Christmas Fair at Waingels College

161113craftfair1aDidi Lou Crafts returned to Waingels College this year. They have made some changes, firstly making the fair shorter and secondly making it bigger by expanding it into another room adjoining the main hall. It meant there was more space, which was nice. I think this fair was better attended than last year and there was certainly still people buying at the time it was supposed to close. For fairs not next to a shopping area, I think Sunday’s work better, it becomes a family thing, but getting everyone up and ready for a 10am start, well it seems a little early to me. Again, it wasn’t a huge sales success for Didi Lou Crafts, but a lot of the notepads, pencils and spinning tops went.

spinningtops2New items included the spinning tops above and the notepads and pencils below. These are all items Didi Lou Crafts only stocks for craft fairs (they are not available online).

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Christmas Fair at Trunkwell House

161104craftfair1bThis was a two day fair, but luckily they had a 3 hour set up period the previous day, which was probably most notable for the pouring rain. Thankfully most of my stock and equipment is rain proof, I actually store my stock in Really Useful Boxes® so it is well protected. The actual fair is held in the huge marquee at Trunkwell House. It was well set up, tables laid out ready complete with a fresh white tablecloth. Unfortunately with 80 stalls and only limited entrances into the marquee, it took some time to get parked close to move stuff in, so on the Friday I didn’t unload all the stock. I did spend time setting up the table with the tree and lights and tinsel around the white shelves. I spent about an hour and a half before heading home, knowing I had items to complete for the morning.

161104craftfair2bIt was a very chilly early Saturday morning, frosty, but thankfully the rain had ceased. I finished setting up with plenty of time to spare to be able to photograph the stall and post it on Instagram. I bought a little table the previous night and managed to complete some of the little notepads and pencils I had been working on in past weeks during the day, which I added to stock on Sunday morning. It was cold outside both days, but I can report that the heating in the marquee made it rather warm. Thankfully it was a later start on Sunday, having left everything set up overnight. I did take a large plastic drop sheet and covered the stall with that both nights, which was just as well as a few people found damp from condensation had dripped onto their tables overnight.

161104craftfair3b Whilst I had steady sales, it was not the best fair Didi Lou Crafts has attended and I will need to consider carefully what lessons I can learn from the weekend. I did really like my new white Christmas tree as a display for the more individual Christmas decorations. The gingerbread men were popular and I have ordered more stock of those. There is one available in the Christmas section of the Didi Lou Crafts Etsy store now.

xmas-items-1New products on Saturday included two gold character bells (above) at £4 each, two papermache reindeer (above) at £8 each and two china snowmen baubles (above) at £4 each. The brown reindeer has already gone, but if any of the others are of interest they will be available at future fairs this month (see the Events page) and are also ready to ship. Please contact me at didiloucrafts@gmail.com if you want one of them, and I can add it as a custom order on the Etsy shop. Remember if they are shipped they will also incur an extra post and packing charge. I also added 6 spinning tops (below) on Saturday, selling half of my stock, so I have ordered more and hoping to have them completed in the next week (they are dispatched but have not yet been delivered). I also added some extra notepads (below) and pencils (below) on Sunday, and had a run on the notepads, so my stock is low. I have been busy doing more this week and have new stocks of washi tape, including some Christmas designs so those will be ready for this coming weekend. These (the spinning tops, notepads and pencils) are all part of the Didi Lou Crafts exclusive Craft Fair range, so they are not usually available online.

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Christmas Fair at Tadley Sainbury’s Cafe

161103craftfair1It has been months since Didi Lou Crafts attended a craft fair, a deliberate thing as my experience of fairs last year led me to believe November is the best time for my business to do fairs. So this fair was held at the Tadley Sainbury’s Cafe in support of The Voice, a group of professionals, patients and ex-patients of the NHS Mental Health Service. Who because of their experience have come together to develop and offer everyone free basic life skill workshops. Please do check out their page here. I feel too little is done for those with mental health issues, so was happy to help, even if I didn’t know who they were when I booked the fair.161103craftfair2The fair was busy at first, but the queues died off quickly. I was placed in the back corner and if anything I found things a little cramped. It was one of those fairs which included a lot of stalls of pyramid sales products, rather than homemade crafts. Not a good fair for me sales wise, although I did get a custom order which I will make up next week.

gallHowever it was useful as a practice run to set up as it has been so long since my last fair. New features on the stall are the lit sign and the christmas tree. I really like the sign, not so convinced about the tree. I think I will remove the tinsel for this weekend and just leave the lights, as it is supposed to display the bisque and china painted christmas decorations. xmasdiamonds

The new items for this fair are shown above and below, the painted bisque gingerbread men (above) are £3 each. The painted and plastic-coated papermache diamond baubles (above), the decoupage and plastic-coated papermache trees (below), the decoupage and plastic-coated papermache hollow bell (below) and the painted and plastic-coated papermache hearts (below) are all £2 each. These will be available at all the fairs Didi Lou Crafts is doing this month (see the Events page) and are also ready to ship, if any catch your eye. Please contact me at didiloucrafts@gmail.com if you want one of them, and I can add it as a custom order on the Etsy shop. Remember if they are shipped they will also incur an extra post and packing charge.

xmastreesI’m off again later today to set up for the next fair, a two day fair this weekend. I am tweeting, instagramming and making facebook posts with sneak previews of new items making their debut this weekend, so look out for those.

 

 

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Spring Fair in Wokingham

160409craftfair1It felt like ages since Didi Lou Crafts did a fair, but it is only about 10 weeks. Now that isn’t really that long, but in terms of what has happened at home, it feels like it is a lifetime ago. That aside, it was nice to get out again and mix with other stall holders and to speak with the public about my products.

160409craftfair2This fair was held upstairs in a large room in Wokingham Town Hall. I had never visited the town hall before and must say it was a nice room, one I can imagine would be atmospheric for a small intimate wedding party. It worked for a craft fair, although I guess for the organiser the space is quite limited and means only a small number of stalls could be included. The town hall is right next to the Market Place and Saturday is always market day in Wokingham town centre. Being in the centre of town had advantages and disadvantages: there were plenty of people around, but unloading and parking was not as easy as at some halls. However being upstairs did mean people didn’t necessarily know about the fair and the organiser ended up putting balloons outside as well as sending people out to hand out flyers and telling people we were there.

160409craftfair3Didi Lou Crafts had a couple of sales, but it wasn’t the best of the fairs I have attended. I think fairs focussed on a specific upcoming seasonal holiday work better, such as Christmas Fairs. It might have been better to attend a fair early in March to catch the Easter and Mother’s Day trade, but unfortunately with the issues at home that was not possible this year.

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First fair of the new year

craftfair160130-1bDidi Lou Crafts ventured northeast yesterday to attend the Marlow Community Market as a stallholder. This is a regular fair, held the last Saturday of every month and has mixed stalls, including foods. It was a quiet day, cold out (and cold in the hall too). I felt sorry for the cheese man, he was outside the hall in a gazebo.

craftfair160130-2bI made a few sales, but it was disappointing. Perhaps it was the January effect… people say they make less sales of craft items in January, after the madness of Christmas. But I was next to some great stallholders and the day passed quickly enough, some of it sat on the wall heater to try to stay warm.

craftfair160130-3bSome of the newer products can be seen in these pictures, such as the animal door hangers, the love heart and tulip fridge magnet cards which have only just been listed on Etsy in the last week or so. To see these new items, check out the Didi Lou Crafts Etsy store. Other items made their debut, including some fun handpainted ceramic car moneyboxes and some new glass engraved items, which are still to be added to the Didi Lou Crafts Etsy shop in the coming weeks.

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Lunchtime Fair at One Valpy

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Today’s fair was the last for Didi Lou Crafts for 2015. Didi Lou Crafts has done a total of 11 fairs since August, 8 of those in the last 6 weeks. This was another corporate lunchtime event. It was well organised, but disappointingly not that well attended. So a mixed bag with regards these lunchtime corporate events, but definitely something I will consider again for next year.
craftfair151218-2_tnThe advantages are that there are less stalls, being mid week, many stallholders are not able to do a mid week lunchtime because they have other commitments. I found out about these two through other contacts, they are not as easily findable as most fairs and markets. If these two are representative of most then they are held on company property and it may be that many are free, but parking was not so easy for these two, that may vary with other companies. I will keep my eye out for more of these next year.
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Lunchtime Fair at The Blade

craftfair151216-1_tnSerenaded by a steel band, overlooking the city, Didi Lou Crafts was at the corporate christmas lunch for The Blade building in Reading today. Staff in the building also got lunch and a free casino as well as the steel band playing christmas carols and there were only 6 stalls with Christmas and/or handmade items.

craftfair151216-2_tnIt was a good fair for Didi Lou Crafts, particularly because there was no table fee. The organisers were very friendly and helpful and the staff from the building visiting us were particularly interested in the handmade items. As has been the case at many of the recent fairs, the Christmas decorations sold well, particularly the Christmas suncatchers but also the decorated hearts and the little decorated notepads which are popular all year round and at this time of year make a great little stocking filler.

craftfair151216-3_tncraftfair151216-4_tnTheir tables were only 4 foot by 2 foot, but the young man helping was very happy to let me use 2 tables. Once we started packing up, we were offered some of the buffet lunch. One lovely woman helped move my boxes down in the lift while I collected my car from the public car park and even helped me load up the car. It is definitely an experience I would repeat and I am pleased to say I am doing it all over again the day after tomorrow at a sister building just down the road.

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We were up on the 13th floor of The Blade, in what seemed like a conference and entertainment room. The view from up there was amazing, almost 360 degrees over the town of Reading.

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Another Christmas Fair

craftfair151212-3_tnDespite it being a drizzly Saturday afternoon mid December, this fair was reasonably well attended. It was an average fair for me, although I believe I did better than many of the stallholders. The organiser delivered a lot of leaflets and advertised in a lot of places, but it is a new fair, one that will be repeated, so hopefully it will build a following over time as people realise it is a more regular fixture on the calendar.

craftfair151212-2_tnFor me, the sellers were mostly Christmas decorations again, the glass painted suncatcher decorations very popular again. I now have only a few days till the next one mid-week. I will have very little time to make new stock so thankful I made enough Christmas stock over the last few months. I have already started my stock for the new year, with more supplies ordered. Valentine’s Day is the next big push for me.

craftfair151212-1_tnI am really enjoying doing the fairs, but they vary so much. I am beginning to recognise some of the regular stallholders too. Looking forward to the new year and already starting to enquire about fairs for 2016.

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Indoor Market

craftfair151205-1bThis market went reasonably well. Part of the appeal was definitely the ability to book photos with Santa, so there was a constant flow of people/families for that. Luckily Didi Lou Crafts was placed in the entrance on the ground floor, so people had to walk right by the stall. A high traffic area is great, even though the wind was cold coming through the open front door. I am not sure I would have done as well upstairs or round the corner. I deliberately had different (or additional) stock to the previous night’s stall, mostly because I expected a more mixed group of shoppers at this fair, which was the right call.

craftfair151205-2bThere are a number of problems with being a lone stallholder, such as handling toilet breaks, but my experience after a number of fairs is fellow stallholders are happy to watch the stall for a few minutes, so I rattle as I head off, cash box in backpack. Some people have the advantage of a spouse to drop them off and pick them up, which is a help unloading the car and saves the problem of finding parking. This fair was in the centre of town and I had to load with the hazard lights on surrounded by buses. I was very late leaving, because when I got back to the car park to get the car there was a long queue to leave and someone stuck at the barrier (and whilst the car park has two in barriers, it only has one out barrier). Not something I can really control and I’ve had similar problems at a previous fair where there was a huge queue to pay for the parking, so I have to admit it is easier when the location has a free car park on site, but that isn’t always the case. The next fair does, but the last two I have booked for this year have the same problem as this fair, being in the middle of town, so needing to unload then head off to park before returning to set up, in a busy town so close to Christmas. Still Christmas is likely to be the best time of year for me. Amusingly, in terms of making items, I am already planning my spring stock, considering Valentine’s Day and Easter and thinking about what sort of new summer items I might make to increase sales at that time of year.

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Evening Fair

craftfair151204-2bWhilst it was not a bad fair, I think a nursery shopping night is not necessarily the right fair for Didi Lou Crafts. The target audience of the items I make is definitely not young children. This sort of fair would better suit a sewing or knitting specialist making children’s toys and clothes. This fair also featured a lot of non-craft products, including beauty products. I think Didi Lou Crafts does better in a craft fair, where people are specifically looking for items with that hand made feel.

craftfair151204-1bI also found the short period of the fair, only two hours, not necessarily worth the effort. I have a few other short fairs booked over the coming weeks, perhaps they will be different. Each fair is a learning experience, and for that I am grateful.

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