Craft fairs are one of the main sales channels for designers and makers. Together with the markets and stores, they are the perfect place to put into practice the direct sale of your products. Although it may generate some shame or some fear, they are the perfect showcase to test your products, to know the opinion of your clients or to exchange impressions with other artisans or artists. Therefore, we encourage you to lose your fear and assist them by following these tips.
Fair or market?
Fairs are events convened for one or several days per year. This approach allows concentrating all the activity in a few days or hours. They can be framed under a theme (eg Medieval, period, ceramic, contemporary design, ..) or included in a cycle of local activities (city festivals, concerts, festivals). In any case, you must be clear that the fairs are an opportunity to achieve visibility. Also, you can connect with your followers or attract them with your products. Companies know this, so it is a good opportunity to contact suppliers, distributors or establish relationships with a brand. Or, why not, evaluate collaboration with other artisans or artists.
On the other hand, markets are more oriented to sell, they are organized for several days per year and the public is much more diverse. It is a complementary way that can contribute income in a stable manner. The best option is to combine both, as long as the budget and the dates allow it.
Participate in a fair or market can bring prestige. But remember: it is important that you advise yourself well before registering. Unfortunately, there are many well-promoted but poorly organized fairs, where you probably sell very little or the attendees just go for a walk. To avoid this, ask other artisans who have participated in previous editions. Whether they are going to repeat or not, their reasons can guide you.
In summary, our advice is that you strategically choose where and when you want to attend. If you are starting, try to find nearby fairs. In this way, you will reduce risks and costs, in addition to being able to exploit the value your products.
Before going to the craftsmen’s fair
If you have already begun to investigate and select the fairs you want to go to, it is time to organize. The first thing is to know the dates, both of its celebration and the registration period. It is likely that when you want to make the request they inform you that all the places are already occupied or they put you on the waiting list. Do not despair or throw in the towel. You can insist, talk personally with the organization or emphasize the innovativeness of your product to get them to listen to you. If you can not access all of them, you can always look to negotiate a shared stand with an already registered artisan. At the end of the day, we all appreciate sharing expenses.
On the other hand, you should ask about the price of the stand (it is ok to compare it with other fairs / results) and what rights and duties it includes. At this point should be detailed: the location, furniture, light availability, lighting, wifi, type of terrain (inclined or flat, dirt floor, cobblestones, …), schedule of assembly and disassembly, access to load / unload and if exists some aesthetic requirement that affects the stand or the clothing.
Also, ask what happens with the fair if it rains or the wind is strong, if there is vigilance to prevent vandalism or theft (very important if the fair of several days), if the charges will be made by you or the clients should go to a central cashier, what telephone number there is in case of having a serious problem and if the event is finally cancelled, what happens with the registered ones.
In the next post we will discuss the preparations and steps to follow during and after the fair. Meanwhile, we leave you an article that we published some time ago and that can surely help you: 8 tips to succeed in an artisan fair.