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Craft Fair

Craft Fair

As most of you know, I did my first ‘proper’ craft fair on Sunday just gone. It was at the gorgeous old building of Victoria Baths just a mile or so from Manchester city centre. I didn’t sell much ( a piece of rainbow felt, 3 bookmarks, a credit card holder, a felted soap, a coin pouch and a heart shaped ring pouch) but I did pay for the cost of the stall, and I did meet a lot of nice people. A wet/needlefelt artist had a stall in the row behind mine, she had lots of nice pieces, but I didn’t get her details. Maggie was upstairs, she had a lot of nice felt pieces and had been felting for a long time, and she sold me some dyed flax for a bargain price! This is Maggie’s stall:

She had some gorgeous woven and cobweb scarves:

Opposite the end of my row was Jude. She does pretty much everything! From washing raw fleece, to dyeing it mostly with natural dyes, spinning it up into gorgeous yarns and then knitting it into amazing shawls and hats. She also felts and does workshops teaching her many skills. This was Jude’s stall, unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of her spinning wheel.

These are some of her yarns. I think she said her dad turned the bowls himself. Just disappearing to the right are some needlefelted sheep with hand dyed locks:

My stall was a lot neater when I first set it out, but I only took photos nearer the end. This is most of it:

And this is the other end:

If anyone has been put off doing a craft fair because of lack of transport, I thought I’d show you how I took my things. You might remember my ‘granny’ trolley from a post last year, that is what I used to take everything to the fair in. I used a large ‘document’ box, and a couple of shoe boxes. This is the smallest shoe box I used:

In this, I had 7 pieces of felt.

This is the second shoe box I used:

In this I had all my greetings cards, handmade felted soap, a receipt book, some business cards, a couple of mirror cases, a glasses case, ring pouch, coaster and lots of bookmarks.

The document box, which came flat and cost 70p from Ikea, measures 10 inches high, 10 inches deep and is 13 inches wide.

In this I managed to fit: 3 large gadget sleeves; 22 phone/camera sized cases; 2 glasses cases; 13 credit card and coin pouches; 5 purses; 3 slim gadget cases; 6 A5 notebooks and 8 A6 notebooks. I think I had even more in it on the way there!

I did have a small shopping bag with the table cloth cover, some paper bags and my woolly vessel in, but almost everything else was in the trolley.

2013 Review

2013 Review

How does the time go so fast? It really doesn’t seem like almost another year has passed since we posted about our plans for 2013. Looking back over what I’d hoped to achieve this year, I had the same feeling as last time we did a review: I didn’t expect to have done many of them, though it seems I mostly wanted to be more organised and felt for the fun of it more 🙂
I think I did manage to get a bit more organised, or at least more efficient with time, starting with Ruth’s Daily Dose of Fiber challenge. I also rearranged a couple of my rooms to make my sewing things more accesible, so it’s easier to pick things up for a few minutes here and there, or while watching a film or being read to.
Probably the first big thing of the year was publishing my e-book ‘Beyond Nuno‘. I have received lots of really nice feedback about it, which was all very much appreciated and really made it worth while 🙂

Beyond Nuno 70 perc fits A6Although I didn’t post about them earlier in the year I did have a few things I hoped I’d be able to achieve, such as opening an etsy store, maybe writing another e-book, doing craft fairs. I did open an etsy shop, and have sold a few things. I did start with some samples for a new e-book, but going into spring the light wasn’t really working for photos. My girlfriend convinced me to do a tutorial about Polymer Clay instead, but that soon grew into an e-book! I had fun doing that, though I could have used a few more hands, and better light 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI did finally get a chance to do a craft fair as I blogged about recently, that was a great experience. And I did get chance to make some felt pieces just for fun. One of my favourite pieces was one I made recently when I was exploring sculptural felt and bamboo fibre. It made me smile that most people thought it reminded them of a shell, I didn’t mention it in the post or caption the photo but I’d thought the same thing and had named the photos ‘shell’ though it wasn’t obvious unless you clicked on them 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHow did your year pan out? Did you have any definite plans? Did you stick to them or did you have a few surprises?

Craft Fair and some new pieces

Craft Fair and some new pieces

I did my first craft fair on Saturday. It was only a small one, the nice people at the LGBT Centre in Manchester asked me if I’d like to take a few things to sell between the Carol Service and Christmas Dinner at their Festive Funday. For the past couple of weeks I’ve done a lot of blanket stitching, a lot of printing and a lot of cutting out of tags and business cards. And who’d have thought writing and attaching tags could take a whole day?!
I didn’t think to ask what size the table would be and not knowing which items might be popular, I decided to take pretty much everything I’ve ever made! Ann talked about getting ready for a show a few weeks ago, well I don’t drive, so I have to walk or get public transport everywhere, so over the last couple of years I’ve relied on my ‘granny trolley’ to cart things about:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUsing a shoe box, old toaster box and a couple of smaller cardboard boxes, I managed to fit in: 7 x A5 Diaries/notebooks;  8 x A6 notebooks; 3 x iPad/gadget cases; 10 x camera cases; 6 x glasses cases; 4 x credit card cases/pouches; 9 x coin pouches;  7 x coin purses/wallets; 2 x mirror cases; 2 x ring pouches; 4 x placemats/coasters; 23 bookmarks; 4 x felt pieces; 2 x shoulder bags and a woolly vessel. I think I took too many things! This is one of the diary covers I finished in time for the fair:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is an iPad case. I was going to use the felt for a diary cover, but it didn’t shrink as much as I expected, so I searched online for the dimensions of the most popular tablets and made this. It has rainbow felt on the front and back and also a piece of neoprene stitched to the back:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is another piece of felt I made last week. I made two the same, and sold one at the fair:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was a great experience doing the fair and I met so many nice people and got lots of compliments. Although it was only on for about an hour I managed to sell more things than I have in the last 9 months on etsy 🙂

A Real Life Example of Product Presentation

A Real Life Example of Product Presentation

Amanda from FeltFinland has graciously offered to do a guest post for Marketplace Mondays. Take a look at her website to see some of her delightful creations that will really put a smile on your face. So here’s Amanda.

You have worked hard to make some great felted works of art. You have an opportunity to sell them. What you need are those extra little touches that will catch the eye of the buyer and also encourage them to return and buy again another day. Product presentation is a key part of selling. No matter how stunning your creations, if they are haphazardly piled on a table, not many people will give them a second glance. I have developed and learned a few ideas over the last 3 years of selling at craft fairs which I am happy to share with you.

Make use of all the space on your table without overcrowding.

Don’t forget you can add height – a small set of shelves, an upturned box, branches, logs are a few things I have used. I have always liked wood and wool together. 

Choose an appropriate coloured cover (sheets and old curtains are cheap options) for your table, one that won’t detract from your work. Make sure it is big enough to fall down and cover the front open side of the table. This allows you to store your boxes and bags under the table without the world seeing them! One of the photos shows how not to do it – pink cover which is too short – all the tables were set up the same by the folks organising the fair!

I also like to use baskets and basket weave trays of various shapes and sizes to display my products – this also helps to keep things together and prevents products getting all muddled.

Pricing – personally I like to individually price my items, using free-standing labels on the table top next to the items or small price tags stuck on pins then stuck in the relevant item. I do not like to put sticky labels directly onto the felt.

If you do not want to show your prices, have the costs of each item readily available (in your head!) for when a customer asks. Print prices on stout card from your computer using a clear bold font – these can easily be reused too.

Add your own personal touch – I give names to a lot of my creatures such as Aliens, Owls etc. I print them onto good quality card from my computer and these go home with their owner. Don’t forget to add to the label your company name, website etc. 

Pop one of your business cards into the bag the sold item is going home in. 

Cellophane bags work really well with small felted items and can be sealed with customised stickers. Bags are available in different sizes and cellophane wrap can also be used. Paper bags have their place but will hide your creation! Plastic bags have their use if it is pouring with rain to keep your sales dry on their way home!

I hope these few pointers will help. I found it useful attending craft fairs as a buyer and seeing how other people presented and packaged things. It gave me some great ideas but also showed me what not to do!

Guest poster: Amanda Heikkinen


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