Monday, 10 December 2012

My first Christmas Fair

Although this was my first fair as a seller I've organised and taken part in many fairs over the years as a teacher and PTA member.  But it's very different when you're on the other side of table trying to earn money for yourself!
The venue Mar Lodge near Braemar is a National Trust property.  It's a country house originally built as a sporting lodge in Victorian times. It can be used for functions and events.
When we arrived we were told to pick a table.  All the local folk had bagged the downstairs area so I had to go upstairs to the panelled landing.  It was a lovely setting but very dark!  It took us ages to work out how to use my lovely new camera but I managed to take some pics.

First layout of my stall.  When I stood back it looked too cluttered so it got re arranged several more times after this! I didn't take any more as customers started to arrive.

With the baskets removed

My lovely mum and aunt knitted these wee Christmas puddings.  They have a well known chocolate inside ;-)

Heart cushion.  I nearly sold this but the lady dithered (good Scottish word!) and said she'd think about it and come back.  She didn't!

Star cushion.  Really thought I'd sell this one.

In the end I sold 4 wee brooches, a star tree decoration and loads of the wee knitted decs.  Total made was £53.  Not a huge amount for 4 hours but the table was free.  I handed out a few business cards so maybe I'll get some commissions at a later stage. And I can add a National Trust Christmas Fair to my CV.

But the best part of the day was talking to 2 of the other stall holders.  They were so generous with their advice.  I learned loads of practical tips about setting up my stall (battery powered fairy lights, bunting in the textile you're selling, display boxes/shelves) and got amazing business advice to take my stuff to the next level.

They both talked about how you can never predict what will be a good fair (in the sense of making money) Weather, location or time of year don't seem to be indicators of potential customers or how much they will spend.

The lady next to me made items in Harris Tweed (phone covers, keyrings etc) She has been trading for just 18 months.  She was featured in Country Living magazine and sells her products throughout the UK!!  Like me she works from home and has turned a hobby into a thriving business.

I am seriously considering her advice.  Scary yet exciting at the same time :-)

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