Last sunny Saturday, my lovely friend ‘Mary-Anne Makes‘ and I took part in the ‘We Made This Craft Market. in the market town of Horsham. Time to show my new vintage fashion quote greeting cards and my fashion & flower illustrations.
What struck me immediately was the quality of the crafts at the fair. I’m a newbie to craft fairs and this was a really inspiring place to be. Seasoned crafts people who sell on regularly on Etsy, Not On the High Street and at the bigger London craft fairs, had stalls here. I met some fantastic craftspeople who offered advice openly. I really feel there’s a supportive element to taking part in a craft fair.
Unfortunately (and this is the only negative), since this was the first time the craft fair had taken place in Horsham, the foot fall wasn’t as expected. So sales were a bit on the slow side. I think the only reason being, that the craft fair location was slightly off a main thoroughfare.
We Made This Craft Market is organised by Claudia Thomas, a very productive, proactive and creative superstar. She smiled her way thought the day, (even when the ladies loo flooded!) and found time to chat to all the stall holders. As an organiser she promoted the fair across many channels. She was very active on social media and even persuaded her boyfriend to walk the streets of Horsham with a banner. Now that’s dedication.
As a newbie to craft fairs, the experience of taking part was invaluable. This creative business channel is something I’m experimenting with at the moment. I’m still finding my feet in terms of my product and target market. So feedback on products was crucial. The process of making stock in the run up to the day, thinking about the cost of sale etc, has been an eye opener. I’m not sure I’m going to commit myself to regular craft fairs, to be honest.
At the moment I’m having a quandary as to which direction I take. I did have some feedback from a framing shop, that faces are a hard sell. I LOVE drawing faces. As much as I get lovely comments, I have found them hard to sell. I find the bigger one off pieces, where someone falls in love immediately are selling better, rather than the giclee prints. More generic designs seem to sell better, or items that have a purpose. Eg greeting cards.
With this in mind, do I diversify into the art market, or change my direction with my work and produce more generic designs for products to sell at craft markets and Etsy? Do I follow the creative outlet I’m most passionate about? Or the one that sells? Do I continue to experiment or follow what I’m enjoy creating the most? I enjoy designing for products but…. I don’t know. I’m have a creative crisis of confidence! I’d love feedback on this.
In the meantime, if a We Made This Market comes to a town near you, please support it. You’ll find beautiful items, hand crafted with love. And maybe even an illustration of a beautiful woman to, adorn your walls 😉
What is your experience as a craft maker or artist? What advice do you have for people starting out in running their own creative business?