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Category: Handmade and Handmakers

  1. 10 great reasons to buy handmade

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    10 great reasons to buy handmade

    1.  Originality:

    You are buying something original, not mass-produced, made by a person not a machine.

    2. Thoughtfulness

    When you are buying a gift, you are showing the recipient that you have really thought about them and what they would love; you have found something which is original and just for them; and you can be sure that they won’t be receiving the same thing from anybody else.

    Happiness is Handmade

     

    3.Sustainability:

    In these days of caring about sustainability, you know EXACTLY where your purchase has come from.  You don’t have to worry about the working conditions of the person producing it.

    4. Support:

    You are supporting an individual and not a multi-national company – and you can guarantee that your purchase is going to be a thousand times more appreciated!

    5.Quality:

    Handmade is made with love, care and thought.  Think this is trite?  All the makers I know put a maximum amount of effort into making every item to the best of their ability; they take great care to ensure they are producing items of the highest quality; and they have thought about what they are producing and why.

    6. Value for money:

    If you think handmade is going to be more expensive than the mass-produced, think again.  There are very few makers who charge fully for their time; their quality control is likely to be off the scale; and they make their products to be cherished and to last.  The price tag may be a little higher, but you will  be getting SO much more for your money.

    7. Personalisation

    If you see a maker's work and love it, but it's not quite what you are looking for, speak to them.  It is likely that they will be happy and able to make a bespoke item JUST for you.

    You cant buy love

    8. Individuality:

    Even if you are buying an item which is not a one-off, each one you buy will be individual and slightly different, because they are handmade by a person.   Buying handmade also allows you to express YOUR individuality and ensure you stand out from the crowd rather than follow the herd!

    9. Story:

    Something you have pulled off the shelf in a high street store doesn’t have a story behind it, whereas handmade does.  If you buy in person you can ask the maker about their process and if you buy online you can read about their inspiring story.

     

    10. Ease of purchase:

    When you are looking for a gorgeous product, either for yourself, your home or for a gift, why not turn to Etsy, Folksy or Not on the High Street rather than other well-known websites?  The sellers’ terms and conditions are all there to see and it can take no more effort than a few clicks on the keyboard. Alternatively shopping at quality craft fairs and handmade shops is infinitely more pleasurable than fighting your way down the high street in your local town.

    Why not pop over to my shop to see the handmade items I carefully make or follow my Facebook page to see my new products and those of the makers I love?

     

     

     

  2. What to Expect as a first time Exhibitor at a Craft Fair

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    First time exhibitor title

     

    Are you about the take the plunge and exhibit at your first craft fair?  It can be a nerve-wracking step to take, especially if you make your own products and are ‘putting yourself out there’ for the first time.

     You have done your research and picked your ideal fair (‘How to Choose a Craft Fair’); you have decided how you are setting up your table (‘Craft a better Craft stall’) but what should you expect from your first (and subsequent) craft fair?

     

    When you get there

    Make sure you give yourself enough time to set-up so you are ready to go at opening time and are not feeling frazzled right at the start of the day.

    Once you are all set up, take a moment to introduce yourself to the stall-holders on either side of you.  If they are also first-timers, they will most likely be feeling as nervous as you, and if they are old hands, they will be able to offer you reassurance and friendly advice.

     What not to expect

    • I often hear that new stall-holders are disappointed right from the start of the day, because they expect the doors to open and the buyers to flood in.  Unless you have paid several hundred pounds to be at a premium shopping event (eg the Frost Fair at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire), this is unlikely to be the case.  You are more likely to see small waves of people throughout the day.  It may be that there are quiet times (in my experience there is often a lunch-time lull) and busier times.  Your perception of whether a fair is quiet or busy is often determined by how much you sell, not by the actual numbers of people that come through the doors.   It is essential to remain cheerful and engaged (even if you are feeling deflated) because nobody wants to approach a miserable-looking stall-holder!
    •  Don’t expect to sell out

    We would all love to go to a fair and come home having completely sold out of all of our stock.  Other than the odd food stall, I have never known this to happen.  If it were to happen, it would probably mean that you had severely understocked!

     

    How to think of fairs

    First and foremost it is natural to see fairs as a selling opportunity. 

    uk cash

    However, it is important to see them as much more than this.

    •  Market research

    Whether you are only just starting out, or if you sell online, fairs give you the perfect opportunity to meet your customers or prospective customers.  I am not an advocate of pouncing on people when they are browsing, but if they are interested and ready to chat, why not explain a bit about your products and engage them in conversation to find out what they like on your stall – you may learn a lot.

    People only buy

     

    • Marketing

    One of the first lessons in marketing is ‘people only buy from people they know, like and trust.’  Even if you sell NOTHING in your first fair, do not despair, particularly if you sell products which are a little more expensive or not an impulse buy.  I think it is a great idea to do the same fair at least three times before writing it off (this particularly applies if other stall-holders find it a successful fair for them).  It may be that somebody sees your products, goes away to think about it and comes back to buy them at the next fair.  It is always essential to have a business card (or even better a flyer or leaflet), so that those who need to think about it, can order from you later (don’t forget to say what you do on your business card because if you just have your business name, people might forget when they find it in their pocket a week later)!

     

    • Think of Christmas

    Many crafters will attend the same craft fair throughout the year, so customers are familiar with their products when it comes to Christmas shopping time.  They may do little more than break even for most of the year, but their Christmas sales will make it all worthwhile.  Many organisers will offer stalls to their regulars before opening up to other sellers and the Christmas fairs are always sold out first.  A little investment earlier in the year can pay dividends come the festive season!

    christmas presents

     

    • Networking

    I know this is a word that strikes dread into the heart of many, but one of the things that I find most enjoyable about attending craft fairs, is meeting the other stall-holders.  The fairs I attend regularly have the most supportive, helpful, friendly bunch of (mostly) women I have had the good fortune to come across.  Most stall-holders will happy to share the benefit of their experience and offer advice about many aspects of your business if requested.  They also make the day pass a lot faster during those quiet moments, if you build a rapport!

     In conclusion, keep going!  You may have to experiment a little to find your ideal audience or client base but if you find a well-run fair with lots of repeat stall-holders stick at it for a while.  You may just find that somebody saw your products on your first visit and has come back to buy something on your second visit because their friend has a birthday, daughter now needs one or they had a think about it and just have to have it in their home!

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