Thursday, 10 February 2011

Stall season starts!

Stall season starts!
So Christmas is out of the way and we’ve all taken time to burn off those new years eve calories, by slaving away making lovely handmade goodies that we hope one day someone will be a fan of and want to buy them from you. In an ideal world we would have all the time in the world to make, bake, sew, turn, sculpt and paint (to name but a few), with endless cups of tea as warming inspiration and the radio churning out classics we all know the words to, but don’t know who sung them.

But, alas, we all know deep down that unless we get a move on and get to events, craft fairs, fetes, crafty gatherings etc and start selling our wares that the ideal world gets oh so messed up with reality and before you know it; the cat’s not been fed, the last of the milk’s gone, and you’ve already missed the deadlines for those events you were desperate to get involved in!

I’m writing this T-minus 32 hours before my first event of the year, and I, like I’m sure many others out there, am feeling all too less than prepared. So you’ve lived the dream-like world of making the things that you get a thrill from seeing other people pick them up, and walk away with smiling with their purchase, but what about the rest of it?

I think anybody who makes things will agree with me that it’s the prep for events that can be the most stressful part of it. Like men can see shopping round Meadowhall on a Saturday a fate worse than death, getting yourself ready for an event can all too easily be a danger zone if you’re not prepared.

It’s the little things- picture this: you’re at an event, after having been lost on the motorway, you’ve no idea who’s going to be there because you forgot to check the advertising and you’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ve forgotten your pins to tack a sign on. Worst nightmare. But easily averted.

From experience (and that includes forgetting to take a cash float on more than one occasion), most situations are solvable, and nine times out of ten, making friends with your neighbours when setting up can be the magic solution, not to mention a great opportunity to make new friends.
Now, I’m not suggesting you ask to borrow £10 pound’s worth of 20 pence pieces before you even know the name of the stallholder next to you, that‘s just asking for trouble, but we’re all a friendly bunch of crafty comrades and all in exactly the same boat so remember one favour deserves another, and lending a few pins out to your neighbour will probably mean they’ll be happy to watch your stall while you go find that wondrous cup of tea that you’ve been hankering after since you got out the taxi!

So, here’s a quick list of things of the bare minimum you should be taking along with you…

Tablecloth: most places won’t let you do an event if your table isn’t covered, so that should be the first thing you pack when getting ready.

Business cards- we want people to know who you are so they can come back for more of your handmade goodies at a later date!

Change: essential for that first purchase of the day with a £20 note!

Notepad and pen: Great for writing orders, swapping contacts, keeping track of what has sold, or at worst a game of noughts and crosses with your neighbour!


Bags: Something to put items in once someone has bought them from your stall.

And last but not least, a big friendly smile (cheesy but it’s true!)

It may seem like a given that these will automatically get packed up to go with you to an event, but I can personally think of at least 3 things from the above that I’ve forgotten in the past, including a time when I was on hands and knees begging a Christmas shop to let me buy some of their bags from them in sheer desperation… What I’ve learned from these ‘happenings’ is that you do your best to fix it, remember there’s a crowd of people dying to buy some beautiful things and a cup of tea solves everything!- the most important thing is that you enjoy what you’re doing and have fun!

So, with that, I shall leave this here, and want to wish everyone the best of luck with whatever events you have in the pipeline for 2011!

Jemma from Yorkshire Made
Windy day outside with your stall? These will save your life (and sanity)


  1. Thanks Jemma you have inspired me, I'm going to do myself a checklist laminate of all I need to take! x Good luck on saturday!

  2. How true, I've met so many new friends just lending or borrowing a pair of scissors.

  3. most importantly too....a drink!

    i do a lot of gassing at fairs to customers, stall holders (sometimes myself! lol) and its amazing how dry your mouth can get.

    and if you have to go and buy one, offer to get your neighbour one too....then they can cover you stall for 5mins! ;o)

    great blog jemma, really good stuff :o)


  4. No matter how many fairs you do, it's easy to forget something! I just finished packing my bag for a fair tomorrow only to realise that I had forgotten my float! I'll be needing one of those laminated lists I think!

  5. No matter how many fairs I do and however much preparation I do, I always forget something.

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    Check out my blog at for more info x


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