In the May 2013 issue of Craft Business I appear in the Retail Clinic section answering the following question “I’d like to start selling some of my products at craft fairs and markets, but not sure the best way to go about it. Can you help?” I posted the picture about and a few people asked me what my answer was. Well here it is.
- Make sure you know your rights as well as the rights of the consumer. Unlike distance selling, customers do not have the right to a cooling-off period.
- Ensure you have appropriate public liability insurance.
- What other businesses are exhibiting, what products are for sale – the organiser will be able to give you an exhibitor list. It’s important to determine whether is it truly craft makers or will there be sellers with mass produced goods, as this could affect your sales as they will be able to sell at a much lower premium to you..
- Location – is it in a well populated area? What’s the footfall like? Is there adequate parking for visitors? Go and check it out so you can see these for yourself – pretend you are a potential customer, would you travel to this location?
- Size of the room, is the fair expected to be full of traders? A half empty room can make you look lost, and potential customers will be put off. Where abouts are you positioned in the room – are a table and chair provided?
- Signage & advertising – how many leaflets are being distributed and where? Is it targeted or random? Will it be advertised in the local newspapers? Are there visible posters around the venue? But also find out if it is listed online – in this technological age, people will Google to find events.
- Tailor your stock to appeal to the audience the event is marketed at, make sure you have a range of products with varying prices. A couple of expensive items £20+ some medium items £10+ and then lots under £5, as these will appeal to children and quick token gifts, stocking fillers etc.
These are the points I raised. Do you agree? Disagree or have something to add?
This adapted from my book Crafting a Successful Small Business – available from numerous book shops on and offline.