Craft Fairs – When it all goes wrong

Craft Fairs, when they go wrong, no sales

In the past year I’ve sold at fairs that just didn’t work for me. I often see posts about successful craft fairs but rarely do I see posts about when it all goes wrong.

So let’s look up craft fairs. Pages and pages of results on how to ‘win sales’ at your craft fair. Such a stupid term, but hey let’s learn.

Number 1. Look friendly.
Number 2. Clear price points.
Number 3. Display your stall perfectly.

So what happens when you follow the steps and it doesn’t work?

I’m very proud of my displays, and I still change them a lot. I test them at home over and over again. Do the ‘topple test’ and make sure that I’m always showing my cards in the best way.

Unfortunately at one of my fairs, the stall holder next to me backed into my stall so hard that it had no chance. The metal card holders that I’d spent weeks designing, building and putting together flew across the room. Greeting cards everywhere across the dirty floor, the plastic connectors had pinged under other stalls and honestly it was just an absolute disaster. I gave in, threw my cards across the table like a blanket and packed away my broken display so I didn’t have to look at it.

This was after I’d only had one sale and I didn’t even get the money for that as my card reader disconnected. I just didn’t have the heart to tell her it hadn’t gone through as it looked completed on her side.

It wasn’t a good day.

I changed my stall for the next fair, to reduce the chance of an avalanche and we’d swapped out the broken metal holders for plastic. The stall went fine – display wise. One boy giggled at my puns before his mum rushed him off and away from the stall. And that was honestly the highlight.

I had a few people wanting my products for a lot less than it costs to make, so that was unfortunately a no. To top it off a dog came along and weed on my chair… yes I know.

Some of my other craft fairs tend to follow the same story line. No one looking, people expecting your products for a lot less. ‘£2.50 for that’ was a highlight for one fair as a lady threw my card back onto my table. 

I always follow the steps. Friendly and smiley towards the few people who make their way to my stall. Clear price points on each and every product and I feel my display works well.

It’s so dis-heartening. The hours you put in preparing for the fairs, the hours spent sitting behind your stall and you walk away with less money and less hope.

I also fell into the trap and post photos of us having fun at Craft Fairs, which in turn makes other people think that they’re alone if something goes wrong.

Now this is the real honesty: I often come home wanting to pack it all in, but then I see my little girl smile at me. I’m determined. I want to give her the world, and I’m not going to give in this easy. 

toris little bubble craft fair (This photo was taken at one of my successful fairs!)

Don’t get me wrong I’ve had some successes. Going forward I’m going to focus on fewer fairs and just those that I know work better for me. It is a learning curve, but one no one talks about.

 Have you had any negative experiences at fairs? 


My name is Tori. Mama & Illustrator living in Brighton, England.

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5 thoughts on “Craft Fairs – When it all goes wrong

  1. We just love your cards etc, Original and priced right ..also Highly recommended ! Good luck with all of your future fairs
    Thank you

  2. Aww, I couldn’t imagine your stall ever being unsuccessful, your artwork is so bright, fun and colourful! I absolutely love your puns too, they are awesome! It is a shame you have had a few bad experiences, but glad you are still determined. All the best for future craft fairs and hope lots of people find your amazing designs! <3 xxx

    Bexa |

  3. It’s awful that people can be so rude, just walk along if you don’t like something? I’m glad you still have the motivation to stick with it and don’t let the bad ones put you off. I can’t imagine how awful it must have been to have your stands fall like that! x


  4. Oh – I”m so sorry to hear that. I can only imagine your disappointment after all your hard work!

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