12 Aug 2011

A Few Little Ideas

{  or how to prepare for a Carft Fair}

This week will be known as the week of the long posts, but I promised you a craft fair guide, so I must keep my promise. For those of you who are not attending a fair soon (no need to read) here is a little sneaky peek into tomorrows tutorial.

As some of you know last weekend I attended my first craft fair - hence still a begginer. It was fun and also a great learning experience. I researched the internet struggling to find tips of how to set up a table and what to think about, and so after the event I decided to put my findings to paper ( i.e blog), so here it is the beginners guide of:
 “How to prepare for a Craft Fair”

1.       What are you going to sell – this is the most important thing and it might take you mind from other things in the preparation process. 
  •   Make a list with all the items you would like to sell – those that are ready and those that are in the making, so you do not forget anything. If you are going to make things in the last few weeks be as realistic as possible. Make sure each item bears your label ( if you have one).
  • Make sure you have enough items to spread around your table. However do not overflow the table with staff or it will look too busy and actually be overwhelming for your customers.·        It is likely that the fair will last for the whole day ( or maybe two) – so make sure you have enough staff to sell ( yes, I know it is hard to predict your sales)
  • It is a always a good idea to make small “easy-to- make” items like key chains or fabric bracelets as people would probably like to buys something but not necessarily spend a big amount. That way you are likely to have people stop by your table, possibly buying the small things and at the same time looking at your bigger items.
  • If you are selling things for kids, it is not a bad idea to have something to catch kids attention – you can either have a large ( vintage) glass jar with lollies, or small packets of sweeties that you can give away for free ( I am always mortified when my daughter gets a lollie so I leave the choice of sweeties to you)
2.       Your display –you are likely to display your items on a table so:
  • Make sure you get a nice table cloth or a big piece of fabric which is either in a neutral colour (white or cream) or one complementing the colours of the items you’ll be selling. Some other kind of catchy decoration is always a winner as it will get the attention of the people (for example bunting, pin wheels, small flags).
  • Find out where your table will be – if next to a wall than you can benefit from this wall as it is the perfect place to display a nice banner with your label name or even some of the things on sale. Maybe you can come up with some sort of hanging display (check if you can use hooks or nails, often that is not allowed so use some sort of removable hooks). If there is no wall near next to your table than think of a nice- maybe vintage- frame where you can showcase the name of your label. Make sure it is positioned strategically so people know who you are.
  • Use items like rattan boxes, old suitcases, cupcake racks, and wooden bowls to display your items. That way your customers have much more organised stand to look at.
  • Last but not least dress yourself in a neutral colour ( you don’t want your lovely new dress to clash with the colours on your table)
2.       Other important points
  • Label your items – make sure you have nice paper labels / price tags to attach to your items. It will make them look more professional, it will display your name and you can write the price on them– people seem to like priced goods as they get bored asking for the price all the time. If you sell a key holder for example, it is a nice idea to create a small label (in Word or find some free software on the web) and attach the key holder to the label.  Also attach all labels before the fair; it will save you time and nerves.
  • Business Cards - have enough business cards and display them strategically on your table. I wouldn’t say put them everywhere but just make sure that they are visible. It will be not a good idea to run out of business cards in the middle of the fair as some potential orders may actually come after people have gone home and thought better about what they need. You can print some lovely business cards at Moo
  • Bags - think about bags. When an item has been bought it is very important that it leaves your table looking lovely. You can order bags with your label on it (quite pricey, possibly not worth at the beginning), you can buy some simple brown paper bags or you can even use brown packing paper and string to make it look like a little parcel. Also you could look up a free online tutorial of how to make some simple paper bags.  I even say white food wrap paper being used to wrap up small items. It was pulled straight out of a box (behind the table of course) and it actually was very quick and easy. As a more personal touch you can invest in some stickers saying ” Name of your label – thank you for your custom / purchase/ etc.” A choice of labels can be found on Moo or other online suppliers.
  • Box with money – start your sale with a box containing say £20 in small change. I saw some people who had boxes with little plastic cups inside containing the coins separately from the notes.
  • List of your items - a useful way of knowing exactly what you sold is to make a list of all your items and than just thick them off as they sell.
  • Tools box – have a little box containing spare labels, scissors, cello tape, cloth pegs (small and big), safety pins, some extra string and a pen. It is better to have those things and not need them, than to need them and not have them.
  • The unnecessary necessities (don’t laugh) – nail file, small mirror and a fan. You don’t want to spend the whole afternoon trying to chew off that broken nail, or be totally unaware of that little piece of salad ( the one you scoffed in five min while your friend managed your table) stuck between your teeth. Also it gets pretty warm in those big craft halls so a fan can keep you nicely cool. There is a lovely idea on Just something I made.
So I hope all of this makes sense, and once again - it is a beginner’s guide! In a few years time I might come and review this guide but for now I felt it was a good starting point.

If you think this guide could benefit from some suggestions or if I have forgotten something important, please let me know in the comments, and I will add it.

To everyone using this guide I wish a stress free preparation and a very successful Craft Fair.

Irina xx


  1. What a useful post! You sound super organised. Love the tip about the nail file :)

  2. Wow, this sounds like a lot of work but also like a lot of fun! I wish you a great day at the fair - and take lots of water - its hot in those halls!!

    Maybe having a list at your stall where people have the chance to sign up for email newsletters is an idea - its a clever way to acquire and keep customers - only if you have a newsletter, that is of course :D

    Can't wait to read about your impressions!

  3. Wow, what a great idea to collect the tips and thanks for sharing them!!! Actually your table was very nice and very professional looking. That shows, that a good preparation is very imortant. Anja

  4. Hi! I watched with great pleasure your work, you have such a nice and cute style))) and thanks for the advice, very interesting!

  5. Thanks Janine, nice ideas, I will add them to the guide.

  6. great tips! I'll take note! thanks

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