Sunday, 21 September 2014

Craft Fair Virgin: Getting Ready for My First Craft Fair

It's been a rush! I've been back at work for a few weeks now, and when the work day is done I head home to cut and fold and glue hundreds of paper flowers for my very first craft fair!

I've been invited by Seaway Valley Artisans to participate in their Gathering of Artisans in Baie d'UrfĂ© on October 18th and 19th. I was delighted to accept their invitation, but since it's my first fair I've had a lot of questions:
  • How will I get my products there safely?
  • How much inventory should I bring?
  • How should I decorate my booth?
  • How will I promote my work at my booth?
  • How will I package my products for customers?
  • How do I accept payments? 
Initially I had a lot of first time jitters, but now I feel better that I've sorted out what I'm going to do. I started with the booth decorations.

I looked through Winners, Target, and Sears for a tablecloth of the right size. It's a tall order, since the table they'll be giving me is eight feet long. I finally ended up going to Linen Tablecloth online to find exactly what I was looking for. I ordered a hemlock coloured table cloth, since that colour goes well with my logo.

Next, I decided that I wanted a banner that matches my blog header and my business cards. Lucky for me, Vistaprint is having a sale this weekend! Using Gimp, I designed a banner and uploaded it to Vistaprint. I should have it by next week. (I'm planning to write a tutorial on how to use Gimp to design your own logos, business cards, and so on!)

The banner I designed using Gimp

Although I have a number of larger projects finished, by searching through the Etsy forums I discovered that the majority of sales come from smaller items, so I'll be aiming to create as many little things as possible, such as earrings, tiny bouquets, and Christmas ornaments. 

As for taking payments, I went ahead and ordered a Square Reader. I haven't used it in a sales setting yet, but so far I am incredibly pleased with it! I ordered the device, which was free, and downloaded the free app onto my phone. Now I'll be able to accept credit card payments from customers. So handy!

The Square Reader

As for everything else, I've decided to enjoy the experience and learn as much as possible. I hope to continue doing fairs for a long time to come, so this first one will be a chance for me to break myself in, see what other makers are doing, and join in the community of artisans here in Montreal that has so far been so welcoming!

Image courtesy of Orin Zebest

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