Fairs can be a great way to have direct contact with buyers and new clients. We asked three experts on how to make the most of taking a stand.
Margaret Bunn, British Craft Trade Fair
Both retail and trade fairs should be considered in your marketing strategy as excellent opportunities to build your client base, raise your profile and make connections.
Trade fairs like TOP Drawer, British Craft Trade Fair and Decorex attract buyers looking for what they can sell. Including gallerists, museum shops, gift shops, department stores, lifestyle shops and interior designers. This is where you sell your work at wholesale price.
Retail fairs like like Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair, MADE, Craft Festival and Ceramic Art London are for buyers looking to buy for themselves (or others!). This is where you sell your work at the retail price which is a % mark up from wholesale / trade.
However be prepared for anyone - trade, press, gallery, collector at any event you present at.
My top tips for trade fairs:
- Come prepared with your Wholesale (trade) price list and your recommended retail price (RRP) lists.
- It is worth guiding or making suggestions to trade buyers, remember it is your business you are negotiating for.
- If your products are one-off designs, it is recommended that you make a range of work when dealing with trade, to encourage a buyer to commit to purchasing a collection.
- When working out your trade prices, first work out your costs + profit; which equals your wholesale / trade price that gives you a competitive RRP. Trade price is normally between 50% and 70% of RRP.
My top tips for taking part in fairs:
- The work cannot sell itself; you need to engage with your audience, that means have things ready to say about your work and practice this… you will be repeating yourself a lot!
- Avoid sitting, or if you need to sit, have a high stool, so you look approachable and welcoming to potential visitors at your stand.
- Be prepared to smile all day; fairs are exhausting, they can be 10 hour days and you are in the public eye from start to finish.
- Have help to set up and take down to help preserve your energy for the main event and ideally help during the fair open hours, even if it is just for a lunch break.
- Be prepared and presentable, first impressions last.
- Be competitive with your pricing; meaning, do you know if your prices are in line with other exhibitors’ work?