Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Holiday Fair Preparation

I'm at the start of my run of Holiday Fairs - I have 7 between now and Christmas, including two open house events - one in Edinburgh at my mum's house, and one at my home here in Manchester. (If you live in either of these areas, drop me an email - I'd love to welcome you to an open house event!) I have a monthly market which I take part in here in Manchester which is having a special Christmas event as well as it's usual monthly event, and I'm going down to London for a fair at Old Spitalfields Market on the 22nd December. I don't know about you, but that is often when I do my best Christmas shopping - when there's only days to go! I'm really excited to go down to England's capital city, somewhere I love to visit especially around Christmas time, as it's the first time I have exhibited down there. Hopefully the first time of many!

But my holiday fair season is kicked off with The Handmade Show in Perth on the 4th November, about an hour away from my home town of Edinburgh. (If you are in the area, I do recommend coming along, absolutely stunning work will be available! And come and say hi if you are an ABS reader :-)). And it's a big event for me, so it's what I'm gearing up for now. You saw on my last Studio Saturday  that I've revamped my craft fair stand. I debuted it last Sunday, and it went down very well - the best local fair of the year! Every time you have a craft fair, it's always a good idea to think of tweaking your display, there are always small changes you can make to make your stand just that wee bit better. Here's a shot from the last week's market:

I've also set up taking card payments. Unfortunately, we don't have anything like Square over here, which many American friends have told me is a brilliant tool for taking cards. I am hoping we'll have something like that over here in the UK soon! We have a virtual terminal, which means customers can make card payments via an internet-enabled devise. So it could just be a smart phone, but we have it set up so that my phone can act as a WiFi hotspot for a laptop. We took our first card payment last weekend which was very exciting! 

But that's the 'backstage' technicalities. What about the jewellery itself - the fun bit?! Well, I've been going through what sold well at The Handmade Show last year, what's been selling well recently at my craft fairs this year, and what has gone down well online. My work has definitely developed, changed and moved on since last year, but it's still worth looking over exactly what the people of Perth liked last year! If you are returning to a jewellery fair, it's always worth checking through to see what your clientele liked. I'm trying to find a balance between unique, one-off pieces, and designs that I can make in multiples; small batches of easy to repeat designs. I try to use art beads in as many of my designs as possible - so I try and use beads that designers make in batches for these staple designs.

I have a couple of these designs sorted - like these simple ceramic house pendants using beads from Elukka. I use relatively fine chain, and as well as each tiny house being slightly different in due to the way they are made, I try and mix up what I suspend from each one. This means it's a simple design for me to create, but I keep that OOAK aspect to these pendants. 

Another design I can easily repeat are my bluebell earrings - but these don't need to be blue, I am working on pinkbells, peachbells, aquabells and everything in between!

You can see here are my earrings, half done. Again, they are similar and easy to recreate, but again each pair will be different - the Gardanne enamelled flowers are each slightly different and I use different gemstone briolettes for each pair. Both of these have been popular designs for me either online or at craft fairs so I want to make sure I am fully prepared with many of these. Here's a finished pair:

I'm sure there are a few other designs that I will come up with that are similar, in that I can produce many but keep them unique, something that I and my clientele really value. 

What staples do you create for fairs? Do you have any tips to share when you have a big run a fairs coming up? Share with us here on ABS!

Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer and singer, currently living in Manchester, England. 

You can read more about beads and singing at her blog, songbeads.blogspot.com and see more of her jewellery at songbead.etsy.com.


Pat Gray said...

I love your display (it's beautifully unified for lack of a better word). I've got a stash that I was just SURE I needed for some project or another which I need to experiment with...

My staple items are stained glass stars (I can make 40 in a day) or stretch multi-colored stone bracelets - both tedious to make, but they always pay at least the entry fee....

Best of luck with your holiday show season!

Tari of ClayButtons.com said...

Love the Bluebell Earrings!!

Just another blogger said...

l really like the display!! l am doing my first market in December and l'm really worried about getting that part right. It is very stressful. This post is very helpful:)