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The craft fair and market season - nightmare or time to clean up?

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It’s that time again - every weekend there will be a craft fair, Artisan market or event taking place in the run up to Christmas and there will be plenty of organisers willing to take your hard earned cash - but will it give you the opportunity to sell your products and be worth your time?
 
As a product retailer it can be so difficult to find the right events to be at and set yourself up for success, and that’s all even before you find the confidence to talk to strangers and sell to them!
 
Having experienced both ends of the experience of fairs and shows, with my own business and supporting Worsley Gin as an exhibitor, and as an organiser of a busy and popular Christmas fair, I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to the whole fair process.
 
I’ve put together ten considerations for selecting what events you want to exhibit at, because it’s important to do your research so you don’t waste your money and your time...
 
  1. The Organisers. Are they professional events organisers or are there regular events happening from them. Are they an official business - check them out so you minimise the risk of being ripped off.
  2. Location. Fairs and markets which are organised out of town or without ample parking will naturally struggle for footfall compared to ones in prime locations.
  3. Type of venue. Will the venue attract your ideal client? If you are not sure what type of people are attracted to the event then ask the organisers - if they can’t answer with a decent knowledge of the demographic then they perhaps don’t know themselves.
  4. Marketing. Ask the organisers how they are marketing the event. Check out Eventbrite, Facebook and local boards to see if there are people already interested in the event. Do they have an advertising budget? How will they market you as part of the event?
  5. Pitch location. Find out what available stalls there are and think carefully about how footfall will progress through the venue. You don’t want to be at the end of a long queue of similar products, and you may not want to be near a draft!
  6. WiFi!!! It’s so important to know if you are going to have WiFi as this will let you know if you can take card payments and or link up to your website for customer sign ups.
  7. Set Up. Do you have ample time to set up and is there clear access to your pitch or will they provide support to help you unload?
  8. Pitch Set Up. Do the organisers provide tables and chairs? Do you have access to power, is there a storage area for excess stock?
  9. Other stall holders. Find out who else is exhibiting - this is crucial for knowing whether your brand will be a fit.
  10. SUMS!! See below for what to properly consider here.
 
The financial analysis is so important when considering any event. Here are the basics to calculate:
  • The cost of the pitch
  • The cost of travel (petrol and parking)
  • The cost of set up (if additional equipment is required for example)
  • The cost of your time
  • The cost of anyone you ask to help
  • Cost of refreshments during the event
  • Cost of stock
Once you have added this all up you can then calculate the volume of sales you need to break even for the event and you can assess whether it will be a good return for you.
 
We all want to make the best decisions for our business but we can also be guilty of making rash or rushed decisions without thinking through properly - hopefully this guide will give you some structure to your thoughts!
 
The next consideration is then to think about how you brand your stall or exhibition space - but that's a whole other blog post!
 
Have you been successful or burnt by fairs in the past?
 
 
Pamela Rae-Welsh is the owner and founder of Worsley Creative. Specialising in online visibility and SEO, Worsley Creative help ambitious entrepreneurs with levelling up in their business with stylish branding design, web design and digital marketing support. Pamela has a growing presence in Manchester with SEO services and has her family home in Oxfordshire. 

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