Craft fairs?

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19 Mar 2007
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Ex nr Carcassonne, France. Now Corston Malmesbury
Right, I'm off to do our first craft fair in Malmesbury and the first one since we left to live in France in 2004.

My question is how do you, the 'royal you' price the treasures up for sale? I am trying to price things at the moment and trying to second guess just what people will be willing to pay is doing my head in init!

One of the things is a 10" X 5" deep English elm bowl. It is a beaut and I was chuffed to death when I stopped the lathe. Being English elm, does that enhance the value as it is pretty rare nowadays?

Any ideas would be gratefully received :? :?


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From what I have seen, is you work out the hours spent on a piece and multiply by 25p !
Every craft fair I have seen is the same as all the others.
Chris152":6nxmfro0 said:
Maybe take a look at the prices being charged by more serious makers on etsy and folksy, before postage? And take a look at the prices charged by some of the members here:
following the links to their sites.

Yeh but........ Serious buyers don't go to craft fairs.

I can see the workmanship and appreciate the hours that went into that beautiful bowl but would be surprised if you could get 30 quid for it at a craft fair.

So far as I am concerned craft fairs are sources of inspiration for things I make for people for free.
lurker":3v0lpzrd said:
Yeh but........ Serious buyers don't go to craft fairs.

It does depend which craft fair - some are very prestigious (and v expensive to get a pitch!) with top makers selling. But yes, many aren't that...
There’s a turner around us that I often see at the shows/fairs at the local castles (there’s lots on my neck of the woods). His bowls range £30-£80, I bought a lovely wytch-elm 14” diameter x 4” deep one for £55 about 5yrs back.

I also have a fab (IMHO) hand carved swamp kauri bowl, 15” widest x 4.5” deep, I bought in New Zealand in 2004, which was if I recall several hundred £ equivalent. But it’s a rare wood and by a known maker who’s workshop I specifically visited so likely I paid for the name.

A couple of price point references that may help.



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From what we have seen, the Malmesbury fair i seems quite popular and there is a fair amount of 'bread' knocking around here too. But I suppose you don't get yer 'bread' by giving it away do you?

I'll just go ahead with what I hope will work and try to let you all know what happens. We used to do a number of the fairs before our move across the ditch. Some were good and some weren't, but the table ain't expensive and I want to shift some stuff. They don't do much in the way of the fairs in France and basically the stuff I did sell was commissions. But I still made quite a lot and now the room is needed so I can make some more :?

Ta for all of your help though guys!
If it's any help (or not), Greek souvenir shops sell olive wood salad bowls for €150 ish up to €200, or more. God knows why, but people pay it.

What this means is that the labour is irrelevant, the wood not terribly importent, but the circumstances of when and where you buy it are vital. You need a story, an added value reason for people to part with their money, that isn't about the piece, but about the perceived value attached to the piece. Provenance is one example (a commode once squatted on by Henry VIII is worth more than an identical commode squatted on by a not-very-wealthy unknown merchant). Unique selling points is what you are after, so Tarquin and Jocasta can boast about their "little man" who makes bespoke testicle scrubbers by hand out of owl giblets, or whatever. The item itself is irrelevant, the bragging rights to their friends is everything. It is all about "perceived value". Depressing, but that's how it is. All of this hand-made stuff is conspicuous consumption, because you can buy mass produced plastic rubbish examples for peanuts, if you don't feel the need to impress the neighbors.
I did one "craft" fair. I wont be doing a second. The only people selling stuff were birthday card and animal charities apart from one man who was making scroll work items of pretty good quality. I told him he was selling it much too cheap. He said "I know, but but if I try to charge more I sell nothing".

I know another man who does go to lots of fairs, but he sells lots of small items like pens and mug stands. Its not often he sells stuff for more than 15 quid.
Good luck, I think you'll need it.
I did a one to one woodturning course a number of years ago, with a professional woodturner instructing.

On the last day of 5 day course we were chatting as I turned up another piece. I asked "What do you do with all the pieces that you make?"

His reply? "Well, I take a lot to local craft fares, then a bloody amateur like you turns up just wanting to make space in their shed!"
Some craft fairs should be worth going to, near us is RHS Hyde Hall, they used to have an annual craft fair & it was run in house. This meant local craftsmen & women & artists tended to attend. It was an eclectic range of excellent quality stuff on sale to an audience with money to spend.
After a couple of years the RHS decided to stop running it themselves & sold the rights to run it to a company that does this all the time.
Result was exibitors prices doubled overnight making it unviable for small or local people to attend. The big boys moved in & though it is a good craft fair it has lost something. Cest la vie.

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