Craft Fairs – all you need to know Posted on: September 25, 2018 by Jason Davis For keen crafters, taking the leap from crafting as a hobby to starting a craft business can feel both exciting and daunting. Making the decision to start selling your items at craft fairs or markets is a great way to raise awareness of your business, get some feedback on your products and to begin to build up a loyal customer base! Here are some steps to getting started with craft fairs, and why you should go. Why go to craft fairs? If you don’t have a physical location to sell products, and your online store has a small presence, craft fairs present plenty of opportunities to take advantage of. So why should you go to craft fairs in 2018, 2019 and the foreseeable future? Here are the benefits: Chance to build customer loyalty. Going to a craft fair offers a great opportunity to meet potential customers face to face. Use this opportunity to sell your brand, story and love for crafting. People not only buy the products you create, they buy the stories you tell. Easy PR and marketing. As well as sharing snaps and pictures throughout the day on social media, get talking to people. You might bump into someone who could help boost your brand presence. The event organiser, a journalist, or perhaps a social influencer all have the ability give your business good PR if they like the sound of your brand and story. Meet with fellow crafters. Don’t see them as competition. Other crafters can provide useful insights in the world of crafting. You may find a craft business partnership opportunity, new un-marketed craft fairs to go or learn some new crafting techniques. Learn from the pros. It’s also a good time to share any concerns you may have. There’s no better group of people to help than the few who have more than likely already dealt with those problems. You’ll be exhibiting to a target audience. Your target audience (potential customers!) will flowing in and out of the event/fair/show you’re at all day. Christmas craft fairs are particularly busy, so it may be wise having an extra pair of hands to help! 3 steps to getting started with craft fairs Choose the right craft fair event. With so many craft fairs and markets out there, it can be difficult to choose which one is right for your craft business. Start by considering your target audience, as this may help to filter down your potential list based on whether they are likely to visit. To find out how popular the event is, it may be worth asking the event organiser: how many people are estimated to attend? How long has it been running for? Once you’ve decided which fair or market you’d like to exhibit at, find out how much it would cost and what would be included in this cost. For example, is a table provided with the cost? How much space will you have? Where will you be located? Will you have access to electricity or running water (if you need this!)? Set your goals. After you’ve decided what fair or market you’d like to exhibit at, you’ll need to know what you aim to achieve. As a starting event, it’s best to aim for a break-even point – anything above this is a bonus and means that you’ll be walking away with more than you went in with. These figures can then be used as a benchmark and can be used to set your future objectives to improve at every event! Here are some craft business goal ideas: On-stand products – Sell, sell sell! If you’re looking for happy customers to walk away with your products, then selling will be your primary goal. Set your objective as amount of sales generated above your return on investment (cost of exhibiting etc). It’s also worth knowing what you need to sell in order to break even. Your break-even point is the point where your income and expenditure are equal. Once you’ve sold enough units to cover your total costs, anything after this point is profit! The question to ask is, can I sell x units in the first place? If the target is realistically too difficult to achieve, it may be worth considering a different event. A review of your pricing strategy may also be required. Custom product – generating leads! If you’re showcasing personalised products, such as wedding cakes, then your primary goal will be to generate leads. If you know the number of leads needed to generate a single sale for your business, then use this figure to work backward to the number of leads you’ll need to break even from your event. If you don’t know this figure, then add a personal objective to generate as many leads as possible and use this event to start measuring the amount of sales it generates. Product launch – awareness! If you’re looking for more awareness of your product, with possibly a larger social following to help generate more interest in the long term, then awareness will be your primary goal. Set your objective as the amount of people who follow you on social channels from the event, or who take your business cards/flyers. Giving unique offers or running a competition to those who help you raise awareness or to those who take a flyer will increase the chance of that person converting into a sale or lead later. This will also allow you to measure its effectiveness. Plan what to buy for your stand. Now that you know what event you’re going to, and what your goals and objectives are, you’ll need to start thinking about what you want your stand to look like. Chances are, you’ll need to make an investment to equip your stand – but you can start small and slowly add to your collection as you grow to increase your prominence. A small investment in some good quality display equipment could help raise the profile of your business to passers-by and ensure that you look professional. But what do you choose? Pop up banners and PVC banners could be a perfect starter to add your logo and basic information on what you sell. Banners take less than a minute to set up and could be all the difference from a visitor approaching you or continuing to walk by. A branded tablecloth with your logo is ideal for laying out your products and adding a more professional feel for your display. For a personalised touch on your products and packaging, consider adding custom branded stickers and labels. Final thoughts Craft fairs are great for market research. You’ll be able to see if you’ve priced your products competitively, get a better understanding of customer’s needs, or you might just find a new product niche in the market. Everything you learn and apply from going to a craft fair will be invaluable to your business. Whatever the objectives you set, always ask people if they’d like to be kept up to date with your products or latest updates. This is a great way to keep in touch with your loyal customer base. Have you attended any craft fairs in 2018? Are you planning to? Share with us your plans or any pictures of your display set up and we’ll feature them on our article!