Emma is a lovely cheerful person I’ve gotten to know on Twitter – she’s @lemonade_yarns and she sells yarns, hooks and needles online. I think this is a recent development as I’m sure she was a crocheter when I met her, not a seller of yarns… However, I digress.
She’s written a guest blog post about her first craft fair. Here’s her post!
When Denise asked me if I would like to write a guest post on her blog, I knew immediately what I wanted to write about: my experience at my very first craft fair earlier on in the year.
The craft fair in question is the Roath Craft Market in Cardiff, which actually happens every Saturday morning, come rain or shine! I’d been down to it a couple of times to check it out and see what kind of crafts were being sold and where I could fit in amongst them. The lady who runs it, Linda, is the friendliest, most enthusiastic lady you will ever meet, and as I introduced myself to her and found out a little more about the set up and what she expects from her stall holders, I thought to myself that if one should start anywhere selling handmade crafts, it should be there. Linda is also incredibly relaxed about the whole thing – if you’d like a table, just email her and tell her which Saturday you’d like, and she’ll tell you if she has a table available or not. You can even choose between a small table or a large table. I went for a small table, which cost a very reasonable £5, and you pay on the day you have your stall rather than in advance.
So at sparrows on a sunny Spring morning I wheeled my suitcase of crochet down the road, along with bags of props, prices tags and other crafty paraphernalia and arrived at the Mackintosh Community Centre all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and brimming with enthusiasm. Set-up is from 0830, and the market opens at 0930 so there was plenty of time to faff about with products and get everything looking “just so” before the customers started arriving. I’d done a mock-up of my table at home a couple of days before, which was incredibly useful as I knew exactly what I was doing.
One thing that I worried about, and spent some time investigating and asking seasoned stall holders for their opinion on, was how much float to have. In hindsight I had way too much, but I suppose it’s better to have too much than too little! I took with me £20 in five pound notes, £20 in pound coins and £10 in fifty pence pieces, and I’d made sure that all my prices were either in whole pounds or half-pounds so that giving change would be quick and simple, with little chance of me getting flustered with all that mental arithmetic and making a fool of myself.
“How did it all go?!” I can hear you asking! Well, in one respect I had a great time – 4 hours of chatting to people, telling them about what I do, making sure I told everyone about my online yarn shop too (http://www.yarnandcraftshop.co.uk/) and all the other stall holders came over to introduce themselves and to wish me luck, but on the whole selling side of things I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped. I made a small profit, but because the weather was so beautiful that morning we just didn’t get the footfall. I am told the market gets very busy on the lead-up to Christmas, so I think I will try again then!
As first experiences go, it was a good one, and everyone was so friendly and welcoming and supportive of what I do that it would be silly not to have another stall there in the future, but probably not until nearer Christmas.
If you’re thinking about making and selling your handmade products at a craft fair or weekly craft market then go for it! But do your research first. Don’t undersell (or oversell!) your products – go to similar craft fairs and find out what other people are charging for similar products, and what they are making too, so you don’t turn up with the same as everyone else. Find out what customers actually want too – it’s no good having a stall full of beautiful knitted teddy bears when actually customers want lacy scarves and knitted brooches. Above all, make sure your products are well made using quality materials, they’re fairly priced according to how long it took you to make, plus the cost of the materials involved, and are priced clearly and set out attractively. Smile, say hello to everyone who comes to look at your products, but don’t scare them off by bombarding them with hard sell, and you should have a nice little profit to take home at the end of the day!
Many thanks to Denise for asking me to write this post, and I hope you find it useful. Emmalemonade xx
You can find more blog posts by Emma on her own blog Lemons for Lemonade