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Message: 'HiI make glass jewellery, slum...' with Replies

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  • Hi
    I make glass jewellery, slumped glass dishes and bottles, onglaze paintings and watercolours. Onglaze painting is my real passion but takes about a week to produce a finished piece as they need to be fired several times. My house is over run with stuff so I'm thinking of doing my first craft fair.
    Is a stand in the craft marquee at a county show likely to be as successful as a craft fair?
    Also is £160 a typical fee?
    What price range is most likely to sell, am I better off with less expensive items and leaving the fine art at home or should i have both on display?
    Thank you
    13 Mar '07 - 1.20pm
  • Your work sounds really interesting and commercial. In my experience, one of the biggest problems is finding a market for your products. No one else can do this for you, unless you know another maker with similar type products. Some 'craft' is easy to sell, but others struggle. Remember 'Craft' means many things to many people. There are so many different types of craft for example, that I think it's difficult to market them under one roof.
    In my experience the more you spend on space, does not equal more sales. It might, however, promote and showcase your products if there are lots of visitors. Sometimes relatively cheap events (£10+) can be good selling venues. I think it makes sense to start at this level and then spend more as you discover who is your customer (age, sex, type etc) and which products sell well and have a good profit margin. At County Shows there are lots of visitors, but only a few visit the craft marquee, and even fewer make a purchase. I think some of the big events, have too many attractions/distractions and visitors haven't enough time to see everything. Craft fairs, on the other hand are smaller, and attract people interested in all sort of crafts and handmade goods. However, that is the problem. The visitors won't always want to buy glass. Ideally you need a 'glass event', just as potfest is just about selling 'ceramics'. Sounds mad, but at least you know the visitors are paying to come and see and buy 'glass' and only glass.
    I would suggest you take a range of glass products to your first show, to find out your best seller. Don't forget to spend some time building an eye-catching display as this is really important if you want to add value to your products.
    17 Mar '07 - 9.08pm
  • Thank you LH for your reply. I've been looking at craft fairs over the weekend and was quite disappointed I'm afraid. There was a lot of imported jewellery, which I didn't expect to see or have to compete against.
    I'm trying to sell through my web site but so far it has been slow, is anyone having success selling this way?
    19 Mar '07 - 8.25am
  • Hi, very interesting thread. We've personally found some of the county and large agri shows to be excellent but have gone with our own stall in the more relaxed areas rather than the heaving trade stand areas. You often find that the craft marquees can be in a bit of a back water or it's too hot to go in them. But the main advantage is that they are hugely attended i.e. anything from 100,000-250,000. But as for your qoute of £160, it largely depends on if its a 3 day main county show. It looks like good value if that's the case. You can pay over £100 for electricity alone at some of these shows. However there are masses of very cheap events up and down the country. It's just a case of trial and error. Also worth dipping your toe in the e-commerce world. Lots of useful advice on ebay discussion forums and UK business forums etc.
    Good luck. LC
    24 Mar '07 - 10.23am
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