Are you looking to organise a craft fair?
With so many people looking for outlets to sell their handmade gifts, and shoppers looking for different and unique gifts – now is the perfect time to organise your own craft fair.
This is Bookastall’s guide on how to organise a great event.
Picking the right venue for your craft fair is super important. Firstly, you have to decide on what size of craft fair you wish to organise. I would definitely recommend something on the smaller size if it is your first one. Something like a village hall or local church would be perfect. Ideally somewhere that already has a community of people who use it.
You need to consider how people will get to your venue. How will your stallholders get all their goods there, and how will customers get there. There needs to be parking either on site or very close by. If you are in the middle of nowhere, your passing traffic will be limited. This isn’t necessarily a problem for something like a wedding fair. But a craft fair is a very different thing.
You need to think the things people will need while they are there. Does the venue have any bathrooms? Is there anywhere that they can get food/drink? (perhaps you have a stallholder who will cater for this). If you are outside, consider what will happen if the weather is bad. Is there somewhere inside that people could go?
Whether your craft fair is indoors or outdoors – choose your location carefully. A village hall in the middle of a sleepy village is probably not going to attract the customers that a town centre church might. Can your venue be seen from the street? Will you need to put signs and banners outside to attract people in? The cheapest venue is probably not going to be the best one for your craft fair. Make sure you go and check it out on foot to see how your craft fair will be seen by passing traffic. See where your banners might be able to go, and if you will need any floor standing signs anywhere nearby.
You also need to think about how many stallholders there are in your chosen area. Put the feelers out on some local Facebook pages. Try to pre-sell your idea before you commit to anything. The last thing you want is for you to have a great venue in a great area with no stallholders available to come.
Dates and durations will depend largely on your location and the nature of your event. If you are running a “normal” craft fair, a Saturday or Sunday lunchtime would probably work best. Perhaps four or five hours in duration. Much longer than that, people start to get tired, and they could run out of stock (although I’m pretty sure no-one would complain about that!!).
It’s worth checking whether you are holding your event over a special date such as Mother’s Day, or over a major sporting event like Wimbledon. How might this affect your craft fair? Perhaps it would make it a perfect time to hold your craft fair? You could also consider holding your craft fair when your local shopping centre is having a late night shopping event.
One thing to be careful of is to make sure your fair is not running later than the shops are open, if your are in a shopping location. Having once been to a craft fair on a Sunday which didn’t finish until 5pm (an hour after the high street closed), there was zero traffic after about 3.30pm.
When organising your craft fair, or any event, you should check your legal requirements. A lot of venues will ask you or your stallholders (or both) that they have Public Liability Insurance. This is generally a normal thing to ask of stallholders and most will have
it already. You will just need a copy of their Insurance Certificate. If you are having caterers or anyone serving food, they will have their own legal requirements. Make sure you do some research on this as well.
In addition to this, if you are holding any workshops or demonstrations, especially ones working with children, further insurance will be required.
You, as the organiser, have the right to refuse entry to any stallholder who does not have the correct paperwork. Of course, you should really see a copy before you let them pay for your event.
You should check with your local council to see if your craft fair requires a Market Operators Licence. These are normally required for an organiser who is organising an event at which goods are offered by more than one seller, for sale to the general public. Some charity events are exempt, but you should always check.
Now you’ve booked your venue, it’s now time to get your stallholders booked! You should take into account the amount you have spent on your venue, along with the amount you will need to spend on advertising to calculate how much to charge.
You should ensure that there is some profit in it for yourself. After all, you will be spending considerable hours arranging your craft fair. No stallholder is going to begrudge you making a little bit of money from it.
Will you be allowing hand crafters only, or will you consider having some people who sell products from direct marketing companies? There is no right or wrong answer to this, however you should always ensure that there is a good mix. Neither the customers nor the stallholders would want 50% of the stalls to be people selling jewellery, however nice it was!
You should also take into account how much your stallholders are likely to be prepared to pay for your craft fair. The amount they charge is going to have to come out of their profits, so charging £50 per table for a small village hall is probably going to be excessive. Wedding Fairs can normally command a higher price, however it still needs to be fair and justifiable. Stallholders need to feel like they are getting value for your craft fair. If you charge them a lot but get loads of footfall, then you most likely aren’t going to get anyone complaining.
Stallholders also need to see that you have put a lot of effort into advertising the craft fair. If they see your Facebook adverts, or if they hear your radio advert, then they will see that you are trying everything you can to make the craft fair a success.
Craft Fair Etiquette
It’s important to respect the work of other craft fair organisers, and to not step on anyone’s toes. That’s not to say that a bit of healthy competition wouldn’t be welcomed by local stallholders. Organising a craft event is not about making a few pounds from local crafters and leaving them to it on the day. You need to really care about your stallholders and do everything you can to make it a successful event for them. Remember that for a lot of stallholders, this is their livelihood. They pay their bills from the money they make at craft fairs.
You should introduce yourself to all of your stallholders when they arrive. Make it very clear who they are and offer them help if you can. It’s not a good idea to have your own stall at your own craft fair because it means that you will be limited in what help you can offer your other stallholders.
Perhaps you can offer to relieve them when they need a quick bathroom break. If you have the funds, offer your stallholders a complimentary cup of tea or a biscuit. Stand outside the venue and yell for people to come in if you have to! As a craft fair organiser, it is your duty to make the event as successful for your stallholders as possible.
If your stallholders want to leave early because you’ve had no customers, let them. However, if stallholders are packing up while there are still customers walking around, this is not good craft fair etiquette and I’d consider whether you want to allow them to one of your events again (unless there is a real reason why they have to leave early).
This is a really tricky part of organising a craft fair, and only a few get it right. The point of advertising is not to check a box to say you’ve done it. The point is to get as many customers through that door as possible.
Facebook is the obvious place to start. Advertise in your local group pages. This is free to do, and will help you fill stallholder spaces if you have any.
I wouldn’t generally recommend advertising in newspapers unless you can convince the editor for a freebie. It tends to be really expensive, and the number of people who read local papers is getting less and less.
This is a great way to advertise your event and it can often cost only a few pounds to put up a flyer in the window of the local hairdresser or charity shop. I’d advise starting this about a fortnight before your event to ensure that you aren’t paying a ridiculous amount, but that your advert gets seen by enough people.
Bookstall offers a text message marketing option. We have a whole database of hundreds of people who have asked to be informed of craft fairs in their area. For a small fee you can arrange for a text to be sent directly to those people who are in the same county of your event. Full details of this service can be found here
As with newspaper advertising, I wouldn’t recommend this approach. It can be really expensive to have all the flyers printed, and 90% of them will just end up in the bin. It will also take hours and hours of your time walking the streets to post them all through people’s letterboxes.
We would definitely recommend having a banner made up to advertise your event and have it placed outside your chosen venue. Be sure to check local planning regulations before you put it up though.
There is no right or wrong way of advertising your event. You could ask that your event is read out in the local church on the Sunday before your event. You could ask your local schools to mention it in their newsletter if they have one. Bookastall has some other advertising options that could be utilised.
On The Day
Remember, on the day you are responsible for the smooth running of your event. People will come to you with any issues so make sure you are on hand. Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged in case your stallholders call you. Have a small stash of supplies on hand to help people out. Some sticky tape, some pens, sticky tac are all useful things to have.
Towards the end of the craft fair, be sure to go and speak to your stallholders again. Ask if there is anything better you could have done. Feedback is priceless and will help you improve for your next craft fair. If your stallholders had a good craft fair, they will be likely to come back to your next one.
Always follow up with a polite text message or email to thank your stallholders for coming.
Do you have any other tips for arranging a successful craft fair? Let us know by commenting below. We would love to hear from you.