Preparing for your first art / craft fair
This Saturday, I will be taking part in my third craft fair/ gift market. I’m very excited and feel pretty well prepared, as I have been working towards this one for the past couple of months. I’m still a bit nervous but I’m mostly just looking forward to meeting new people and talking about my art, and creativity in general.
I wanted to share three tips/ life lessons I’ve learnt along the way about craft fairs, that will hopefully inspire you if you have not done one before and am thinking about giving it a go…
1) It’s not all about the money
What is your main goal for your fair? Is it to make X amount of sales or profit? Is it to network with like minded people? Or is it just to see what the public has to say about your craft? I like to set a goal for every craft fair, but not a sales goal. This serves to keep me focused and also not get caught up on the monetary side of things. My main goal with my art isn’t to make tonnes of cash, it’s to spread the word that creativity cultivates joy so my goal is always based around networking and engaging with new people.
2) Don’t compare yourself to others
My first craft fair was last December, and I signed up without a huge amount of preparation time. I also had an extremely small budget to work with. The day of, I was so nervous that I wouldn’t be “good enough” and I felt like a bit of a fraud rocking up to set up my stall. I saw a dozen “proper” businesses, with fancy signage and expensive displays and I felt my heart sink. What the hell was I doing here? And then I took a deep breath, reminded myself that everyone starts somewhere and just got on with it! And I actually had a blast! No one is good at something new, that’s why it’s new and looking back now I do cringe a little at that first display but I also am so proud of how much I have learnt and achieved since then.
3) Friendliness goes a long way
I’m not a fan of the hard sell. But I am a fan of the the friendly smile. It might sound obvious, but I have seen stall owners look very bored, and not at all friendly, which has put me off looking closely at their wares. I always try to say to hello, accompanied by a big warm smile to everyone who comes up and lingers slightly at my stall. It shows them you’re open to conversation, friendly but not pushy. Generally, if you smile and say hello to someone, they’ll smile and say hello back. If it feels right, start a conversation. If it feels forced, just let them know to ask any questions and feel free to pick things up / have a browse etc. All my sales I have ever made started like this, and half the time I wasn’t even actively selling, just having a chat and talking about what I love with a like minded soul.
I hope these three tips have helped tackle any first time nerves or put your mind at ease :-)