few networking and sharing craft sites on facebook recently, and this was a
question one asked of the crafters.....
"Do you think that Craft Fairs are still viable? Lots of local crafters
attended a Fair yesterday ... it was well marketed and the organisation was
excellent. Even so many did not cover the table cost and they are now talking
about giving up fairs. What do you think?"
After doing traditional markets, running a shop and now doing craft work selling at markets, I have got to know what is going to work or not for my product. I feel sure that people will be coming back to markets soon in this economic climate -because food prices and shop prices are too high, and so, an
old fashioned traditional market is better for me to sell at BUT, people go to the big traditional markets for food and household goods and not crafts so you find yourself in a catch 22 position ...
so, what to do?
I have joined a fledgling/struggling market and am enjoying watching it grow with a whole family of new 'crafters'. We know that to sell our own crafts, we need to make sure that our customers can buy 'everything under one roof!'.
We so far have one fruit and veg stall, one kitchen hardware stall, a deli stall, a tool stall, a takeaway food stall, bread, cake and a sweet stalls, a greetings card stall and a pet stall.
Alongside this, and taking up at least half the market, are craft stalls filled with jewellery, photography, paper crafts, decoupage, painted planters, wood turning, woollen and knitted gifts, glass wear, candles, personalised gifts, paintings, rural arts and many other outstanding and unusual craftwork.
People will not buy crafts week after week. People need to know that at their weekly traditional market (which we now have open 3 days a week) they can buy everything they want, plus 'that unusual but affordable gift' or 'something to treat myself with that isn't too extravagant’ so that when they want one of our lovely products, they already know we are here for them, because they will have seen us and drooled over at least ONE thing they like.
Many crafters would disagree but my personal belief is that craft fair stalls too expensive and because of this, product prices have to be raised, so by slipping craft stalls into a market 50/50 with traditional market stalls, we think we have the balance right. Obviously a crafter will NEVER earn the money for the time it takes to craft, but to cover costs with a little extra should be expected.
Crafters need to see their market stalls as their advertisements - their 'show' of the range of craftsmanship they have, and as a contact point for orders like any shop.
I believe that in this economic climate, this is the only way for us crafters to go. Working together as a group and networking is half a craft workers business ... its good fun too!