Wednesday 26 November 2008

First Craft Fair Done!

The First Craft Fair is over. It's unjust to call it a disaster but not quite right to classify it as a resounding success. Jewellery was sold (two necklaces, two pairs of earrings), business cards were taken, compliments were received (more than sales!).

It wasn't an auspicious start though. Being my first craft fair as a stallholder I can't deny that I didn't really know what I was doing. So I rolled up at the venue, a couple of helpers at hand, and found the map that directed me to my table. It was by the door, the wide open door where all the other stallholders were entering and exiting by as they set up, and, confusingly, it was at an angle, as if it was an entrance table where people paid their fee before perusing the rest of the stalls.

So was I sharing the table with the entry fee takers?
Was I meant to be the entry fee table?
And just where was I going to put all my bags and bits and pieces if the back of my stall was in the middle of the room?

The kindness and helpfulness of other stallholders I'd heard rumour of came to the fore and the consensus seemed to be that this was the entrance only for stallholders, and it would be shut when the fair started, and my table moved in front of it (despite the fire exit signs above it . . . ).

Which meant I now knew just where the front of my table was and could start to dress it. Not easy to do though when you're as good as in the centre of the room, generally in the way, and having to contend with the cold from the door and the increasingly strong breeze that was making its way in as well. The latter certainly isn't ideal when the things you're laying out tend to be on the light side, especially pendants strung on ribbon, and the organza bags I was using as part of my table display (doubling up as gift bags) really didn't like this!

But we prevailed and the stall was set up (which takes longer than you think when you've nigh on 70 items of jewellery to lay out!), mostly to the plan I'd been practising with at home. The table was then, very carefully, lifted and moved into place. And nothing fell over or out of place! A success!

Here's what it looked like, although it was still a bit of a work in progress at the stage, and the table hadn't been moved into place:

The people who, apparently due to bad signing, thought this was the entrance to the fair weren't quite so impressed however, when they had to go all the way back around the building to the official entrance.

But, hey, I was set up, the (official) doors were open, and people were actually stopping to look at the jewellery on my stall! I decided against grinning like a loon and just sat looking interested but not pushy. Well, that's my hope anyway.

It took nearly two hours for any sales to occur and I was a nervous, but happy, wreck by the end of the transaction. Not long after, someone else bought a pair of earrings, one of my favourite pairs that had taken a fair bit of work and were made purely from silver. She seemed to really like them, and was buying them as a gift, which was quite a buzz.

Then a long lull. Admittedly I was pretty happy now I knew that I wasn't going home having sold nothing, but, still, I was rather hoping for a bit more selling than just interest. The interest was good though, don't get me wrong, and it was fascinating to hear people's comments. "Delicate" seemed to be a common one.

But the long lunch-time quiet came and went. Sandwiches were consumed - by pretty much all the stall holders - and for a while the room was empty of fair-goers.

I nipped to the loo. I returned to an interested customer! She liked two pendants and I offered her a deal but, sensible shopper that she was, she decided which she liked best and bought that.

And then it was almost time to put the jewellery back into all the tiny plastic bags I'd fetched it in, as neatly as rushing slightly allowed, and discover if it was possible to fit everything, including display props, back into the bags I'd fetched it in. It wasn't . . . And this discovery wasn't helped by the fact I was by the door the other stallholders all wanted to leave by. In the end, it was easier to carefully shift the table back into the middle of the room again, but that bit of added pressure may just have made it trickier to make all my things fit where they should. But, with minimal damage, and at least some sales, the day was done.

What did I learn?
Well, chances are you'll always find someone who has sold less than you and more than you - in this case it was on the stalls either side of me.
That other stallholders are pretty nice.
That a big dish of sweets on the front of your stall could be a good idea.
That cheaper prices is probably a better one.
And that my stall lay out seemed a little . . . flat.

So that's quite a lot to work with and be getting on with until . . .

The Second Craft Fair!

Right. Where next...?

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