Attending arts and craft fairs

Attending arts and craft fairs

So, after much thought and deliberation, you have decided to attend your first art and craft fair. Letís be honest, it is a big step. Well it was for me, as I was lacking in confidence putting my art out on display, thinking that people might want to buy it.
First step, what is your objective? What are you to trying to achieve? Why are you trying to achieve it? What would good look like? Yes, I have practiced project management for several years and I have a need to plan! My objective is to promote my artwork, promote interest and traffic to the website and online shop, perhaps sell a few items to pay for art supplies, meet like-minded people and have fun.
Next step visit craft fairs. The arts and craft marquee are always a must see for me at any agricultural show, markets, or Christmas fairs, so had some experience but from a customer perspective. Unfortunately, I had not taken much notice of the stall holders set up, how they displayed their stock, or considered the logistics. So, let us start with important things to consider:
Stall holders require insurance cover Ė public and products liability Ė usually up to £5 million. This is usually part of the terms and conditions. This costs about £35.00 per month. Yes, it was a bit of a shock to me as well.
Risk assessments are required for internal and external stalls. There are excellent examples online. Contact me and I will send you a copy of mine.
If you are selling food items or have any electrical equipment, ensure that you have the relevant paperwork and have covered all of the legal requirements.
Terms and conditions. Each art and craft fair will have their own and it is essential that you read the small print. They provide guidelines on setting up times, opening and closing of the fair, together with loading and unloading, parking availability, cancellation policy and so on.
Most fairs will have details available of attendance/footfall and also how they advertise the fair to pull in the customers. Popular fairs will have a waiting list which is worth joining, a late cancellation from a stall holder may be to your advantage.
Good fairs will have quotas for types of stalls to ensure there is a diverse range of stalls available, which means that you are not competing.
Costs involved. You will have costs of the stall to pay, together with travel and parking costs, donít forget that insurance and, cost of your stock. There will be set up costs to develop your stall e.g. tablecloths, equipment, and other display stands.
Let us discuss the size of your stall Ė how much space will you have? This really depends on the event you are attending. Most events in town halls, village halls etc provide a 7ft x 5ft space with a 6ft x 2ft table. You must work within this space as you will upset other stall holders and worst still, the organisers. Larger events will provide a 10ft x 10ft (3m x 3m) space that will you have to design and organise. Please see other blog post ďDesigning your arts and crafts stall.
Last point, logistics. Check location if itís the first time you are attending how long will it take you? Emergency numbers on your mobile if you encounter a problem. Check those T and Cs re loading and unloading, parking arrangements. For the bigger events, consider how will you transport your equipment and stock. I have a small trailer (belongs to husband). Ensure you arrive in good time to set up ready for the fair to open. Consider taking your own refreshments, especially if you are working alone. I have an Event Book that details each event and the above information, together with other useful notes.
Advertise! On social media, your website and other platforms. Tell people that you are attending these events, so they can come and meet you. Consider providing discount codes that people can use when buying from your website. This will enable you to track where your customers are coming from and what is working. Use these events to launch new products/artwork.
Phew! A great deal to consider but enjoy and have a brilliant time.

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