Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Driftwood Christmas Wreaths and Don't Do's for a Craft Fair!

It was my Christmas Fair at the weekend. Sales weren't amazing, but were respectable. Enough to have made it financially worthwhile to have done it (the stall was very cheap to start with!), probably not enough to make it feel financially worthwhile for the hassle/stress/time on the day, but then if I take into account the fact that it made me get my act together, open up an Etsy shop and print some business cards (that was maybe the most exciting part - they make me feel quite important!) then it was definitely worthwhile.

It was also good experience in actually having a stall again - I did lots of things wrong! Like:

  1. Not taking any photos of my stall, Venetia did take a few for me.
  2. This was largely due to not being organised enough (surprise, surprise!) and frantically attaching price tags as the Fair was due to start, rather than being able to calmly check the front of my stall and take wonderful photos myself!
  3. If I had done this I would have seen that I'd managed to hitch up my table covering unevenly!
  4. I had far too much 'stuff' out on the table. Basically the table was pretty small and cushions take up lots of room. And I find it hard to 'choose' what to have out, or more accurately I find it hard to leave anything out!
  5. I kept forgetting to hand out my beautiful, new business cards! A few people either took one or asked for one, but I'd meant to give them out with every purchase and I did not remember once!
  6. Certain items need improved ways to display them - particularly pixie hats and wreaths. Not quite sure how I could have displayed them wonderfully on Sunday given the space I had, but they definitely need more thought for any future stalls.
  7. I think I'll avoid doing such a local Fair again. I really don't feel comfortable selling to people I know. I'm sure two people bought things just because they felt they ought to, and I had to stop the fruit and veg man buying something he clearly didn't want, just because I buy fruit and veg from him every week and he felt he should reciprocate!
  8. Not taking a drink with me!

Venetia's photo!
It was also interesting to see which things were the most popular. The mice got a huge number of 'ahhs' and comments, not so many sales but they did OK. And the wool generally was much admired and stroked, with the non cream backgrounds being far more successful than the paler backgrounds. From what people said I think there's a high proportion of pets locally (especially dogs), who jump up on sofas and would get mucky paw prints on cream cushions!

There was one cushion I made late the night before the Fair, and my only photos of it are Venetia's from on the day, but I have to show it to you anyway because it was such an amazing piece of embroidery.

Two gorgeous, colourful cockerels pecking for food. I found the embroidery in a Charity Shop quite a while back, I think it had originally been made as a tea towel - can you imagine spending so long creating such a wonderful piece of embroidery and then wiping crockery with it? I hate to think how many hours of work went into it. Anyway, it had been sitting there waiting for me to turn it into something more decorative than a tea towel, and late Saturday night I decided it might very well be something that would sell, so it quickly became a cushion with a simple, envelope back from wool. And it did sell, hurray!

Something that didn't sell at all was my wreaths. I'm sure that was partly because they weren't displayed brilliantly, but maybe there's more to it than that.

They're simple driftwood wreaths, with a little fabric decoration added - either holly or a robin.

Or both!

And possibly my favourite, a Partridge with a Pear. We have a lovely book of 'The Twelve Days of Christmas', with really beautiful illustrations which inspired this one, Maria has to read/sing this every night at the moment with me.

So I've added all these to my Etsy shop now, and hopefully they might be more popular there.

So what about you, have you got any 'don't do's' for Craft Fairs?



  1. My husband and I are sitting here not understanding why your wreaths didn't sell. I think they are beautiful. But then again, many can't get passed the non-traditional thing. When we made or "recycled wood" haging tree last year, everyone said it was awesome... But they all said they just wouldn't feel like it was Christmasy enough. I have a feeling they will do very well in your shop.

    Good showing! Your booth was beautiful. I would have spent some money there for sure. Darn this entire ocean between us!

  2. Oh, a bottle of water would be a wise thing to have on hand, I am sure. I have not set up a booth to sell my wares before, so I don't have much to contribute to the conversation. I am thankful that Venetia did snap some photos for you, though, especially of the rooster pillow!

  3. Oh wow i think your table looks great!
    And that partridge wreath is amazing .. I may have to buy that on etsy and get you to post it to a friend who lives near you.

  4. your stall looks lovely, I agree cushions are a nightmare to display, and I too think your wreaths are gorgeous! x

  5. It is interesting to read your thoughts but I'm sure it went better than you thought, Sally. Your makes are lovely and the photos are great. I would have bought that owl wreath, it is fun.

  6. Mmm...everything looks so interesting! There's something to be said for editing a display I suppose, but it is way more FUN to snoop around booths like yours! Your wreaths are wonderful. They just need the right buyers to find them. :-)

  7. I agree with Carole. I would have bought the wreath with the partridge and pear.

  8. I think it all looks gorgeous but I know what you mean about feeling a little uncomfortable selling to people you know really well - head down to the south coast and I'll send my Dad - he loves driftwood sculpture - he's always making them on the beach :)

  9. I do sympathise as I have been through the same learning process and I really hate the whole 'stall' thing. But, if I'd been there, I would have bought your driftwood wreaths first of all! That's because I live near the sea and my house has coastal themes. Maybe you need to sell these to folks who are spending Christmas by the sea! Happy Christmas to you and yours. xCathy

  10. Hi Sally, catching up belatedly with my blog reading, and I found this post so interesting. I too have had the stress of a stall at local craft fairs, for home baking, and made lots of mistakes too, added to the stress of working with perishable goods- never again. I barely covered my costs, because I charged far too little for everything, being a) mortified that it wasn't good enough, and b) anxious that nobody would buy anything and I would be left with boxes and boxes of cakes, iced biscuits etc. I agree it is embarrassing and uncomfortable selling to people you know or recognise, and I also recognise what you are saying about displaying things nicely. It is hard. I used a little shelving unit to display the cakes, which gave a bit of height, which was quite nice, and vintage shopping baskets for the iced biscuits etc. Needless to say, the thing that sold best was the tiffin bars, which at the last minute I had sprinkled with red and green christmas sprinkles. I thought they looked a bit tacky, but they were swooped upon. You can just never tell. Well done for doing it though, and as you say, it has prompted you to open an Etsy shop etc., which is all positive. Hope you have had a lovely christmas with the family X


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