At this time of year many businesses selling handmade goods or gift-related items are busy attending sales events. Emma Maudsley, the creative mind and hands behind SockMonkeyEmporium, gives her advice on preparing for and making the most of such events.
One of the most exciting parts of being a crafter is being able to get out and about at craft fairs. These could be as simple as a school fete or as complex as a major event at a historic house or football stadium. You can find information about events in your area through various internet sites – stick it in Google and see what comes up.
There is normally a fee involved in taking part; make sure you know what is being provided for you – the table is usually provided but not all events include chairs, especially if you need more than one. If you need access to electricity you should certainly ask the event organisers if you can be placed in a suitable space.
Also, be sure that the fee involved is a figure you feel you can afford. I have been offered tables at events ranging in price from £10 to £100 and I price it by monkeys – £10 is one monkey. If I don’t feel I would sell more than 10 monkeys at an event then I certainly wouldn’t be paying a £100 fee.
Preparation is everything
Find something with which to cover your table as they are usually of the wooden trestle variety and not overly attractive. I use a 3-metre length of black crushed velvet which covers a wide variety of tables with ease. If you are new to craft fairs why not practise setting up your stall on your coffee table?
Check over your stock and make sure it is priced – there is nothing worse than having to ask the individual price of everything.
You are aiming for a display that is attractive – you want people to stop and browse your stall. Too many people wander around craft fairs not really looking at what is before them – make sure they notice you!
If you have a banner or business cards make sure they are packed. You will also need somewhere safe to keep your money and make sure you take some change as your first customer is guaranteed to show up with a £20 note. Suitable-sized bags (paper or plastic) are also a great idea.
At the event
Once you arrive and have found your table, get yourself set up and organised. I’m normally ready before the fair opens so I have a little nosy around the other stalls. Crafters are your friends – swap business cards and find each other on Facebook; you never know when you might need them!
Once those doors open, be on your stall and ready to say hello – I’ve worked in retail all my life and you have to make contact with people. I tend to say “They’re all made from socks” and that normally brings them over. Once you have them, chat, explain and demonstrate. People are fascinated by things they can’t do.
I always take some monkeys to make while I’m there and that can attract people over too and it shows that I really do make them.
If people don’t buy something, I always make sure they take a business card. For all the sales that you do make, keep a note so that you have a record for your paperwork.
After the event
When the event is over, hopefully you won’t have much to pack away. Leave your space tidy and thank the organiser – you may want to book with them again and politeness goes a long way. Head for home, put your feet up and have a well-deserved brew.
Fancy a sock monkey? You can find Emma at