Monday, 5 March 2012

Thank Goodness for Modern Craft!

On Saturday I attended Support British Handmade Craft Fair in Towcester, Northamptonshire. I didn’t make a mint but I learnt a lot....

The atmosphere was dull. You could almost see the cobwebs on the stock of the regular stall holders who sell here on a monthly basis. The foot fall was second-to-none. Stall holders didn’t seem bothered by this. The lady next to me selling jewellery gave up very early on and spent the majority of the day drinking tea in the corner of the hall with several of the other stall holders. This isn’t how it should be. Stall holders should be so proud of their stock and their brand that they dare not leave it all day. They should want to be there to be the face of the brand. Communicating with other crafters and artists is great, not only to build relationships but to learn from one and other, but ultimately the customer comes first, surely?
The stock on show ranged from water colour landscapes to cross stitch cards to knitted baby jumpers. These are all crafts that should be highly praised, hard work had clearly gone into them, but are these really what the modern day shopper want? Surely they want new and fun ideas, to see  items that show you’ve had fun making them? In the current economic climate, I know that I want to see bright, happy crafted pieces, not pieces that look as miserable as the sellers …  all lined up in a row, knitting, stitching away, drinking tea, using the time to moan about anything they can think of. That’s not a nice shopping experience for anyone, it certainly won’t encourage people to buy their dated stock, and it doesn’t help the atmosphere for the rest of the stall holders eager to converse with what little custom is there.
It taught me to research into potential craft fairs beforehand. Make sure that the fair is well advertised, in an area which will generate lots of interest, and research the other stalls selling there.
I must say I couldn’t wait to get home, to get back on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. To be inspired by modern craft. To share things with people who share the same ideas about craft. To get on Folksy, the home of Modern Craft. Thank goodness for social networking and thank goodness for like-minded crafters.


  1. i know what you mean, we have done a few fairs and largely avoid them all now with the one exception of vintage handmade in chipping sod bury, which is everything a fair should be.
    sarah x

  2. Me too - I've seen it time and time again. I think it comes down to how invested the organiser is in making it a success and how invested the maker is too, of course. But with the organiser, once they have taken your table money, they often dont have to care whether its any good or not, they've got the cash in the pocket either way. Try school fundraisers, as the parents also have a vested interest in its success and these are usually well supported And as you say - do your research!

  3. Interesting post I am considering looking into craft fairs this year my husband has been pushing all sorts of fair information on me, but I'm inclined to take a step back and make sure I've done as much research as possible your post reassures me that I'm right

  4. Such an interesting post, i am researching fairs at the moment, and will take a good look at some of the makers already booked. Thank you

  5. Thank you all for your comments :) I'm so glad that you all agree and that I'm not the only one!

    I'm glad that those of you who are starting out are doing your research, it pays off otherwise you are on minus figures before you've even started!
    I've attended 3 craft fairs previous to this one, 2 out of the 3 being succesful and like you say Nova + Lorsten .. school fundraisers are great!

    Happy future craft fairs and happy research! :)