Sunday, June 08, 2008

Craft Fairs

I don't often sell my wares at craft fairs because I usually don't even get back the costs, but once or twice a year it's worth it because of the contacts I make and the selling experience as such (what items attract attention for example). Let me show you how I gear up for it without much extra costs (apart from traveling and the fee), using mainly curb finds and hand me downs. I use the few second hand items I bought for my Etsy shop as well, so those are worthwile investments.

Because I don't have a car and don't even drive I depend on public transport or a lift of others (and for this one, thanks to Julia Lomoro, check out here beautiful artwork here) to go to wherever the fair is (usually far out of of town) and I have to travel lightly. That limits my choice of display materials a bit and I can't take my dummies for example, but in the end I always manage to pack up everything in my two curb found super handy trolleys. Notice the one on the left is a real Samsonite, but the other one carries double the content.

This is just half of everything that came out of those two little suitcases! I'm not too happy about the polka dotted sheet I used as a table cover, as you can see all the stuff I have is such a splash of all sorts of colours already. It's a piece of cloth I took years ago from my mom's stock and the only one I could find that was four meters long! And I know I have a huge piece of purple viscose silk somewhere, but of course on the crucial moment I couldn't find it.
Never mind, let's move on. A pocket calculator is of course one of the things a salesperson can't do without. Not that I needed it for this market, but you never know, someone could just buy five items at once. Even if they don't cost much these days, every investment I don't have to make is one. I found this one in a box of toys.

For displaying earrings and necklaces I cut up a discarded conference presentation board up to fit in my suitcase and covered it with a piece of a curtain sample, also from my mom's stock. The board is made of a sort of hard foam covered with paper, so perfect to stick pins in to hang the pieces on.
To make the platform for my tea cozies, I simply covered the shoe boxes that I transport all the small stuff in with a nice piece of cloth. This is actually a small curtain from the fifties or sixties that a friend gave me a few years ago. Funny thing is the shoe boxes themselves are curb found! You see, I never buy new shoes. I usually get them from the thrift shop, but occasionally I find perfect fitting ones, just my style even in the trash. You can find a picture in this post. The pretty white teapot that goes with the red cozy is an original sixties Melitta pot in mint condition that I bought in a thrift shop for next to nothing.
Here's that curtain as a background for my new felted brooches.
To attract extra attention to certain brooches, I display them on sweaters or tops.
All reclaimed from the trash, some of which I also use for photographing my items. On top this nicely fills up the four meters of booth space!
You know funny thing is last year I even sold one of the sweaters (without the brooch)! I didn't mean to but the lady simply was in love with it!
But I actually sell some of the finds on purpose. Any really nice item that I can revamp somehow becomes 'handmade' and a proper item for my shop. Here's that cute clutch again I found on Queensday. I just exchanged the flower from the last photo.
This is the second used item I bought. I found it on Etsy. Being inked on the display head was so cheap it was even worth paying the fairly high shipping fee, which with the profitable dollar exchange (for me) made it still a better deal than I could get locally.
But all this Suzy Kin needed was a bit of (curb found) paint to be pretty again.
If you sells hats, earrings, necklaces and such you should have a mirror on your table. I would love to have a pretty hand mirror, but this ugly old make-up mirror serves the purpose just as well. And how do I make those dolls stand up? I just place them with one leg in a small glass soda bottle. The fashion dolls are curb finds as well. Like the clothes, I will sell them with the doll dresses if people are interested. These two are just some of the average models (and only one is a real Barbie) and I don't really mind parting with them. Which brings me to my upcoming guessing contest. The other day I counted all my found dolls, photographed them all together and came to the stunning number of 14 pieces! So I thought it would be a real fun idea to set up a little contest around them. After all, even if you're not a total Barbie fan (believe me I am not that type of girl at all), which girl has never played with them? I plan to post this coming Sunday, promise!


Anonymous said...

You are very creative! I don't know where you live, but I need to go curb shopping with you. I can't believe you got those two bags on the curb. ~Tricia

Cats-Rockin-Crochet said...

Oh thank you for this post of your's. I plan to do a craft market very soon. My kitchen table is about 6 foot and I am going to do a dummy set up on that. I plan to carry my stock in 40 litre plastic storage containers, which I can also use for display (I get these for free as they are seconds).The lids can double for display too. I love what you did to your head, what paint did you use? Cheers Cat.

Majuls said...

Your blog is awesome and your ideas are interesting and useful. I especially enjoyed your idea for displaying your "Barbie" dolls. Further, I am particularly happy to see the number of items you "rescue". Good showing. Glad you had fun even if the craft fair was not profitable.

Le-Chat said...

Tricia, believe it or not, those bags come in numbers and I don't have to walk far for them. Just saw one again last night.

Cat, I thought about you when I posted the link on HGTV, but wasn't sure if you had done the fair already or not. If you want some more business advise you can visit the craft fair section on I found a lot of useful tips there. This is the direct link:
Esp. the sticky threads are interesting

Majuls said...

Great ideas for displaying your materials. I especially enjoyed seeing how you displayed your Barbies (great idea for pop bottle use). I would imagine one could use plastic water bottles as well.

I am happy to see that you make good use of your "rescued" items.

Le-Chat said...

PS: thats simply acrylic wall paint.

Cats-Rockin-Crochet said...

Thanks for the links Kobus, I'm there looking now. Cheers Cat. P.s. I forgot to mention that your display looked lovely and clear.

svelteSTUFF said...

I'm going 'off topic', but I had to de-lurk a minute and thank you for your Great / Motivational blog!

I just finished my first 'plarn' bag - thanks to your site!!

Le-Chat said...

svelteSTUFF, that's fantastic news. Good to see you back here. LOVE the bag and thanks for linking to me and Cindy!

RecycleCindy said...

What finds you have made! Loved all the interesting items you shared with us on your craft fair adventure.

Cats-Rockin-Crochet said...

Have you seen this at all?

I am speechless, I'd love to learn it.

Anonymous said...

Great ideas! It took me some trial and error to come up with my display but I finally got one that I liked and it didn't break my bank account.
Creative genius at it's best...great blog!

Joy said...

Hi, Nice blog! I love your tips and the little brooch is lovely.

Anonymous said...

I like those earrings very much,they are very colorful.