Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Setting up a craft fair

Like most of you reading this, I've been to a few craft fairs in my time. I've also had a stall at a few, but I've never set up, organised, and run one. Though I must admit I have wondered just how much work is involved. So when Teresa from Rustic Gifts told me she was planning to set up her very own craft fair I was keen to find out more.

Before I let you know what I found out - I should mention it's on Sunday 6th June at Cross Barn, Odiham, from 11am until 4pm and admission will be free.

So here are the questions I put to her......

Q First of all back to the beginning, why did you decide to set up your own craft fair as opposed to the easier option of just hiring a stall?

A I booked into a ‘craft and antiques fair’ in March and it was horrendous!  My table wasn’t ready when I arrived, there were only 7 other stalls and they were still charging people to get in! It would appear that they hadn’t advertised and there was nothing to indicate there was anything going on there at all.  About 20 people came in all day and they were mainly family of people with stalls.. I made a flip comment that I could run one better and it has snowballed from there really!

Q How did you decide on the location  - did you have any key criteria?

A Odiham seemed like an ideal location – it’s quite a buzzing little town with a lot of surrounding towns and villages and local events are well supported.  A friend mentioned The Cross Barn, a beautiful, restored barn it seems very in keeping with a craft fair and is just off the main High Street. It is also reasonably priced which means I have been able to keep down the price of the tables and not charge admission.

Q What does the marketing side involve?

A This is probably the most important thing – not a lot of point having stall holders and no one turning up because they don’t know it is on!

So far I have designed/built a website which is already listed on google and listed details of the craft fair on various websites with a link back to craftfair.org.uk. I have designed and printed posters and flyers, which I am sending to stall holders when I receive their booking forms and hoping that they will also advertise themselves.  I already have posters up in the Fleet area where I live and will be getting them up in the Odiham area – Cricket Club, Cross Barn, Post Office etc. I have also got someone taking them to the local RAF Camp and local playgroup.

Obviously I will also be advertising in local newspapers the week before the craft fair.

In addition I will be skulking around a few days before putting up posters on lampposts at roundabouts etc! I am also getting some wooden arrows to hand paint with ‘craft fair today’ so that it is well sign posted. 

Q How do you find stall holders?

A This is more difficult than you would think – I am trying to get as many different types of high quality craft as possible so have emailed people that I have met at other craft fairs with lovely crafts. Obviously some people are already booked up or have family commitments. 

I have also contacted people that I have found on Stallfinder.

Other people have found the website through google or listings and contacted me, but many are imported from abroad etc. which I have to turn down… oh and funny one from someone who had just bought an ice cream van… odd!

It is a slow process and you have to hold your nerve a bit but I have some lovely stalls already booked and I’m just looking for the last few bookings now, (only 4 spaces left).

Q What makes or breaks a craft fair?

A Firstly you need the people through the door, so advertising is very important!

It also needs to be easy to find, so plenty of signs around. I went over there again today to see where I could put up signs and have also got posters up in various places around the town.  They were great over there – no problem getting the posters put up at all.  The George Hotel on the High Street, a local cafĂ© and a lovely clothes shop (wish I could remember the names of them!).  They have also put one up at The Cross Barn, so a good mornings work!  Still lots of other places for them to go though and will be getting more printed over the next couple of days

A good mix of crafts is a must and I also think the layout can make a difference, no similar crafts together.

Free entry –  The majority of Craft Fairs charge admission and I think this puts quite a few people off. 

Good organisation – I already have a floor/table plan so I know where people are going to be on the day, and know what is still available. You can’t tell someone they can have lighting/wall space etc. and then find you can’t actually do that at the last minute.  Have had it done to me and it irritated me!

 If you want to find out any more about it, take a look at the website here.... http://craftfair.org.uk/


  1. All sounds very organised, I hope the event is a great success.

  2. I think 'mad' was probably the word you were looking for there:)...and if you saw my desk I don't think 'organised' would be the word that sprang to mind LOL


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