‘I do not envy a craft fair organisers job, it’s tough! You have to keep everybody happy, book the right kind of stall, do the right kind of advertising, choose the right venue, set the right tone for the fair and attract the masses! that’s a rough gig!
Over my time doing craft fairs and markets I have seen some things work great and others not work at all so here is my insight as a rather seasoned stall holder.
Book the right venue- it really helps to have a venue that is central to town or on a main road. This helps get the flow in foot traffic of other people who are already in town that didn’t already know about the market. If your venue Is slightly out of town you do run the risk of less foot traffic. Venues with one main space work much better than a venue with lots of different rooms. If the venue consists if more than one room make sure it is clearly advertised so shoppers know to check it out!
Book the right kind of stalls- the best markets often have the same calibre of stall holders. If you want a boutique looking market investigate who your potential stallholders are before you book them. Exclusively handmade markets are usually really popular with handmade crafts people, it means that we aren’t going to have the competition of cheap imported products. If you are wanting a fair that allows imported and second hand goods make sure you limit them to a certain number there is nothing worse than being a handmade craft stall holder being surrounded by obnoxious animal onesies and blow up toys.
Reach out- if you aren’t attracting the kind of stall holder you want at your market reach out to them! We love getting invitations to new exciting events. It can also be a great idea to go to other craft fairs to scope out the local talent! Be sure to take details and business cards and follow up via email or phone rather than trying to pitch your event to them on the spot. This is something I really dislike, it is really hard to hold a conversation with someone about a market when you are working at your stall, I don’t carry my diary with me so I am unable to tell you if I am available on that date. Also it can annoy the market organisers of the market you are at as it can be seen as poaching and I for one don’t really want a confrontation I front of my market stall. (This has happened and was extremely awkward!!)
The right price- the cost of a market is probably one of the biggest decisions you will make as an organiser. This of course is how you are going to cover your overheads and also make your profit! Every situation is completely different and it varies from city to city but here is what a stall cost translates to me as a stallholder. Too cheap- you’re not doing enough marketing and you’re not going to draw the kinds of crowds that I need to make a profit. Too expensive- and I will think about the having to cover all of my overheads plus a high stall fee and my chances of making a decent profit are probably quite small. When I’m considering doing a market I take into consideration the location, the time of day, the level of marketing and also travel expenses and other overheads like accommodation etc.
Organisation- this is a pretty major one! There is probably nothing worse than showing up to a venue and not knowing where to set up your site. Worse still is when you can’t find any organisers to help you find it. The best events for organisation that I have been to have been run by charities and other community groups and committees, there helpers are always wearing some kind of identification so you can spot them in a crowd, they usually have some kind of usher to show you where to park your car and the communication prior to the market is always really good too.
Payment- when you are booking stall holders it is great to offer more than one kind of payment option. I like to be able to do everything online, stall applications, payment- the lot. But a lot of the markets I do you have to print and post back application forms with a cheque. I don’t own a cheque book I probably know 2 people who have cheque books! For me this is a bit of a hassle so offering a PayPal or direct credit option as well makes things so much easier!
Other sites- make sure you have a great range of other vendors at your markets and fairs depending on the size. Coffee carts, food trucks, even cupcake stands have proved popular at fairs I have been to. Having food keeps people around longer! Even better if you can have a spot set up with tables and chairs for people to eat and drink at to minimise the people walking around with fingers covered in tomato sauce!
I really think I could go on forever about what I like and dislike about markets, like I said I will never be running one myself. But I guess the main points are.
Marketing-don’t rely on facebook alone.
Planning- plan your stall map out in the flesh. Leave some room between the stalls for the stall holders to move in and out.
Communication- communicate well with your vendors, dress up in fluoro jackets or bright hats so they know where to find you on the day.
Price-do it carefully!
All the best planning your market!