Craft Fair Growth
We’ve been going out and selling our jewellery at craft fairs for several years now and have developed our ranges of jewellery and associated product lines to the point that we need more space than is normally offered by a single stall in any fair. The stall size is normally based on a 6 foot long table, sometimes the traditional fold-up table found in church halls and community centres and sometimes trestle tables. These will be provided by the organiser who will also arrange for shelter in the form of a hall or a marquee.
As our product range has grown, a single table is simply not enough to show our goodies at their best, so the next option is to book two tables. Obviously, this normally costs double the rent for a single space.
Moving Out Of The Marquee
Some craft fair organisers are able to rent outside space to crafters to set up their own tables. Indeed there are some hardy souls who trade in the open air.
We’re not made of such stern stuff. We decided that if we are to venture outside the secure confines of the marquee, we needed shelter and some security, so we bit the proverbial bullet and bought a gazebo.
We have also had to provide our own tables and everything else that we discovered that we needed.
The Plus Side
But the biggest advantage of our gazebo is space. In 3 x 3 metres, we now have three tables, mobile workshop space for making and customising jewellery and storage for stock and components while still having enough space for the two of us.
The Down Side
There are, of course a few disadvantages. Firstly, our car now has to transport even more to the fairs. Then there is the extra time it takes to erect the gazebo and set out three tables of stock. We have several 5:00am starts and that takes some commitment.
Then there’s the need to increase our stock (and product ranges) to fill this extra space. We were really keen to make the stall stand out by having visual impact from a distance; something that is difficult to do with earrings and necklaces! So we have added scarf hangers and scarves to our craft fair stock, further increasing the load on the car.
One thing that we miss is the constant chat between stallholders when we are hidden away behind the canvas walls. It’s pretty well essential to have two of us at each fair so that we can have that contact, but also to allow coffee and loo breaks.
We have learned some important lessons during the first few craft fairs with the gazebo:
- Our gazebo is blue, which can sometimes feel a bit gloomy inside. Eventually we want to get a white or silver roof and walls.
- We wanted to have a strong “brand presence”, so we bought a large banner. This also reflects light and helps to overcome the issue of the blue roof and walls.
- Wind can be a gazebo’s worst enemy. We have had to pack up and leave a fair because the gazebo was in real danger of being blown away. Since then we have added extra weights to hold the gazebo in place – some made of cast iron, and some filled with a total of 50kg of sand.
- Planning the way that the car is loaded is essential to ensure that the gazebo comes out first and goes in last.
The gazebo has proved to be a great addition to our business. It’s early days to see how much it affects our sales, but the opportunity to display so much of our jewellery and to expand the ranges of things that we can offer.