With only 14 days left until our next Fair (did you check our Facebook page competition to win free entry tickets?) we thought we would do a little round up on how we prepare for a fair or an event.
Our first event was in March 2015 and on the circuit we've made friends and met sellers who do up to 40 events a year (wow). We've only done about 10 but here is our top tips:
How much stock to take?
On our first show (a 5 day event) we started ordering tonnes of stock and moving all the gear to the show felt like moving a small house. It is difficult to predict how much stock you will sell and what the interest will be for your wares (even if it is perfect on paper the customer's money might be spent somewhere else) but now we would much rather sell out (and direct customers to our website (maybe with a special discount or free shipping as an incentive) than lug masses of products around the country.
Good light is important!
With the days getting shorter nothing is more important than casting a nice light on your products. Costs can be high or some shows provide free power plugs so it's always a fine balance in the budget. We are trying out some new LED spotlights at our next show so fingers crossed we'll save a lot of money in the long run.
Van + accommodation + petrol it all adds up
One of the reasons why we have decided to stay close to home is that shows are fun but can be very costly when you add all the other costs piling up such as accommodation (try and book shows close to your friends!), van rental (we invested in a roof box for our car another good reason to pack less stock!) and also meals and lunches out (sampling all the food vans goodies). Another danger is to spend all your profits at other traders stalls (because there are such lovely stuff!).
Have a kit bag and be prepared
Some shows will let you drill holes in the wall, but it can also be a no no or you can be setting up in a marquee with no partitions at all. Be prepared and read the show guide carefully! We have a kit bag that always contains all kings of cable ties, coat hanger, string, sellotape, a staple gun, all sizes of S hooks, price tags, business cards, credit card machine and charger (we use iZettle), paper and plastic bags, our cash box, a small stepladder and a screwdriver. This may sound like a lot but will save you a few McGiver moments when you are setting up in a middle of a field with no shops around.
Of course things are bound to go a bit wrong from time to time like when we forgot the roof of our gazebo, or the radiator brush stand or half of our stock... but fingers crossed we're getting better.
Trading at a Fair or a show can be long and tiring but it is also great fun to meet new customers, showcase your cool products and meet other traders.
Feel free to contact Elsie if you have any questions and come and visit us at a show in November (if you can) we'd love to see you.