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ETSY TEAM LEEDS: How to get ready for your craft market or art fair!

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We’re proud to be a part of the makers movement that’s currently sweeping the U.K. We love making the awesome things that you have made in the first place. So in 2015, when Etsy Team Leeds asked us to sponsor their event, we jumped at the chance. We’re on board again this year, so we thought it’d be cool to hear from Sophie Howarth who is one of the organisers. We wanted to know all about Etsy Team Leeds and how they’re getting ready for this year’s event, and we also thought it’d be ace to hear from some other makers and how they get ready for craft markets & art fairs. Over to the experts!

Sophie Howarth Onetenzeroseven
Chloe GreenBy The Lock 
Laura WilksElsie and Nell
Kate Broughton Kate Broughton 
Lauren BuckleyThrift Box 

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ETSY TEAM LEEDS

Sophie:

Etsy Teams are groups of small businesses who sell on Etsy.com with a common interest, be it their creative medium or the location they live in. We have a great active community at Etsy Team Leeds, but we’re very relaxed too! We meet up in person every month to grab a cup of tea or a cold beer and just have a chat and a giggle while we bring the team up to speed on the latest from Etsy HQ. We also have an amazing Facebook group where our team members share their struggles & successes and teach each other how to run kick-ass businesses. It’s a great place to find opportunities, a quick answer to a complicated question or just find some company during a quiet day. We don’t just talk about Etsy either, any and all questions are welcome. We want our team members to be as successful as they dream to be! If you’re not an Etsy seller, you can still keep up to date with our sellers and look out for fun creative events that you can get involved in too.

EVENT ORGANISATION:

Sophie:

Organising Etsy Made Local is a huge, huge undertaking – especially as it is organised by the team who also run their own shops & businesses and some even work ‘day jobs’ too. We’ve been working on the event since around April/May and of course we talk very closely to the folks at Etsy as well so it takes a whole lot of people to make the event a success! We have to judge all the applications so that our customers get the very best we have to offer as well as a great variety of stalls over the two days. As well as this we work closely with the venue (Leeds City Museum) and Leeds City Council who have done some excellent promotion for us and our best buddies at Awesome Merchandise who are sponsoring the event!

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HOW TO GET READY?

Sophie:

I always find it such a challenge to be ready for a large market like Etsy Made Local, knowing how much stock to prepare and the best way to lay out and transport your stall – I still haven’t cracked it perfectly after all these years. I like to have a target in my head of how much I would be happy with selling on the day to guide me back to taking the right amount of products with me and, of course, have marketing materials that I can give out if I were to sell out of a certain line; I sold out of my Yorkshire coaster set last year after about the first two hours – I couldn’t believe it! Pinterest is amazing for getting ideas for how to style your stall on the day and my favourite place to go for display items is IKEA! It’s amazing how versatile some of their small storage is for a craft fair.

Lauren:

I cannot wait for the Etsy Made Local fair this year! I have been organising my stock for a few weeks now, getting ready for the big day! In the next few weeks leading to it, you will catch me making and designing on most weeknights, to make sure everything is ready to go. I like to make sure that all cards, prints and notebooks are packaged up and put to one side, so that I know that any sales I make leading up to the fair, wont be taken from craft fair stock. The items that take the longest to make are my nail decals and mugs, so they are something I like to make first!

Chloe:

This is the second year I’ve done the Etsy Made Local Leeds fair, last year I had no idea what to expect. There were SO many buyers there I felt very under prepared so this year I’m spending as many late nights and weekends at my sewing machine as I can! Lots of coffee, lots of lists and setting myself deadlines and trying to recruit friends to help me on the day. I work full time during the week so it’s hard fitting things in sometimes, but totally worth it when everything comes together.

Kate:

Lots of lists! There’s always so much to remember when you’re doing a craft fair, and I usually end up forgetting something! But the main things are to make sure you have enough stock, price labels, remember to get change from the bank and charge your card reader! Sometimes I set up a trial stall display on the kitchen table and sometimes I just make it up on the day (I would advise having some sort of plan though, it’s a lot less stressful that way!)

Laura:

I try and build up my stock levels over a few weeks, so I’ll make a few extra of the things I’m doing that day and put them away. It makes it a little bit easier, and hopefully means I don’t have loads to make a couple of days before the event!

PRODUCTS?

Chloe:

Pencil cases, make-up bags and coin purses mainly. They’re all handmade by me, from the design to the hand stamped tags. I’ve used some really really amazing vintage on my pieces this year too, I hope people love them.

Sophie:

I sell quite a wide range of products from colourful jewellery to accessories for your home or your desk, which can make designing a stall really tricky! My products are designed to add fun & silliness to your day with a handmade touch and there are perfect ‘I saw this and thought of you’ gifts for everyone you know, especially if they’re from Yorkshire or love a good cuppa! And who doesn’t?

Kate:

I will be selling prints, notebooks, mugs, colouring books, temporary tattoos, nail art stickers, badges, pocket mirrors and Christmas cards.

HOW DO YOU STAND OUT?

Chloe:

It’s hard to stand out amongst such talented people. I try and make my stall interesting and inviting, I really love putting it all together and I’m on the hunt for props all the time; vintage letter trays are my latest score. Cute signs, fairy lights and maybe a couple of plants too.

Kate:

The main thing I try to do is let my work speak for itself, try not to make my stall look too cluttered so people can focus on the items. The Etsy Leeds team all have quite different shops so it’s always going to be a really good mix of things.

Laura:

I think you’ve got to really get your brand across, both online and at markets. If you have a message behind your business, it’s important to make that really obvious; my brand is all about positivity, it’s very glittery and bright so I make that the main feature of my stall and my website. I think if you have a really good idea of the message you want to get across, you’ll stand out from everyone else.

OTHER MARKETS?

Lauren:

I had my first ever craft fair at the Northern Monk Brewery around a month ago, and had such a fantastic time. Sean and Carley from Northern Craft, were absolutely fantastic organisers, and I honestly couldn’t recommend them enough. The venue was brilliant and looked amazing on the day, and there was a constant stream of people for the entire 6 hours of the fair. I will definitely keep my eyes out for their next one!

Laura:

I’ve sold at a few events, I did Easy Made Local last year which was mega busy! I’d recommend comfortable shoes, lots of change and taking a helper!

Sophie:

I’ve been to loads of markets over the years, from tiny ones in church halls to huge events in your favourite local bars in Leeds. Recently Crafty Fox Market came up, from their hugely successful markets in London, to Leeds which brought some incredible sellers from all around the North to our amazing city. They’re setting up for a great Weekend of the Maker in Sheffield, so definitely pop over and check them out!

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LEEDS’ CRAFT SCENE?

Lauren:

The craft and art scene in Leeds is something I have only recently started to become involved in, and I am so glad that I did. A few months ago, I joined a group on Instagram called In Colourful Company. A group of awesome crafty girl bosses from all over the UK, who arrange meet ups in their local areas to check out the art and colour within their cities. A couple of weeks ago, I met up with around 15 others for the Leeds Colour Walk, and had one of the best days I have had in a long time. We all met at Leeds train station dressed in the brightest clothes we owned. From there, our lovely host Sarah (@geo_heaven) gave us all a tour around the city, showing us the highlights of the arts and craft world. To be around that many creative and inspiring women was a great experience, that until recently my anxiety had prevented me from having.

Laura:

It’s definitely growing. I’m from Sheffield, so I see quite a lot of it as an outsider looking in, and I’m always impressed by the support people in Leeds give to the events and markets. I see at least a couple being shared on social media every week, and new ones popping up all the time. It’s super exciting.

Sophie:

Absolutely freaking huge!! When you start out as an artist or designer it can feel quite lonely, especially if you’re working from home alone all day too, but if you take a step out of your comfort zone you will find pockets of creatives at every corner. There’s the likes of us at Etsy Team Leeds who are constantly welcoming new members (come and join!) to collective shops for selling your wares like Our Handmade Collective and co-working spaces like Duke Studios. If you’re a crafty soul, Leeds is an amazing place to be. Not only do these communities teach and learn, but you can also form the deepest friendships you will ever find too! I love to have a good gossip with my creative pals about the latest marketplace or new rules they keep throwing at us for selling… as well sharing our favourite places to go and ogle craft supplies!

ADVICE FOR NEW CRAFTERS?

Chloe:

Etsy Made Local is exclusive to Etsy local team members. Most cities have them, start a shop and join yours! It’s a really great community, of super supportive sellers with a huge range of expertise and experience to help people start or improve their shop. I put off selling my stuff for aggggesssss and it makes me sad thinking back because I love it so much now. If you have something you want to share with people, just go and do it!

Kate:

If you sell on Etsy already and aren’t a member of our team, I’d definitely recommend joining. We have regular meetings and also have a Facebook group which is really great for advice and support. Other than that I’d just research local craft fairs and visit them to see which are a fit for your work. Also it’s important to check that they’re well attended, small local fairs are great when you’re starting out, as long as they’re promoted well enough that customers turn up!

Laura:

Just do it! It seems daunting and scary, but the only way to get into it and get better at it is to do it. Find a community like Team Leeds and get all the help you can, there is so much support in the creative community that you don’t have to do it alone. We all started somewhere, it’s about learning and developing as you go along.

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Check out the Etsy Team Leeds Facebook event & Instagram.

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