So, this week I have taken my work out to the general public for the first time and sold at two fairs - yes two. It has been a generally positive experience and I thought I'd share what I've learnt with you.
Fair number one was last Saturday in Lincolnshire. It was an Art & Craft Exhibition (but a selling exhibition). Sadly I was unable to be in Lincolnshire for it, so my first ever experience had to happen without me! I was lucky enough to have someone to run my stall for me. Here it is (apologies for the rather grainy picture):
I was encouraged to supply lots of paintings and prints for this one and less of the textiles. Ahead of the exhibition I was concerned that my work would be dramatically different to everything else there - it was, but this turned out to be a good thing! The feedback and comments I received were great and I sold more than I'd expected to. The ceramics and Christmas cards were the most popular items.
I've already been told that they'd like me back next year - I'll try and attend in person next time!
Then on Monday night, I had my first proper face to face meeting with the public. This one was a Christmas Shopping Evening. I was a little concerned on arrival when I realised that I would be the only craft stall. In fact, it turned out that the only other person there who had made all of their products was the cake and biscuit stall (they looked lovely but this worried me even more) - I suspected that it was either going to be a very successful evening or a very unsuccessful one.
I'd say that 90% of the people there weren't the slightest bit interested in my stall - they just went straight for the packs of preserves, sweets and Usborne Books. However, the 10% who were interested were really interested. I did make some sales - not that many on the night, but have made more subsequently as a direct result of conversations I had at my table. So in the end, I made a decent profit from the evening.
The best sellers on the evening were the Christmas cards (again) and my brooches. I received lots of lovely comments about all of my products, but particularly my textiles. Many people asked if I made the products myself and when I explained that I did (and that the fabrics used in my cushions were my own designs) they were really interested. I got through a lot of business cards!
So, what have I learnt? The first thing I can take away is that I had a really good time. I thoroughly enjoyed talking about my work with someone other than my friends and family - it was good to see that others like it! I definitely want to do more fairs but I need to choose the right ones. This year I made a conscious decision to only attend fairs to which I was invited - next year I will actively seek out the ones I want to be part of. I need to know what other stalls will be there - will it mostly be modern crafts or is it going to be similar to the mix on Monday night (which probably isn't as good).
I think that's me done for this year (left it a bit late to attend more before Christmas now anyway), but next summer I intend to do several.
I still have some of my biggest sellers in stock:
My Christmas cards are now available on Folksy!