One of a kind artist bears
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Our new venture of craft fairs

Tracey Wilmot

When you have a shop and rely on customers coming in, one of the worst things to happen is the road and footpath in front closing for eight weeks for resurfacing. The road and path in front of us was awful pot holes, lumps, bumps it was way overdue and we knew it was being done but no time is a good time. Anyway the letter finally came closing for eight weeks due to be finished second week of December.
When you have a gift shop and Christmas is your main trade this was not good news. Not to be beaten we decided to do some craft fairs.  Having been to many, but never actually done any before we booked into as many venues as we could at short notice.  We packed up our stock took it home and embarked on our new venture.
The night before our first one Robert decided to check the material I had got out to cover the table was big enough, I assured him it was, as he had guessed it wasn't! so I had to start rooting through my stash found some old curtains and sat till 2am making them fit our table size. Luckily the craft fair was near us so we did not have to drive far. We arrived on time and started to unpack Robert being the more organised of us both had done pretty well remembering everything bags, change, business cards the list was endless all I had to do was set out and hopefully make it look good enough for people to buy. I must say it is surprising how much you can fit on an 8 foot table.
The fair opened and we waited anxiously, nerves in tatters by this time. Anyway we soon got into the flow and really enjoyed it, maybe it is because people are usually on a trip out when they visit a craft fair so they feel more relaxed and less rushed so we had time to chat to some lovely people and even though we have a shop I still got the feeling of thanks that they liked my products enough to buy them. We even sold some bears to some collectors which I was so pleased about. I still get nervous of the bears because they are made totally by me and I still can't quite get used to the fact that people like my work and want to add my bears to their collection. I am gushing with Thank-you's.
If you are thinking of doing some fairs I would tell anybody go for it. We were lucky on our first day we had a stall next to another newbie so we helped each other along but there is a real sense of friendliness and welcoming between stall holders and they kept us on track. When our first day was over Robert agreed they are really enjoyable.
It did surprise us things what sell in the shop did not sell much and things that don't sell as much did. So I would say take everything and you learn along the way. We learned you have to take good days and bad some days we sold and others we hardly covered the cost of our table, but this is not always something that you should let get you down. We did a fair one evening and after paying for the table giving a prize for the raffle we had barely £5 profit, but the next day at another fair somebody came for a bear for his wife that she had seen the night before. So just getting out there and letting people see you will pay off in the end.
You learn lots very quickly doing craft fairs and you will not be a newbie for long. We enjoyed them so much that we have booked into Helmsley craft fairs next year starting next April for a five day stint.
The road is now open we are back in the shop and the path looks very smart. Eric is back in his old routine of being able to walk to collect our parcels and pleased his operation of having his gall bladder out coincided with us shutting as he doesn't like to take days off.
To thank them for all they do and how wonderful him and Robert are with helping me keep everything together I have put them in for the competition of winning a Christmas party. You can view their story on our Facebook page  The winners are chosen by the best reason for winning and how much coverage they can get on social media the competition closes 19/12/2016 so if you read this before then please take a look and share their post #MyTeamWinsXmas
Above all if you are thinking of taking the leap to craft fairs, I would certainly recommend you give it a go the experience was positive for us.

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