The highs and lows of selling craft – a behind the stall perspective

Yesterday I spent the day sitting behind a stall at a craft fair. ¬†Financially it was not successful for me – I failed to make back the fee for hiring a table ūüôĀ ¬† ¬†But, being a bit of a seasoned stall holder now, I have managed to keep a glass-half-full attitude and not take my lack of sales as an indication that my wares are of little worth!

My less than perfect stall arrangement - it's a while since I've done an indoor craft fair!
My less than perfect stall arrangement – it’s a while since I’ve done an indoor craft fair!

I have found craft fairs to be very hit-and-miss affairs.  Sometimes the footfall (number of potential customers through the door) does not reflect the sales achieved but on most occasions the two are closely linked.  The fair yesterday was a regular event held in a hotel Рthough the first time I had ever attended Рand it was so, so quiet!  Very few people walked through the three rooms where 15 stall holders had decorated their tables with a great variety of crafts.   In fact my only sale of the day occurred just as I began to prepare my boxes for packing away!

What did I gain from six hours sat behind my stall? Well…

  • I finished sewing the binding to the sawtooth star table runner! Yeah!

 

Completed Sawtooth Star tablerunner.
Completed Sawtooth Star tablerunner.
  • I got to know the five other stall holders I shared the room with. ¬†They were a fairly typical mix of stallholders I’ve met and observed in several years of sitting behind stalls: hobbyists seeking to make a small profit to put back into their hobby; people with restricted mobility who have developed crafting skills to occupy long spells indoors and enjoy the social aspects of regular craft fairs; and, definitely in the minority, enthusiastic entrepreneurs just setting out with a new money-making product.
  • I even had a couple of hours to make good progress on the hand quilting of a cushion cover that has been in danger of slipping from a ‘work in progress’ to an ‘un-finished object’ as I’ve picked it up and put it down again far too often!

 

Just some quilting to be added to the corner squares...
Just some quilting to be added to the corner squares…
  • I made the most of the tea making facilities provided for stall-holders, treated myself to a slab of homemade chocolate brownie bought from a cake stall ūüôā and flicked through a couple of quilt magazines a kind Aunt had passed on to me – very relaxing!
  • I reflected that lack of sales at this venue means I won’t have a ‘stock crisis’ before the next craft fair – which is only a week away!

As days go it was not so bad… but I am left wondering about the effectiveness of craft fairs (or at least the majority I can afford to participate in). ¬†There seem to be nearly as many people keen to sell their crafts as there are people ready to buy handicrafts! I’m wondering how to find the right market place for patchwork and quilted goods? Good quality fabric and wadding are not cheap! ¬†Is it just me or is it generally true that finding customers ready to appreciate unique, crafted items and to pay an appropriate price for them seems pretty difficult? ¬†Where do people like that do their shopping?

But careful – the glass can easily become half-empty at this point! ¬†Remember the pleasure in designing and in making and the joy of finishing a project! ¬†Remember God is creative and having been made in His image how can we not be content and at peace as we use God-given creativity whether it be in stitching, gardening, writing, dancing, making music…?
Keep enjoying the process!

Allison

 

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