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One down, one to go

Yesterday evening I did my first craft market for around four years at the local Community College to raise funds for the PTFA. I had forgotten how great it was to have face to face feedback from people looking at my creations. An overwhelming amount of sales just proves that what I do is, well, alright.

When you are a crafter it is often a very solitary isolated life. You work away at home on your creations not really knowing what others think. Our friends and family may feel obliged to be kind so when strangers who don't know you and who don't need to bother to even stop and look at what you have made stop and enthuse about it, that is what being a crafter is all about. Etsy is a fantastic platform but things get lost within the huge amount of beautiful things for sale. I am the first to admit that marketing is not a strong point of mine. My confidence in general has taken a massive hit over the past year or so with non-craft related things so I am forever doubting. Last night has boosted my self belief massively. I doubted whether I had made enough when looking around at the very well stocked other stalls but it is just me that does the making and I'd rather sell everything (like the stunning cake stall next to me) than be left with lots. I think I pitched it just right.

The other great thing about last night was meeting fellow craft people that I have followed on social media for a while. Putting an actual face to the name and the product was really lovely. Its that interaction that we have all missed with various lockdowns and I think it makes those encounters so much more meaningful. I overheard quite a few shoppers that they follow me on Facebook or Instagram and had seen some of my items in the making. Its nice for them to put a person behind the brand.

And yes I do now have to get making for my next craft market on 18 December here in Cullompton but I am doing it with market research and sales knowledge of what people are liking. Christmas trees both hanging and standing did really well, as did the large baubles. So its onward with more making over the next few weeks.

So if you're reading this and make things but are unsure about doing a craft market my advice is do it.

  • Pick it carefully. somewhere local and have a look at the other stall holders and see what they are making and their prices. You can then make and sell to fit in with the dynamic. I compare my items to similar in Etsy to get a feeling for the right price point.

  • A whole day craft market is, for me anyway, really tiring, a few hours for the first one is ideal.

  • I also like to sit and crochet whilst at the stand, it brings people in and they are interested in what you are doing. It also means when its a bit quiet you're not just sat there doing nothing but being productive. I know that might be difficult for some crafts but I've always found it makes a difference.

  • Practice setting out your stall at home, check the size of the table you have. It will save you heaps of time in setting up if you know the basics of how you want it to look. Items at different levels and clear prices.

  • If you don't sell much don't be disheartened because what you will walk away with is a greater understanding of your product(s), what people like and what people are prepared to pay. Pricing any creativity is a minefield, it is near on impossible to charge by the hour for making but you do need to cover your costs. Its very much a give it a go situation.

  • Having a business card even in these social media days means that even if someone doesn't buy on that day they know who you are and may well become a future customer. There are lots of online printers you can get some made up relatively cheaply.

  • Consider getting a card reader. This has been a really great investment for me. I had never had one before and always had to manage getting together a cash float. I think people will tend to buy more if they can use their card. Have a shop around for one that fits with your financial set up. I have a Zettle card reader by PayPal because I have a business account with them. The costs charged for both the reader and the percentage taken for each sale seems to very much the same across most makes, its a matter of finding one that fits you.

  • Have someone with you or arrange for someone to drop in and give you the chance of a loo break and fresh air. I had my daughter this time and she was great at bagging items whilst I took care of payments, she also kept the stall looking nice and helped with setting up and packing away.

These are just a few things that I have done each time. It is daunting putting yourself out there but as a crafter it is so worth the personal contact with people.

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