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Smithy

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Hi I have been doing a lot of Christmas Fairs here in Normandy and was wondering how other people are finding business. For me business has not been bad but I have the feeling that people are still being very careful with their money.

Mike
 

MMUK

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I don't think its a case of being careful with money. I think a lot of the problem is that people just don't appreciate the price tag of handmade items any more. They are so used to seeing things dirt cheap - mainly thanks to mass production in the Far East and our market being flooded with throw away items for pennies. People still don't realise that for the cost of your handmade item for £100, it will last ten times longer (if not even longer) than a £15 mass produced item. All they see is initial cost, not lifetime cost.
 

tekno.mage

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I did a very small local craft fair last weekend and took twice as much as I expected. Mainly it was small "stocking filler" items like lightpulls that sold but I'm not complaining as I also sold a couple of more expensive bowls as well :) People are being careful with their money, but around here it seems they would rather buy a smaller, less expensive hand made item than something mass produced.
 

Chippygeoff

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I agree with MMUK. I do 2 craft fairs a week. People are not spending like they used to although I still do very well. I sometimes say to people that they are at a craft fair and not the local pound shop. My best sellers are name signs, I keep the price reasonable and sell lots of them. For many people Christmas is a time when they cannot spend much on presents, if at all.
 

AndyMenz

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I was at the Bath Christmas market this year and sadly had my lowest takings yet. My prices are a lot lower than a lot of the stalls there (much is overpriced there) but still it was tough, depsite bigger crowds than ever. What I have found also, is that there are less craftsmen there, each year, as food and wine huts take over. Understandable I suppose, as these are the ones that make money!

http://www.theguardian.com/world/20...mas-markets-backlash-funfairs-toys?CMP=twt_gu
 

bugbear

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Speaking as an occasional craft fair buyer, I get annoyed at people who think I should pay more because something is hand made.

I pay for quality of product.

I don't much care wether you achieve this by time-honed skill, an ingenious and unique process, or because you've invested a fortune in CNC.

BugBear
 

heatherw

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I did my second ever local craft fair last weekend, and takings were disappointing, to say the least, not just for me but for nearly everybody. Last year was reasonable, and I was hoping to improve, but nearly all of us took just about enough to cover the stall fee - just as well I'd made some little puzzles at 2 and 4€ which were what sold. However, the stall next to me did quite well, they were selling hand made Polish slippers made from sheepskin at 16€, the product was right and the price was right, they could be good presents or you could buy them for yourself.

Analysing this, you can't just blame the public for not buying, if you have the right product you'll do well. The problem is that if you only do the occasional market you don't know what is selling at the time, whereas if you do a market every week you can gauge the mind of the public and make stuff accordingly.
 

Harbo

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I was reading about our local Christmas Market - at Winchester Cathedral - one of the largest in Europe and so busy and crowded that it's almost impossible to see anything properly?
The stalls cost £9k to £12k to hire and I cannot see how anybody can make a profit on that ( apart from the Cathedral who reckon they will take about £1million!)?

Rod
 

tekno.mage

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Harbo":3j6d1h3k said:
The stalls cost £9k to £12k to hire and I cannot see how anybody can make a profit on that ( apart from the Cathedral who reckon they will take about £1million!)?

Rod
Good Lord! That's exorbitant - here in Wales the Xmas craft fairs I sell at charge between £5 - £10 a table.
£9k - £12k is more than a lot of people around here earn in a year!
 

tekno.mage

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bugbear":6ofg5c1u said:
Speaking as an occasional craft fair buyer, I get annoyed at people who think I should pay more because something is hand made.

I pay for quality of product.

BugBear
As an occasional craft fair seller I would entirely agree with you - and find that customers are happy to pay for quality hand made items. I make a fair few craft tools from local hardwoods (crochet hooks, knitting pins, drop spindles etc) and these all sell well, despite their being a lot more expensive than commonly available plastic alternatives. As do my turned wooden lightpulls, which again are a lot more expensive than the plastic alternatives. People often pick up the items I have for sale and have trouble putting them back down (which usually means they end up buying the item) as they like the feel of well finished wood in their hands.
 

mickthetree

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Me and the misseus went to Winchester christmas market last year. Was nice to have a look around with the lights and a glass of mulled wine, but an awful lot of the items were simply emporium stuff that you can get anywhere. I saw a stall holder opening a cardboard box from Thailand full of leather bound notebooks wrapped in sellophane. Looked quite nice, but I was hoping to find something a bit special locally made with skill.

There is a small local market in our village this weekend and I know I will find something made locally with skill and get a chance to to chat to the person who made it.

Better.
 

MMUK

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mickthetree":l0gd2uoo said:
I saw a stall holder opening a cardboard box from Thailand full of leather bound notebooks wrapped in sellophane.
Let me guess. He's paid around £2 each for them and put a £20 price tag on :roll:
 

dedee

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If any of your craft fairs are this far north drop me a PM and I'll come and so hello. Can't promise to buy anything as I am careful with my money :D Seem to remember that you are in the Orne somewhere?

Cheers

Andy
 

marcros

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MMUK":4174jsl9 said:
mickthetree":4174jsl9 said:
I saw a stall holder opening a cardboard box from Thailand full of leather bound notebooks wrapped in sellophane.
Let me guess. He's paid around £2 each for them and put a £20 price tag on :roll:
Probably needed to to cover the stall fee. By the sounds if it, a hand crafted turned bowl wasn't going to bring in thousands after you have factored in time, at the price you could sell it for.
 

Smithy

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Many thanks for your replies, it is good to hear other peoples experiences. I sell mainly turned bird boxes, bird feeders and insect boxes, not very complicated but they sell well. I use mainly locally grown chestnut I always try and emphasise that we use local wood and that they are handmade locally and I explain how they are made. Our biggest seller is small fat ball feeders a case of small things sell. I finish all the feeders by rounding off all the edges giving them a bit of a sculptured finish. People like this and as Kym said people do like the feel of wood. I have seen many people just pick them up and feel them. I am encouraged that many people can see the difference between what I make and what they can get in the big stores and they do say so. This year I have done a few wooden toys and tealight holders. Bit of smell what sells.

I have got one more fair (Boutique de Noel) this weekend but think it is to close to the big day to do any serious business. However I will finish the year feeling very confident with a nice stock behind me and lots of ideas for the New Year.

Happy selling

Mike
 

petermillard

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Harbo":phvxe71u said:
I was reading about our local Christmas Market - at Winchester Cathedral - one of the largest in Europe and so busy and crowded that it's almost impossible to see anything properly?
The stalls cost £9k to £12k to hire and I cannot see how anybody can make a profit on that ( apart from the Cathedral who reckon they will take about £1million!)?

Rod
My daughter's at Uni in Winchester and worked last Christmas at a stall and cafe that sold mulled wine, amongst other things. The stall, staffed by two 20-year-olds being paid barely above minimum wage, was taking ~£7K per day in the run-up to Christmas; that's just the stall, not the cafe.

So, plenty of money to be made, if you're selling what people want to buy...

Pete
 

Smithy

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I did a garden fair at Honfleur. A chap was selling apple doughnuts. He was on his own and did not stop for two days. He must have made a fortune. Perhaps mobile catering is where the money is.

Mike
 

MMUK

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petermillard":2vxr5qrz said:
My daughter's at Uni in Winchester and worked last Christmas at a stall and cafe that sold mulled wine, amongst other things. The stall, staffed by two 20-year-olds being paid barely above minimum wage, was taking ~£7K per day in the run-up to Christmas; that's just the stall, not the cafe.

So, plenty of money to be made, if you're selling what people want to buy...

Pete

So much for the age of austerity :roll:
 

marcros

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Apple doughnut, mulled wine, smaller hand crafted items... It is all affordable treats. A few years ago, it may have been a meal out afterwards, so I guess that it is austerity in a way.
 

bugbear

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MMUK":3unawntz said:
petermillard":3unawntz said:
My daughter's at Uni in Winchester and worked last Christmas at a stall and cafe that sold mulled wine, amongst other things. The stall, staffed by two 20-year-olds being paid barely above minimum wage, was taking ~£7K per day in the run-up to Christmas; that's just the stall, not the cafe.

So, plenty of money to be made, if you're selling what people want to buy...

Pete

So much for the age of austerity :roll:
Sounds like austerity abounded for the staff!

BugBear
 
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