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Craft fairs: Tips from a first timer

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You’ve got your designs, created your branding and set up a website, but you’ve still not plucked up the courage to sign up to a craft fair yet. Yes, we know it can seem like a daunting prospect, but rest assured, it’s not as scary as it might seem!

We caught up with minimalistic jewellery maker, Séarlait McCrea to get the lowdown on her first foray into craft fair life at Northern Craft and her tips for any craft fair first timers.

Searlait McCrea, Jewellery, Craft Fair, Northern Craft

I was a visitor of Northern Craft last year and was so impressed by the variety and quality of wares on offer. This year the applications opened just as I was starting out and opening an online store. I only had a couple of designs at that time but I thought what the hell, if I apply and get accepted it will be a good kick up the bum to make sure I produce some interesting stuff.

My pieces are all pretty teeny, and I’m very much into ultra-minimalism in terms of display, so although I only applied for a half stall (3 foot wide) my biggest worry  about the day was being able to fill my area, and have enough stock so that the stall still looked interesting and populated even if I made some sales.

“When it came to it, selling out of certain designs and not having the right sizes in others wasn’t anything to worry about. Buyers who were really interested were more than happy to follow up for a custom order or to buy through the online store.”

Searlait McCrea, Jewellery, craft, Craft Fair, Northern Craft

My set up on the day was super simple.  I’m very lucky as in my day job  I run the Laser Cutting & Vinyl Cutting services at Duke Studios, which certainly made whipping up a display much easier. I made the actual stall from cut Birch Plywood platforms with custom vinyl letter prices, ordered a couple of business card designs from Awesome Merch that double up as earring holders, and that was it. Oh and a mammoth amount of sanding and polishing stock. So, so much sanding.

In the end the day was fab! The organisers were great and made the set up a breeze. As soon as the doors opened the Chapter Hall was full, and I don’t think I stopped chatting until it was over. As with the previous year, the wares on offer were top notch, and it was lovely to meet some makers I have long admired, but of course the best bit had to be the many conversations had with the visitors themselves.

Northern Craft, Northern Monk, Leeds,

I’d definitely sign up for another craft fair. I’m going to be making jewellery on the move while living in a self-converted campervan as of July, so I’m keen to research European craft fairs that could be pit stops on my adventure. If anyone has any recommendations I’m all ears.

“For anyone thinking of doing a craft fair, I would say just do it! When I applied for Northern Craft I only had a couple of designs, but getting accepted gave me that kick to keep up the momentum and develop my range.”

If didn’t manage to make it down to the the second instalment of Northern Craft, here’s our video from the day.

Not sure how to display your items or what you should be taking with you? We got some top tips on setting up your craft fair stall.

 

Top tips for setting up your stall

Be yourself


Don’t put too much pressure on yourself! Every seller and stall is different, so try not to compare your own to others you’ve already seen.

Get inventive

 

Try to show your work in an inviting way. If it interests you, it will hopefully have the same effect on other people too.

 

List your prices

 

People like to be able to easily see prices when they look at a stall, so label everything well.

Make an impression

 

Include your branding/logo. People willing be looking out for it when they arrive, and it will help people remember you when they leave. Flyers, custom vinyl stickers, and business cards are great to give out as freebies on the day. If you really want to make an impact, why not create your own custom banner? Click here for more inspiration on merch to take to your next craft fair.

Whether your a craft fair first timer or a seasoned stall holder, the most important thing on the day is to have fun. The craft fair community, both sellers and buyers are a lovely bunch, so you’ve got nothing to worry about!

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