Saturday, 10 October 2009

Craft Fairs and Arts Markets

One of the most satisfying ways to sell your art is direct to the public and the most popular way is through craft fairs and art markets. Craft fair organiser Deborah de Brunner shares some details of her life as a promoter of artists and artisans in Yorkshire, UK.

"What is better than making something you dreamt up and someone wants to buy it? Or you see someone in the street carrying your handbag, the one made with your own fair hands? I have only been doing it a year and hope that that thrill won’t go away. But of course if you make things you need somewhere to sell them so you can start all over again.

"I enthusiastically turned up at my first craft fair, spent ages arranging and pricing and finally looked around to see mass-produced goods and some handmade things but handmade in the Philippines! I was so disappointed and that led to a discussion with a friend, which led to us setting up our craft fair business “made-it”.

"Our philosophy is to run “real” craft fairs strictly with only handmade goods which are sold by the maker. We also aim to look after our stallholders by offering friendly, efficient service with some level of exclusivity (who wants to turn up and find 5 similar stalls?). The quality of goods on sale and a good mix of stalls are important to us. We also make coffees, carry bags and do whatever we can to make it an enjoyable day. We even put ourselves on to the streets with a sign to drum up trade and put up with the same jokes and occasional rude comments from passers by. How devoted to our stallholders are we?!

"If I had to give advice to exhibitors I would say to really consider the presentation of their goods, use different heights, lighting, a good background cloth and make their prices obvious. People wander by and need something attractive to make them stop. Notice where people tend to look first and put your strongest product there or even a product that makes people smile and can lead to conversation. I would also exhibit at the same venue a few times to build up relationships with regular customers and to get a feel for what sells best there. The strongest advice though is to “sell” your things…our stallholders who put in the most usually gain the most. It can make you feel a bit self-conscious at first but you’ll soon enjoy it. Smile, chat and be enthusiastic about your craft.

"At the moment we are doing fairs in Harrogate and Wetherby but hope to spread our wings further a field soon. You can find out more about us or contact us at Made-it".

1 comment:

  1. What you are trying to do with bring artists & crafts people together without the imported nonsense is just what is needed. I stopped doing "juried" event because so many of them were letting in mass produced items. Hope the show organizers realize this is killing the people who actually do create all of their work!