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doing my first fair, any advice?

(17 Posts)
fiddlemethis Sat 02-Mar-13 07:04:09

Hello all, I am signed up to do my first fair next week! Do you have any advice for me, especially for displaying goods? I sell wooden and crochet toys. The problem is I am doing it all on a budget! I'm going to order some business cards and a banner, I figure these are pretty important. Can you think of anything obvious I might not be thinking about, I'm pretty nervous but excited too smile

InMySpareTime Sat 02-Mar-13 07:30:41

Price labels and a price list, a cash box and a float.
A flask of tea/coffee and some lunch so you don't need to leave the stall for long.
Order forms so if people want something you don't have on the day you can post it out.
Somewhere for people to write email addresses/FB details if they want to find out about future fairs etc.

DolomitesDonkey Sat 02-Mar-13 08:07:35

What do you want out of it? Is this an on-going business? If yes make it of paramount importance that you deliver the "customer experience", be personable and with every sale pop a business card into the bag which contains the URL of your easy-to-navigate website.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Sat 02-Mar-13 14:03:50

Congrats, sounds exciting.

Do you mean a printed pop up banner? Just make sure the important info is towards the top, as it is likely to sit behind you, so middle down might not be visable.

I'd also think about the table. So tablecloth, a sign along the tablecloth which hangs down at the front and a way to elevate some of your most eye catching things. Doesn't need to be posh proper shop displays, could be some boxes with material drapped over or nice looking gift boxes (eg paperchase) upside down. Maybe google to get picture inspiration from others that have done that.

If your vibe is homemade/crafty what about hand written labels with your website address on them? Tied on with ribbon or rustic looking string.

Again on same theme paper bags to put items in. You could stapple your card on or stamp your website address on.

Maybe offer a prize draw in return for address details, might encourage them moreso and gives you something to say to them etc.

If you are on social media and/or have a customer list promote the fact you are going to the fair to them and you can always mention after too.

Take pics of your stand, you never know when they will come in useful.

Good luck. Do update with how it goes.

DolomitesDonkey Sat 02-Mar-13 16:17:36

Given the timing I would be ALL over Mother's Day and get a banner for that.

RedPencils Sat 02-Mar-13 16:21:21

Are your products something that you can demonstrate producing on the stalls? People might be more likely to browse if they can watch first knowing that uoure not about to pounce for the hard sell.

fiddlemethis Tue 05-Mar-13 20:48:43

Hi all, sorry for the delay, I've been rushed off my feet! I am selling toys, mostly wooden with some crochet and knitted thrown in too. This is an ongoing business so I will be taking your advice Dolomitesdonkey and have ordered some business cards to pop into bags. I have managed to buy some nice material from the charity shop for my table so I'm pleased with that and I've purchased a few odds cheaply to make a little garden display with my knitted toys. I am also thinking of doing an alternative easter gifts section so have borrowed my mums small daffodil plants and bought some little chicks to put about the place.

greatwork Tue 05-Mar-13 23:00:26

I have been an exhibitor at several fairs over the last few years - each one I do, I get a little better (when I think back to the first one I am blush blush blush by how unprofessional I looked). But the key thing is to look at other people's displays and learn from them.

If you are displaying things then height is important rather than just a flat table (think something like a pyramid of steps). So collect cardboard boxes of various sizes, pile them up, and cover them in material.

I also use A1 size posters (printed from A4 size at a local copy shop), framed in very cheap frames from hobbycraft, and hung up behind me. Or if there is no hanging space, I bought very cheap art easels (again from hobbycraft) and placed my framed posters on them.

The most important thing is getting you 'patter' right. What question(s) will you ask as people are walking past? How will you engage them in conversation? Maybe something like "have you bought your mothers' day yet?" And know what kind of things you will say to tell people about your work "everything is handmade from sustainably sourced wood......" again, you will get better and better at this as the day goes on, and with every fair that you do.

And whatever you do say, the most engaging thing is your excitement and genuine enthusiasm. So step outside your comfort zone, go filled with bags of energy, and enjoy yourself. And learn, and do something even better next time.

soaccidentprone Tue 05-Mar-13 23:16:00

plenty of change! you don't want your first couple of customers to clean you out and then be stuck.

do you have a brand - even if it is just a simple logo you could stamp on the paper bags you'll put the items in.

make friends with another at all holder for when you need the loo.

price tags or price list.

attractive displays, different price ranges.

snacks and drinks - you may not get much time to eat, so foods which don't make a mess and are easy to eat.

maybe have a competition - you'll get lots of people's details.

introduce yourself to the organisers when you get there and tell them it's your first fair and is there anything you particularly need to know.

check what time you are allowed to set up and take down, and what time the fair runs from and too.

check whether you get a table and chair supplied.

look well groomed, but not so immaculate that you are off putting. remember to smile.

put on your Facebook page that you are attending the event, and maybe e-mail any previous clients to let them know where they can find you to buy your new items.

good luckgrin

fiddlemethis Fri 08-Mar-13 20:12:57

Thanks everyone, its the night before and I think I am pretty prepared. I even had a run through on a sheet the size of the table and took a photo so I can set it out the same again. Managed to label most but have the labels written out to stick on tomorrow. Just need to make myself look presentable and make some food for tomorrow and I'm done. Thank you all for taking time to give me your tips.

InMySpareTime Sat 09-Mar-13 07:42:28

Good luck today, hope it all goes well! Perhaps take a notebook to write down any good ideas you see on other stalls, or take photos of what works well/what needs improvement, and review the day later.

ethelb Sat 09-Mar-13 23:49:59

How did it go?

DolomitesDonkey Sun 10-Mar-13 09:14:06

Another one here eagerly awaiting your news! smile

fiddlemethis Sun 10-Mar-13 20:33:01

Oh sorry! I am here now, it went very well and it was actually quite good fun. I was very nervous in the van on the way but as soon as I'd sold my first item I settled into it fine and found I could actually talk quite alot about the products I sell. Quite gutted to miss out on a £50 sale because I don't take card but ho hum.
I ended up selling about £130 worth of toys, I think thats quite good but I don't really have much to compare it to. I have got the bug now though and have been emailing like a mad thing to all the events where products like mine might fit in!
I defo know some things I would do differently next time and took a little notebook to write down lots of ideas and the lovely lady on the stall next to me told me about some upcoming fairs she is going to that I might fit in quite well with. All in all, a great success! Thank you all of you for your words of advice.

DolomitesDonkey Mon 11-Mar-13 15:21:09

Oh well done you! 130 quid isn't bad first time out of the blocks is it? And of course now you know what's going to sell and you sound like you've got tons of confidence! smile

Titchyboomboom Mon 11-Mar-13 15:33:06

I wish someone had said to me, please don't take it too hard if it is a bit slow... It all tends to depend on advertising of the fair. I had some shockers, but have now learnt to research my fairs more

Titchyboomboom Mon 11-Mar-13 15:37:48

Wow 130 of toys is fantastic!!! Well done

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