to apply for?
How do I find a craft fair in my area?
Firstly, have a look at stallfinder which allows you to put in your postcode and search for events in your area. Also keep an eye on the local press and check out any markets that run all year round to see if they are having any special events near christmas. If there is a town hall or country house nearby check on their website to see if they are running any events. Finally, keep your ear to the ground in the local area. Consider the school fairs as well as the big events. Sometimes they can be cheap to attend and end up being lucrative.
How will I know if the event is worthwhile?
That is the big question and I don’t have a crystal ball! It is hard to know as attendance can sometimes be weather dependent and just because an event was good last year doesn’t mean it will be this year (and vice versa of course). Do your research and find out as much as you can about the event before making your decision to apply. Here are some things to consider.
Is this a regular event? Have you been to it? Do you know anyone that has been? Word of mouth is always a good starting point.
Does the event have a website? Is the information there clear for both stallholders and visitors?
How is the event being marketed? This information is usually shared with potential stallholders so check that you feel that there is effort and money being put into ensuring the event is well attended.
What is the cost of a stall? How much will you need to sell in order to make that back and move into profit? Sometimes it is less risky to do a few small fairs where the outlay is lower and so the amount you need to take each time is also a little lower, and when you make more it’s a nice surprise!
How easy is it to get to? When I have done central London markets including Camden Lock and Spitalfields I have had to lug my suitcase around in rush hour! Not ideal but it can be worthwhile!
How many jewellery stalls will there be? This is important. If there are a lot of other jewellery stalls your work can be lost so it is better to apply to a fair where there is going to be a good variety of different crafts for sale.
How can I ensure my application is successful?
The winter craft fairs and markets are the most lucrative and therefore there is more competition for each stall. Often there is a cap on the number of jewellery stalls too so you need to ensure your application is as strong as it can be. I recommend reading this article from the Design Trust on applying for a craft fair which interviewed people that make the decisions about who to take and who to reject. Some of their advice is:
a. Send good, clear images of your work
Your photography is key to show people what you sell and to allow the selectors to make an informed decision about whether your work will fit in with their curated fair. Include a photo of your stand/display if you can as it will give the organisers an idea of your work and how you present it.
b. Have an up to date website
This is key to showing that your work is current and up to date.
c. Have a cohesive line – don’t hedge your bets
Many of us (I include myself here!) make different types of jewellery. I sell beaded jewellery as well as silver jewellery. Using your research, pick the line that you make that you think will fit best with the fair. If you try to show everything it can look a little confused and you may be rejected solely for this reason.
d. Don’t leave it until the last minute
Applying on the final day isn’t impressive and suggests you have time management issues! Try to ensure you apply well in advance.
e. Double check your details
Make sure you read your application through before sending it and ensure everything is spelt correctly, especially web addresses and email addresses!
f. Be simple and succinct
The organisers have many applications to read and love it if you get to the point!
g. Don’t take it personally
If you aren’t successful in getting a stand at a fair you have applied for try not to take it to heart. Your work is good, it may be that it doesn’t fit with the other crafts that have been chosen. If that is the case it is better not to be accepted and put in the effort and cost of attending if you’re not going to attract the buyers.
What advice would you give others who are applying for craft fairs? We’d love to hear from you so let us know in the comments below.