Welcome to chapter three of The Jewellery Boat Blog on preparing for craft fairs. Feeling nervous? Worried about running a stall? Anxious about talking to people? Perhaps bear this in mind.....as a stall-holder you are NOT the only person feeling this way! Think of your punters, they have been sent out with the unenviable and pressurised task of ticking off every name on their Christmas list with a suitable present. They arrive and are faced with a sea of eager stallholders "ready to pounce on them" the minute they get near the stall!
Now you know how that feels don't you? You've been there too, sidling up to the stall, avoiding eye contact with the stall-holder, creeping away when no-one is looking or praying for another customer to relieve you so you can make a quick escape?
Part of your role as a stall-holder is to make people feel at ease, where they can browse your stall without pressure and be interested in your work. It's your job to engage with them as one human being to another, (not as one hungry card reader to a potential credit card owner!)
How are you going to achieve this? Here's a few tips I have found that help. They don't always lead to sales, but do I find some people come back to buy and become my customers. Give them something positive to remember about you...they are people first, customers second, and people are so very interesting!
Here's 3 friendly tips to building your craft brand
7> Be friendly, engaging and interested in your customers. Smile and talk to people who approach your stall. Engage them in normal conversation, notice what they are wearing, perhaps ask them if they are makers too? It won't guarantee you sales, but it will give people a friendly welcome. Be prepared to talk about how you made things, the materials and techniques you have used. Customers love a story! Recently I told someone how I had printed a design with bubble-wrap onto the surface of some pink and purple aluminium earrings, she said, “Wow, that’s just fascinating! I’ll have to buy them!” (it turned into a "ker-ching"!) Remember to ask them to join your mailing list too so you can keep them informed of future events.
8> Join in with the social media to connect up to the event. There's nothing like a bit of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to promote the event. Engage with other stallholders' posts as well as your own. Be social-media-community-minded! Everyone benefits if there is a positive, mutually supportive vibe and a growing excitement on-line before the big day! If you aren't busy at any point, take some photos of the fair whilst it is going on and drum up some more custom....social media is an active muscle, it needs to be regularly flexed!
9> Visitors and punters very welcome! Make sure a friend visits when you are trading on your own so you can nip to the loo or take a short break whilst they cover. Take the opportunity to walk around, chat to other stall holders and see how they display their stalls. You will learn a lot from each other and begin build a network of crafty friendships and relationships.
And most of all, enjoy it! It will be a learning curve and you will get better at it each time, keep what works, change what doesn't! Be confident, be friendly and go for it! (Let me know how you get on!)
This is the end chapter three of The Jewellery Boat Blog series on preparing for Craft fairs. There is still much more to be said so I'd like to hear some of your best tips and wrinkles on ensuring a successful day. Do drop me a line or comment below. Coming up next week ......Countdown to Christmas - reporting back from Sunday 5th November's Fused Glass Decorations Course at Rainbow Glass Studios.