Tuesday, 13 November 2012

There's Good Days and Bad Days . . .

Reflecting on the last couple of weeks bought to mind this Kaiser Chiefs song. I have had not one but two craft fairs in the last fortnight and as you can probably guess, one good and one not so good.

 Victoria Baths was my first fair and it was amazing. No, more than amazing. Words cannot describe how  awesome it was. 
I arrived at about 10:45am which gave me more than enough time to set up and meant I didn't have to hang around longer than I needed to in the cold cold baths (6 feet of cold air underneath you + glass roof + old victorian building - heating = absolutely freezing my tights off!) The fair officially started at 12pm and it got busy very quickly. My parents came all the way from home to visit the fair and they had to queue to get in. At 12:30!!!!
They found me as I was making a sale and I never really stopped making sales. My brother, who had been on a Young Enterprise team at school helped me to re-arrange my stall and to help draw customers in. He seemed to be taking over a bit although he denied everything but it did help so much as I had never really done this kind of thing before.
So, Jamie's top tips for running a stall:
1. Scatter business cards on the table, not just in a box - people are more likely to pick them up.
2. (For card makers) Don't leave all your cards in the box, spread a few out on the table. Apparently boxes scare people!
3. (Again for card makers) Put you best designs at the front of the box - this draws people in if they see something they like and would encourage them to delve deeper.
4. ENGAGE!!!! Jamie couldn't stress this one enough and if I didn't get in there quick and say hello to everyone that came within 5 ft of my stall, he would! Not only was I instructed to greet everyone, when every someone looked at my card-lympics, either me or him explained the story behind them.
5. Don't display all your stock at once. I had a lot of repeats so they went back in my bag for the time being. This reduced the number of cards on my stall and made it a bit less daunting to those having a browse.

Baring all these things in mind - and repeating myself quite a lot - I had a very successful day. I even sold a couple of my paper pieced pictures - Iron Man went to one of my fellow stall holders and Alice and the Cheshire Cat was sold so quickly! A man just came up and asked how much it was and bought it just like that. Then he bought half a dozen cards as well! Probably my best customer of the day.

So that was the good, and here is the bad.

If you have been on my Facebook page recently, you may have seen that I have been supporting a project called Tube Cubed. This is my university project at the moment and it's a pavilion that we are building for Dunham Massey's winter garden. We have been working on this for the last couple of weeks (hence why I haven't had much time to post). I offered my services as a card maker to try and raise some funds. This leads us onto my next craft fair. I was told about it on Monday and was umming and ahhing over it until it was suggested that we could sell the off-cuts if we sanded them down to a good finish and decorated them with sketches, illustrations and, courtesy of one of our group members, names written in Chinese. After a very stressful week of cutting, sanding and varnishing tubes (Check out our blog if you want to find out more) it was nice to sit down and doodle. 
It was an early start on Saturday to get the the fair in Prestwich but we managed it in plenty of time and got our stall set up. I would share the photos but for some reason, my laptop isn't reading my card at the moment so they may have to wait. 
It was looking good apart from our part of the table being a little bit in the corner. And then it opened.

And nothing happened.

Nobody came.

Well that's not strictly true but there weren't very many people there at all. We sold a few cards and a few more wooden decorations. It was a bit of a flop of a day really. Later, we found out that the conservative club up the road was holding their Christmas fair that day, which probably explains the poor turn out. It was worth a try though, better luck next time I guess.

I already have my next craft fair lined up. It's in Chorlton on 1st December. So watch this space!