Sunday, 26 December 2010

Craft Fairs - the good, the bad, and the shipped in from China

Yeah, I thought it was about time I wrote another post! It's been a while hasn't it?

So what have all you lovely people been up to? I mean, apart from the Christmas thing - I hope you all had a lovely time with your friends and family by the way.

I have been feeling much more sociable than usual, which has helped me keep my sanity at the Crafts Fairs I took part in recently. Last time I blogged I said I had one more show to do, which was more of an Arts and Craft Fair. It was very quiet there, and I didn't sell as much as I had hoped, but I did better than the two previous exhibitions put together! But it was mainly those little dishes that sold.

It was very dark in the Tithe Barn, but at least it was warm (once they closed the door!) and we had free hot drinks.

After that I still had so many pieces that I made a last minute decision to take part in an Arts and Craft Fair in another town. It was a disaster. I thought the first one was quiet, but this one was completely dead. I sold less than £10 worth of stuff in a whole day. This was a more expensive venue as well - £25 a day, compared to £15 for the last one. And there were no hot drinks as we had been promised. As if that wasn't bad enough, the organiser decided that we should pack up early. Some of us wanted to stay for the full amount of time we had paid for, but what choice do you have when most of the others have packed up and gone home? Anyone walking through the door at that point would think the Fair was over anyway.

It was much brighter in the Guildhall, and it is a beautiful building, but it was freezing and we had no hot drinks.

The organiser offered me a free table for the next day, and an extra one (since so many people had pulled out) to do a demonstration. It was the second day that my social skills were really put to the test! For some reason, even though I was sitting right next to my table of wares, people didn't connect the two. I have no idea what they thought I was doing! My friend Anita helped me out that day, and we both had to keep explaining to people that I was demonstrating how I make my pieces. Some people were impressed, but many were just confused!

It was busier that day, but still quiet. And I sold less than £10 again. To top it off I also got a parking ticket, after being told by the organiser that parking was free!

This is how I felt after two days of freezing my butt off for less than £20, which didn't even cover the cost of the hot drinks and food I had to buy, not to mention the parking, the table, and the parking ticket! And I didn't even shout at anyone! It's an unfinished squirrel by the way, with no ears, no arms and no tail.

The thing that really niggled me at this event was that many of the people there were not selling handmade goods, or at least, not made by themselves. One lady shipped her leather bound hand made paper books in from India, and the stall advertising "Hand made Leather Bags" shipped them in from Morocco. There was also a stall selling boots, which I'm guessing the lady didn't hand stitch herself, likewise with the childrens hard backed books. The same was true for the lady selling cards, and the lady selling toys, and the lady selling dog treats... in fact, after talking to so many stall holders who just shipped their stock in from elsewhere, by the second day I gave up asking "Did you make these yourself?" and replaced it with "Did you ship this in from somewhere?". Apart from myself, there was only the jam lady, the cake lady, the knitting girls, the felt decorations lady, and another lady with hand made decorations that brought in their own hand made stuff. And not all of those were there both days! No wonder people looked confused by my demonstration!

So, the good points were that at the first Craft Fair I managed to get rid of sell that Ivy Vase with the glaze that didn't crack, and the leaf that broke. I explained to the customer about the glued on leaf, and she wanted it anyway. Mind you, she is my counsellor! Does that sale count??

Another highlight was swapping pendants for home made cake :) I did this at both Fairs.

And of course, doing a demonstration was definitely a highlight, and a first for me, even if it did leave people confused! Having my hands in clay that day definitely helped to keep me sane!

Next Post: The year in review and my goals for 2011.