Monday, 29 November 2010

The curse of the craft fair continues.....

This weekend I shared a stall with my friend Nikki at the craft fair at Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire. I try not to go to a craft fair with too many expectations as you never quite know how the day is going to go. But I think I was fairly hopefully that it was going to be a good one, as it was at a National Trust property, last year they had over 5,000 visitors, the stall fee was much more than I would normally pay, it was a two day event and its Christmas shopping time. So I think I was hoping we would do ok.

We woke up on Saturday to snow, although I am a fan of snow and still get excited by it, I wished it could have waited a few days. We managed to get to Kedleston Hall without too many problems although we did have a little incident trying to turn round in front of the hall and got a little stuck. But the hall and grounds looked beautiful and it all felt very christmassy.

Our stall was in the stable block and although it was very cold at least we weren't outside like some people. Saturday seemed very quiet, but I still sold a few a bits. I presume the snow put quite a few people off. So we went home on Saturday trying to remain positive and hoping Sunday would be better. When we arrived on Sunday and were relived to see that the roads were much better. But Sunday was so strange, its was really busy, but only sold one thing! I know many of the other stall holders were having similar experiences, but that doesn't really help.

I am experienced enough to know that not every craft fair will be a success, but I was thoroughly disappointed and it does make you questions your products, packaging, how you have displayed everything and if you are actually good enough.

But on a more positive note, I was really happy with our stall and personally thought it looked great and I had a really good laugh and it was lovely spending a weekend with a friend I don't get to see too much. So it wasn't all bad!

I have also been thinking maybe I need to choose the fairs that I do more carefully, but until you do it you never know what its going to be like, but I think in future I will try and stick to more contemporary fairs, where everything on sale is handmade. It does bug me when something is described as a craft fair, but half the things on sale are not handmade or have been brought it (there was someone selling Cath Kidston products!)

We're doing another one on the Sunday 5th December at the Warwick Exhibition Centre, I'm trying to go with limited expectation, but I have my fingers crossed that it will be a better experience for both of us, I think we both need a bit of a boost.

*I have some better stall photo's which I will show later in the week, these were just taken on my phone.


  1. Your stall looks gorgeous! I'm sorry that you didn't have a successful weekend. I am doing a two day fair at a NT property this coming weekend too! I'm sure next week will be better for you, you're right, you can never tell, sometimes they are awful and sometimes they are fantastic, but it's not about your products, they're lovely.

  2. Craft fairs are a mystery - you're right.And there are so many factors. Weather, other stalls (non-handmade bugs me too), the kind of people, what they're looking for on that day...the list is endless. I guess you have to define the market you are aiming at - who is most likely to buy your work (age/sex/income bracket etc) and then research where they shop. It may not be markets at all....I know that my felt is not really for the average market. I had a similar experience to you last year....half of the stalls were retailers not crafters/artists and that was the deathknoll for me.
    I'm still looking, but have found my most successful outlet is an up-market gallery not a Christmas market at all.
    Anyway, hope next weekend goes better.

  3. Your stall looked really fab. Craft fairs are just so variable aren't they? Ours was badly affected by the snow in Saturday but, like you, we still had a fab time :-)
    A x

  4. Don't question your products...they are great. From my experience, any craft fair that is part of another reason that people are there ie supporting a charity event, school event, or enjoying a day out at a stately home , are generally not good. Ones that are simply shopping events seem to me to be the way forward, particularly ones where everyone there is a maker/designer and everyone is selling at the same price target.

    Good luck at the next one and hope you find one that works for you