• Word of mouth is an incredibly powerful thing. If a friend recommends you to a friend of theirs, then it’s a real boost and they automatically have confidence in you.
• Be confident. This is often easier said than done. Always speak positively about your work. Do not point out your flaws etc. Try the approach of ~ I will only say positive things!
• Carry around samples, business cards or leaflets. Leaflets are incredibly good. They are easy to make and cheap to pint on your own computer. Use your corporate imaging, include photos and explanations of all the things you do. Contact details again must be there.
They are also great to send out with orders as they give the overall about you.
They can be updated and printed often in short runs allowing you to have the latest info each time.
• Local interest groups: like the WI and ladies circles etc are always on the look out for local speakers. They are great events to do. You basically have 45mins to an hour of self promotion, demonstration and get to hand out leaflets to a captive audience. They do tend to book a whole years events in advance, so bookings can be a long time off. I already have bookings well into 2011. (and what’s more you get paid!)
• Craft fairs: Craft fairs in the UK are on the whole a poor event. You can not just go to one and expect people to buy. Like all things, there are good and bad. Good organizers monitor the type of stalls allowed. They promote (but as a stall holder, you should also spread the word!) they make sure that there is a good footfall (that the event is not somewhere with no passing people) but they cannot make people take money from their wallets. You should always ask the following:
1. Will there be bought in products as well ? ~ Avon, Virgin Vie, Tupperware, Phoenix cards really do not belong at a craft fair. They sell mass produced good and undermine the nature of the handcrafter and handmade product.
2. How many of each craft will there be? I once attended a craft fait with 30 stall, 16 of which were jewellery and 6 were cards. That is bad organizing and means that the consumer is overwhelmed by the same items
Sometimes it can be very hard to be accepted into craft fairs because of the nature of your product. It can be tempting to go for any you can get into, but it can be extremely demoralizing to attend a poor fair. There are plenty of crafters that sit in fairs all day and don’t even make their stall money back.
You should always check out the organizers by Googling their name, or going on to http://www.craftsforum.co.uk/ and asking or searching the site for details.
• Local producers markets: these are regular markets and if you can get into one then over time, you will build up a regular cliental. There are often stringent requirements and these should always be adhered to.
I attend a local farmers market and it’s not merely the sales that matter, but the potential for attracting business. It’s important to engage the people at the stall, you have to learn when to speak and when to stand back, but this comes with experience!
• I also write projects for craft magazines and it’s wonderful to see your self in print. It’s also a talking point and a selling point and gives you credibility as a crafter.