Small Business Saturday Blog

How to: set up a craft fair

Wednesday, July 22 at 13:33
How To | Retail Space | Small Biz 100

Today we speak to Claire of The Fairy Tale Fair, a 2014 Small Biz 100, about how she goes about creating her Brighton based craft fairs...
Arranging a craft fair is a bigger job than it might seem at first. Well, arranging a busy one is anyway! It starts of with a lot of venue and location research - having a well liked venue and good location is key. This doesn’t always mean it has to be based in the centre of town - we organise local village fairs too, and if the marketing within the community is right these can be just as popular.
I am lucky that I am a maker myself and also take part in craft fairs across Sussex and London so therefore already have a range of craft contacts. This would be the next key step - researching, gaining and growing your contacts, as without the makers there is no fairs. We are lucky that our fair has continued to build its stall holder base since 2012 and have a strong base of high quality makers. This takes time to build, and fair-by-fair, word of mouth and recommendations help us to gain new talent for each fair. Next up I would say marketing is a very important part of any public event. You need to factor in a marketing budget into your stall prices as its often the most expensive part of the fair. You want to make sure you cover as many areas of marketing as possible - print, online, email, social media, blogs etc to reach as wider audience as possible.
We print at least 5,000 flyers for each event with many of these delivered door to door in the surrounding area of each fair. We also place print ads with well known local magazines, and do a huge amount of social media sharing, blogging and online networking. It depends as to what your event is and what the target market is as to whether online or print is better so if you are unsure its probably worth trying both on a small scale to start with. The advantage of online ads - such as sponsored Facebook posts - is that you can track the clicks and stats, where as print is harder to judge a response to. This brings us to the all important big day of the event. I always set the alarm super early (3.30am for some events!) to get to the venue as early as possible. There is always lots to do - arranging tables, floor plans, cleaning, signage, etc that all take time.
We always like to go the extra mile with decorations where possible too. As our fair is fairy tale themed we like to make it feel magical with handmade bunting, fairy garlands, fairy lights and little extra touches in the entrance. Kids in particular pick up on this and it brings families back again and again. Once we are set-up and the stall holders are in place, we post, tweet, share throughout the day so online followers can see what they are missing out on! We’ll share photos of freshly baked cakes, one off makes, workshops in action and beautiful painted faces to encourage visitors to get along before the end of the day. We think this final push is always important. Even if customers have planned on visiting, they often have so much on that they may forget, so it is a good idea to continue to remind them in the few days leading up to and on the day. Most importantly is that you, and your stall holders and customers enjoy the day! For more information about The Fairy Tale Fair or to ask Claire a question head to: www.thefairytalefair.co.uk. They have two events coming up this summer including a Children’s Day at Brighton Open Market this Friday 24th July - this is a non profit event with lots of free under the sea themed activities for the holidays. They also have their next craft fair at Brighton Open Market on Saturday 15th of August.

10 steps to launch your pop-up

Tuesday, July 21 at 10:04
Planning | Retail Space | Shop Share | We Are Pop Up

Hundreds of independent retailers are hosting pop-up brands with We Are Pop Up’s ShopShare as a way of forming exciting collaborations, pooling their resources and creating a buzz about their business.In our last article we spoke about how to make sure that brands and retailers find the right match. This time, We Are Pop Up has put together the top 10 steps for brands for launching your own pop-up, to break down the process into a go-to checklist for starting your own temporary retail space.1. Pick a spaceChoose your space wisely, as the location is very important. It should not only suit your budget, but also your brand identity. Find out how far it is from the nearest station or transport links. You want plenty of foot traffic, but make sure it’s the right demographic for your products and price point. Check out the surrounding area, including the neighbouring businesses and the passers-by. Do they match your audience and style?2. Think about financesYour budget and the amount of stock you have tend to be defining factors for how large your pop-up will be, its location and its duration. Start with your budget and work backwards. Crowdfunding is an excellent way to top up your budget, and sites like Kickstarter and Crowdfunder are two of our favourites at We Are Pop Up - they can help get financial backing for your project, while also building a community that will be passionate about your concept from the start.3. Promote your pop upYou need to start promoting early to create a buzz around your pop-up. This can even be before you’ve confirmed your space. Be sure to use a combination of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to target your specific audience. Contact any relevant magazines, bloggers and local press to tell them about your concept and launch date with plenty of notice so they can get you in their busy schedules. Drop us a line at We Are Pop Up too so we can put the word out about you on our channels.4. TicketsIf your pop-up is a ticketed event, use a company like Billetto or Eventbrite to deal with your ticketing. They take away the admin headache and it’s also a useful way to increase the visibility of your pop-up on a platform with an established audience.5. Design a store that worksThink about colour, layout and theme. It is important to stay true to your brand identity, but a pop-up is also an interesting way to experiment with the message you want to send; create a unique experience and tell a story. Use Pinterest for inspiration - why not start with We Are Pop Up’s Top 10 mood boards to see how other businesses have done it. Layout also has a significant impact on sales - where you place a product in the shop and how it is displayed can be a defining factor. Did you know 64% of products are sold from eye level within a shop?Hint: take a look at We Are Pop Up’s top tips for visual merchandising and building your brand story here.6. Test, listen and iterateSet out your key aims for your pop-up and measure them daily, be it sales, new social media followers, press coverage or otherwise. For sales, try out different products in your shop - pay attention to how customers interact with your items to find out which are the strongest performers on your shop floor as well as what’s not working. From this you can decide what to highlight and what to rotate, to help refine future choices.It’s also important to speak to your customers. How did they hear about you and what do they think of your pop-up, product range, in-store experience and so on? Not only can you gather valuable information and feedback about your concept, but you can also learn a lot about your consumer base itself in terms of their experience and expectations.7. CollaborateThink about how you could join with other small businesses to enhance the overall experience of your pop-up. We Are Pop Up’s ShopShare provides a way to quickly and easily create concession stands, or even form your own micro-department store. Ultimately it allows you to pool resources and extend your reach by accessing the extended community behind each brand.8. Set up a workshopConsider creating an interactive element like an in-house workshop or studio, maybe even as part of a ShopShare. From our experience, having this element in the window of your pop-up can increase sales in the shop by 800%. It enables you to demonstrate a product’s unique selling point directly to an engaged audience and also tells the story behind your business in real life.9. Follow upDon’t forget, it’s not all over when the pop-up closes. The fortune is often in the follow-up. Collect customers’ contact details in-store and communicate with them regularly beyond the life of your shop. Can you give them a discount flyer to encourage them to repeat buy on your website or come to another event? Keep them up to date with your news, and invite them to the next pop-up.10. Evaluate and learnThe beauty of a pop-up is that it is an opportunity to experiment, test and learn. Be bold, and take risks. Then afterwards, focus on what went well and what didn’t - learn from any mistakes and plan how to build on successes in your next one. Finally, get back in contact with We Are Pop Up and we will be on hand to take you to the next stage.Final ThoughtsLaunching a pop-up is a tried and tested way to grow your business, get a new brand concept off the ground, test new markets or create a buzz about your next project. There are new pop-up space opportunities daily for you to explore on wearepopup.com and with planning, collaboration and an eye on these top tips for launching, every small independent business can achieve pop-up success.

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