The Highs and Lows of Craft Fairs
Last week I read a post on a crafters’ Facebook group, asking why she hadn’t sold anything at her last two fairs. Was it her stall layout? What did she need to do?
It wasn’t her stall layout. That was just fine. Better than fine. It looked lovely, everything well displayed, at different heights, displayed by collection, very clear what it was she was selling.
There are so many reasons a fair might not work for you. I’m going to try and list some that I’ve experienced myself from years of trying to sell at lots of different fairs.
The Wrong Fair
So often, when we are setting out, we try and sell at the wrong fair. It’s just not where our customers are. Sometimes it can take a lot of trial and error to find out where your customers are. Sometimes it can take us by surprise too. There’s fairs where I ought to do well, my ideal customers appear to be sitting ducks, just waiting to …erm, quack, and they don’t. Others I shouldn’t do well at but I invariably do. Experience helps. But apply logic too. If you’re having a sale at an event directed at young people, and your ideal customer is 60+, you’re wasting your time and money. If you are selling steampunk at a church bazaar, it probably isn’t going to work for you.
If it’s chucking it down on the day, no-one will come out to a fair. But if it’s a nice day, they’ll be off on a picnic, instead. Except …. in my experience, the weather really doesn’t determine footfall. At least, not on it’s own. Passing trade might be affected one way or another, but if people are specifically coming to a fair to purchase handmade goodies, the weather doesn’t put them off.
Your Price Point
Your products are not too expensive. If you’ve worked the price out properly, then that’s not the reason. But it might be the wrong price point for that particular fair.
If your customers have got their children with them, forget it! This is why I stopped doing fairs that incorporated “activities for the whole family”. If someone has their children with them two things are going to happen: 1) They will distracted, dragged off to the child friendly stalls or as someone commented just recently, “has your neighbouring stall got an owl on it?” 2)Families will have a budget for the day. Once they’ve bought lunch for everyone, icecreams for the kids, paid for an activity for the kids, bought some cake to take home, they won’t be feeling like treating themselves to a new silver necklace or an artisanal handbag.
One Facebook post and one tweet do not a marketing campaign make. Check how well the event is going to be marketed. Whether it’s marketed at the right people. Was there a concerted social media campaign by both organisers and stall holders? Is it sign posted well? Do people know how to get there?
Wrong Time Of Year
Some people do well at fairs all year round. I don’t. I don’t sell at fairs before June. I certainly don’t do them before Easter. People aren’t usually spending much in February and March. At least, not on my products. You need to work out what will work for you.
Your Stall’s A Bit Pants
If people don’t know what you are selling, or they’re confused about your brand, or they can’t see what everything is, that’s going to affect your sales.
Your Products Aren’t What People Want
OK, so this is a really tricky one, because you’ve put your heart and soul, your blood sweat and tears into your products. You’ve worked out the price properly. You’ve displayed it beautifully. Your branding is well designed. But do people actually want to buy it? If you are consistently failing to sell anything, at any kind of fair, you need to ask yourself some hard questions. Maybe go back to the drawing board. It’s tough, but it doesn’t have to be the end.