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Has anyone out there had any experience of craft fairs? Any advice or tips would be very much appreciated.
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To do what?
We have a few photographers who have stands at craft fairs. Hopefully one will come along and share some info.
I would suggest it's important to know your audience and doing one will give you a feel for what works at that venue/location. It could be a useful way to gain market research if you're comfortable asking passing members of the public a few questions about their buying needs.
You could soon establish whether colour or black & white, framed or unframed, traditional or contemporary styles or preferred, and then gear up for a more targeted stall the next time.
I've visited many craft fairs over the years and the photography stalls always seem to attract viewers. turning them to buyers is the skilful bit. Many stalls I see are clearly stacked with pictures the photographer enjoyed taking and not necessarily what the viewer is interested in buying.
Quote: To do what?
Obviously never been to one then Brad!!!
Pete has already given some very good pointers in his reply.
Myself and my wife have been displaying and seeling at Craft fairs for a number of years, and I can honestly say thats its only now that we have got the format right. Although we are still tinkering with it all the time.
One of the most important things I feel, as Pete has mentioned, is to know your target audience and what would appeal most to them, we often have a stand in the Village Hall at the historic village of Lacock (the scene for a lot of the filming for BBC TV costume drama's) and for these fairs images of the historic buildings, local landmarks and scenes always do well.
At another regular show in a setting close to a RAF airbase, images of planes, old and new, fly off the stand (sorry for the pun), and obviously country fairs always require flora and fauna images aplenty.
Presentation is key as well, over time we have refined the way we present our images, starting off with greeting cards and basic 10 x 8 prints, gradually modifying the way we package those after getting feedback from purchasers who have come back to see us at different shows.
We have also listened to what new viewers have said at shows, and now offer images in different sizes and mount formats and taken note of requests for images that people would like.
Often I have put a shot that I really like on the stand and seen it get little or no attention at all, whilst an image of something simple that somebody at a previous show asked for, sell like hot cakes.
The look of your stand should also look as clean and professional as possible, with racks/stands/frames all having a uniform look to them.
A hotch potch appearence tends to distract from what may be stunning images.
Always have details of your website, if you have one, available at all times.
We always put a free postcard size thank you card in the bag when we sell an item, often we get follow ups through that.
We are still playing with our stand, recently we introduced a selection of fridge magnets showing our images on them so I hope this may prove to be a new range that does well, but we are still looking at new things.
I hope this helps.
I have visited a couple of craft fairs recently and am preparing to start some in the Spring.
At the moment I am concentrating on building my portfolio as well as printing, mounting, bagging and labelling everything.
I currently use DS Colour Labs for printing and but my mount kits (mount/backing board/bag) from eBay. My A4 ready to go costs about £2 each all in and my A3 about £3 all in, so a potential healthy profit could be made.
The question I have for Phil if he may oblige is - "where do you get your display stands from"? I have seen some stands that have a wire racking at the side and a table in the middle, but without being too nosy at the stall I couldn't really work out how the prints were displayed.
Thanks in advance for this and any other pointers.
Quote: We always put a free postcard size thank you card in the bag when we sell an item, often we get follow ups through that.
That's a brill idea!
We found our display stands for our greetings cards on ebay, I'm sorry to say that the name of the trader escapes me at the moment.
We get our mounts supplied through Cotswold Mounts, mount/backing board/bags and the costs work out about the same as your quoted price
Follow up to my last post, I have gone back through my ebay account to find the name of the trader which we got our stands from,
Hope this helps.
Quote: Obviously never been to one then Brad!!!
I have, both to photograph them and with a stall, that's why I asked.
I do a quite a few each year and most of the key points have been made. Some of things I have learnt:
- select your craft market with care. Unless you are very confident in selling your work and / or don't mind a gamble avoid some of the big expensive ones to start with
- on a similar vein, don't start out with a stack of expensively framed large pictures, rather go for nicely mounted examples covering a fair range of your work to suss out your market place (it will give a guide to future potential customers too and you can always discuss how they can get the images framed when you sell them the prints)
- with mounted prints stick to standard frame sizes - they sell better
- remember to take plenty of business cards, flyers of planned future markets etc
- talk to your customers, people really do buy from people they like and nothing puts a potential custmer off more than someone who skulks in the background and won't look at them. (BUT - don't be too pushy either!)
- if people get chatting, ask them what type of pictures they would like to see that you may not have
- have fun, potential customers notice your attitude and it encourages them to visit and chat
Thank you all for your very helpful input, particularly Phil,Pete,Brian and Michael, this information is very much appreciated. I will start printing mounted A4s and A3+ and a few greetings cards for starters with a view to exhibiting at a fair later this year or in the spring. Maybe we could start a group to swap notes and ideas?
Be prepared for early starts, long days, late finishes and bloody hard work.
Keep refreshing your stock also. The same people often frequent craft fairs month on month, updating your images will keep interest in your stall.
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