Sunday 18 October 2015

Craft Fairs - no rhyme nor reason to what sells

I am flopped on the sofa after a day touting my wares at the Highland Wool & Textile Fair at Eden Court Theatre in Inverness.  This was a lovely event in a great location, but as the weather was splendid for the time of year, I think a lot of people decided that being out of doors was a better plan.  It was really quiet compared with previous years.  However, those who came were buying.

I just wish I could work out what makes people buy particular things.  Is it how they are displayed?  What colours things are?  How much space they have to browse?  Is it better to have things individually priced or to have big labels saying e.g. "Harris Tweed Scarves - £40".  Does it make a difference where I am on the stall - behind the table?  off to the side?  sitting or standing?  I wish I knew!

Today was strange........... lots of sales, but all completely different things.  More often at craft fairs there will be a particular thing that I sell lots of and other things that are not looked at but today I sold a scarf, a hooded scarf, a bag,  two different styles of hats.......... etc. etc.     I know I tried to cram too much onto my stall (....... I have never mastered the art of minimalism!) but still people looked at everything.  Or rather, some people looked at one thing, others looked at something else and it was as though they only saw that one thing.

What did get a lot of attention was the new jackets I had made this week.  One was a petite size swing jacket (pictured on display right), the other was an oversized dufflecoat style (modelled by me below).  They are definitely going to be included as part of our range of products although they will generally only be made to measure.

The fair ran from 10am till 4pm.  At 3.30 it was dead and some stallholders started to pack up but then there was a sudden influx of people coming in to see an early show and lots of them did a quick whiz around the fair first.  I got a couple of last minute sales, so that rule of "don't start packing up until the show is closed" is worth stitcking to.

When the last customer had gone I started packing and got it all done and car loaded within the hour.  As I had to go past the house to get to my studio I stopped off to have a quick bite to eat - having gone hungry all day.  By the time I headed out to the studio to empty the car the sun was setting.  What a tremendous view over the Beauly Firth!   My usual drive at that time of day is in the other direction coming home from the studio so this was something of a treat.
I have booked for three more craft fairs between now and Christmas.  It will be a hectic run because they are on consecutive weekends, so no time off for 3 weeks on the trot. 
  • 20th to 22nd November 2015 - Eden Court, Inverness.
  • 28th to 29th November 2015 - Eden Court, Inverness.
  • 4th to 6th December 2015 - Eden Court, Inverness.
If you live in the Highlands, why not make a point of coming to one of them - for details, see either the Exclusively Highlands website or the Anna Macneil website.  And when you visit - give me your honest opinion about our stall and tell me what catches your eye, even if you are not going to buy it.

And of course, if you can't make it either to our workshop or to one of the craft fairs, our on-line shop is always available.  This coming week my husband has promised to work on a new website for me - not holding my breath for a quick result, but I hope to make the website easier to use and more informative.  Watch this space.........!