So as you'll have probably noticed (either from reading on here or following me on social media) this past weekend was Renegade Craft Fair. Weeks of manically making things and preparing my display ended with a fantastic weekend in the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane.
In the few days leading up to the fair, my lovely helper Jamie was having problems with a painful trapped nerve, and with the knowledge that we needed to get all my stock, displays and a shelving unit from our house to central London on public transport, I was getting a bit worried we weren't going to make it!
But we did! We left extra early, with well-packed bags, stayed calm, and made it to the venue with plenty of time to get ready!
Setting up is one of my favourite parts about a craft fair, I love choosing where everything is going to go and seeing all my hard work come together. On this occasion I brought one of our shelving units to give some extra height, and bought a new plant and some beautiful flowers to brighten up the stall.
I had planned out the majority of my stall layout on the day before, so I didn't have any stresses trying to find room for everything on the day!
My first sale of the day was one of my new colouring books. It had a unicorn on the cover and that pretty much set the tone for the whole weekend. Unicorn themed items were by far my best seller! I ran out of the unicorn greetings cards on the first day, and luckily found some more to bring in for the Sunday, and all but one of those sold out too! The unicorns weren't originally part of my plan for my new range, but I originally designed the card because of a promise to some friends that I would send them something with a unicorn on it. I'm very glad as I did as they've definitely been a hit, and lots of people complimented the business cards too (which are also adorned with a unicorn!)
I did manage to fit in a few quick walks around the fair (thanks to my wonderful helper, thank you Jamie!) but I struggled to choose what to spend my money on, everything was so lovely! In the end I bought some pencils from Oh Squirrel, and a Peach & Almond scented candle from East Wick (it was lovely to meet you both!).
Everyone was really friendly, and we had some great booth neighbours including Kymberly from Fitzygogo and Laura from Goodnight Boutique. I met lots of lovely people when I walked around the fair, and bumped into some friendly faces form past events too. The atmosphere throughout the fair was fantastic, fun and friendly, made even better by the sun shining through the windows all weekend!
I wanted to share a few tips for anyone who might be taking part in a craft fair in the future. I haven't done too many and I'm no expert but I definitely learned a few things over the weekend:
- Plan your time leading up to fair thoroughly.
I made endless to-do lists, sketches and plans for everything I needed to get done. But the main thing I did was to aim to finish a day earlier than I needed to, which allowed me the last day to get everything packed, and relax a little before the fair, so I arrived on the Saturday morning feeling calm and ready for the weekend!
- Also plan your layout.
Even if you end up completely changing everything when you get there. Having a plan can help you to make sure everything is going to fit, and help you to know what display items you need to take (to avoid carrying things you don't need/ being without something you do need) and how to design your signage/price tickets.
- Take plenty of change.
This one is pretty self explanatory, but definitely make sure you do it. I took quite a big float, which was plenty on the first day, but by the end of the Sunday I only had a few £1 coins left and had to ask my booth neighbour Kymberly for some more change!
- Accept card payments, and advertise it.
In the lead up to the fair I couldn't decide whether or not to get a card reader as they can be a bit of an investment, but I definitely didn't want to have to turn away any customers. Luckily, a few weeks before the fair I spotted an advert for a free one form iZettle, so signed up right away! Its quite a basic one, and it has to be connected to the phone via a cable, but it works perfectly well and I didn't have any problems all weekend. You can add products to your account before hand to save you having to type in the amount each time, and it allows you to send a receipt via e-mail if the customer wants one!
I'd definitely recommend getting one, and if you do then make sure you advertise it on your stall! Some people don't like to ask things, so if they can't see that you accept card payments, they may just assume you don't and walk away without buying anything!
- Make a tally chart for your sales.
From what I've seen, a lot of people take a note book and write down the name and price of each item that they sell. This works pretty well but if you have a rush of customers it can be hard to keep track, and writing it all down quickly can end with illegible scrawls all over the page! My alternative to this is to create a tally chart. In the first column I list all the products and their prices (which also serves as a reminder if you forget them at any point!), then a wide column for the tally, and two more columns to fill in at the end with the total number and value (then at the end just add all those together to see what you've made!)
I've done this at past events too and its always worked for me. You can also see at a quick glance at any time during the day which products are selling best, and if you need to move anything around or re-stock something.
- Smile and have a good time!
I smiled and said hello to every customer who stopped to look at my work, and everyone smiled and said hello back! As I mentioned before its a great atmosphere at these events, so make sure you enjoy it!
Before I end this post I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who came to the fair, said hello, bought something form me or complimented my work. And also another big thank you to Jamie for staying with me all weekend, supplying me with food and drinks (and being in charge of the clipboard and tally chart!) And thanks to mum and dad for the lift home (and saving us from taking the shelving unit on the tube again) and the celebratory meal out on Sunday evening.
I had a fantastic weekend and I'll definitely be applying to do it all again in November (I've already got lots of ideas!!)
PS. I didn't manage to take any pictures of other stalls but there are lots of lovely things to see under the #renegadecraftfair or #renegadelondon hashtags on Instagram and Twitter.