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Getting Started with Craft Fairs

For keen crafters, taking the leap from crafting as a hobby to running a 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 three steps to getting started with craft fairs:

Step 1: Choosing the right exhibition or event

With so many exhibitions out there, it can be difficult to choose which one is right for your crafty 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. Choosing exhibitions where you’ll have the highest chance of meeting your target audience will help to increase the chance of meeting your goals and having a successful exhibition.

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!)

Step 2: Setting 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!

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).

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.

Step 3: What to buy?

Now that you know what exhibition 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 passersby and ensure that you look professional. But what do you choose? An outdoor PVC banner could be a perfect starter to add your logo and basic information on what you sell and start from only £25. Hanging signs above head height could draw in the eye of passersby and help them make that split-second decision to stop at your stand.

Other starter kits could include banner stands for a larger display to draw in the eye or a printed, branded tablecloth if you need to lay out your products and want a more professional feel for your display.

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