Selling at fairs

Selling at a fair or other event is a skill and like any other skill it take practice.

Before your first fair

Check out the competition

Before trying to sell at a fair, visit a few shows. This will enable you to see the quality and range  being sold by others.

Take time to speak to exhibitors and decide the type of fairs which might be the best place for you to market and sell your products. Consideration should be given to the number of visitors to each fair, the costs involved in exhibiting your work there and the quantity of goods that you will have to sell in order to make a profit.

Your stall

Think of your table as a small retail business. You will need to look into your legal requirements, like insurance for your products, to cover your liabilities and perhaps staff (paid or volunteers).

If you are booking a table that is 6ft by 2ft/3ft then you will need a  tablecloth of approximately 70/108 inches which will give you about an 18inch drop all round.

Whilst building up your business and developing your customer base, you should consider selling at a small number of fairs. By having a range of goods at various prices, you could sell larger numbers of less expensive items and a few more expensive items. Many people prefer to purchase goods using credit cards rather than cash or checks. Having a merchant account that enables you to take credit card payments will reduce the chance of you missing out on potential sales.

Get to the venue early

Give yourself enough time to setup, so that you are ready to sell as soon as the first person comes through the door. we recommend an hour before.

Do you need help

Setting up your stall at a fair can involve a lot of work and during a busy day you will probably want to take refreshment breaks. Consequently you should consider going with a friend or relative who can help you.

Things to bring along

Useful things to take with you include a calculator, stands on which to present your goods, and bags that your products can be carried home in. You should also take a sufficient quantity of your products with you for expected sales.

Signage

Make sure that you have clear signs that say what you sell, how much things cost and your contact details.

If you do not price your work clearly, people may walk away rather than asking the price.

Displaying products

Make sure that you display your products in a way that can be seen from a distance. Rather than having your product laying flat on a table, stand it up so that people do not need to walk right up to your table to see what you do.

Selling tips

Selling is a skill and you can get carried away. If someone is interested in a product, sell that rather than giving them lots of other choices. They will just get confused.

Smile, look happy, engage with people as they go past. If you have not done well in the morning, do not look unhappy in the afternoon, that may be when you make the most money.

If you are a crafter work on your craft at your table, people will be interested and ask you questions. Starting a dialogue with a potential customer, will lead to more sales. You will also be able to work during any quiet time to help build up your stock

Keep your area looking as good as you can. Clean up after people, rearrange your display once you make a sale. Think about what people will see first when they walk past your table. Attend a fair more than once. People will get to know and trust you.

Market yourself

As well as selling at fairs, it is the perfect opportunity to speak to both existing and potential customers.

If possible you should get business cards and contact details such as email addresses from people with which you could build mailing lists, to let people know about new products and fairs that you will be attending.

You should take marketing material with you that you can distribute to customers. Put one in every bag you hand out with a sale.

Listening to feedback from people that you meet at fairs could help you to develop your product range to meet demand.

After each visit to a fair you should calculate how much profit you have made.

By finding out which products earn you the most money, you can adjust your stock accordingly. With experience you will be able to decide which fairs are the most profitable for you to attend and schedule them into your calendar.

It is also worth considering how many sales you make as a result of your marketing efforts at each fair. Not just the sales on the day. If you get a regular customer from visiting a fair, it will help your business to grow.

In affect you are in the retail sector and exposure to the volume and quality of customer is vital. You are not going to get it right every time but when you do, it will give you the best possible chance of success.

Craft Kits

A lot of people would like to have a go. If your product is one that could be made into a kit, why not sell them to people who visit your stand but do not want to buy the finished product. You can brand your kit and include your contact details so that you can either sell them the finish product or more kits. It is a good way to get round the objection "I could make that myself".