So it turns out that there are tons of other people selling their crafts online, some selling things almost identical to ours (great minds right?), and getting your products seen is HARD. I searched greetings cards on Etsy and got 677,415 results!
We’ve been ticking along selling locally to friends and family, friends of friends, friends of friends of friends etc. so we know that people do like our pictures and cards (despite the crushing moments of self doubt that pop in from time to time) we just need to spread the word.
So, the only sensible way forward is craft fairs. My mum used to do a regular craft market when I was little and it was the best day to be sick from school as she would take us along and I could wander round the stalls of pretty things. Plus my mum made confectionary, particularly fudge, so I was literally like a kid in a sweet shop.
Craft fairs are a bit daunting when you are starting out. Putting your products out there in front of other seasoned professionals is quite exposing. But they are a fantastic place to learn about how to display your products, about price points and actually our experience so far is that everyone is really friendly and helpful.
We are still newbies in the craft fair area having only done four, and we’ve found we need to expect the unexpected – we did a really well publicised and established event in a nice venue, a vineyard no less, and thought this is where we would find our people. Turns out we didn’t even cover our table cost. It was a bit of a confidence knock but other stall holders reassured us that it was a quiet fair and footfall really counts. Also we hadn’t nailed our presentation so we picked up loads of tips – height is important, pricing needs to be clear and obvious (we’re British, we don’t like to ask!), don’t put out everything you’ve ever made and hope that someone spots something amongst it they want, less is more. Onwards and upwards.
Then we did a local garden centre which never seems to have more than four cars in the carpark. We were in a barn at the back. They did however take breakfast orders and brought your bacon roll to you at your stall – result! We had adjusted our expectations and decided just to relax and hope that some people would pick up business cards etc – aim to cover the table cost and we were happy. It was a lovely day to be in a garden centre. Turns out we covered our table cost five times over – when it is people choosing to have something you’ve made in their home it feels a bit like a (small) lottery win. We did a happy dance and had a glass of something to celebrate.
Today it is our kids school summer fair. We are one of only five external stalls (and two of them are tutoring services). This is either going to work really well in our favour as we have very little competition, or it is going to be a disaster as we will stick out like a sore thumb and people won’t be in the headspace to be shopping. Either way our table fee goes to the school to provide better facilities/activities for our kids and they get to hang out with us all afternoon too.
The sun is shining and we are next to the candy floss stall – life is good. Wish us luck!