Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Selling at craft fairs

Well, it was an exhausting weekend!  There was initially something quite exciting about it all - getting up at five in the morning, packing up the car and driving up to Clare, spending the day outside, braving the mud and the elements, then everything back in the car, back home and dropping straight into bed.  I have great admiration for those women who did the whole thing in a dress and with perfect Amy Winehouse-style hair and makeup.  I couldn't keep up the pace myself.  By the Sunday, I was a mess, and just about asleep on my feet.

It may have had something to do with the weather.  On Saturday, we were deluged with rain and although everyone (including me) moaned about it, it was actually a lovely cool, fresh day and I quite enjoyed myself, squelching about in wellies, trying (and re-trying) all the food stalls and discovering the different stuff on exhibition.  Sunday though was blindingly hot, especially under the gazebo and - what with the 5 o'clock start as well - I could have slept the whole day through.

Of course, by Sunday I was also terminally bored with my own inability to sell bears.  Salesmanship isn't a particularly strong quality in my family (I think we are makers, rather than sellers) but whereas I once used to think it was a matter of personality - and some people were simply not good at selling - I am starting to see it as something to be learned.

Certainly I learnt something over the weekend.  There was someone next to me who had a little monologue which she launched into for every customer that came around.  Indeed, I heard it so many times, I could probably repeat it verbatim here.  But if that sounds critical, it's not meant to be.  It is very difficult to be passionate and interesting about your subject, on cue, and repeatedly throughout the day, every time someone approaches your stall.  Far better surely to think about it beforehand, note down the important stuff which you really want to pass on to your customers, and then have it ready to relay on the day (hopefully without the aid of the written notes).

Having said that, I don't think I have ever particularly tried to articulate to anybody what is special about the bears - indeed, it's a little embarassing for me even to say such a thing.  I need a bit more practice (prepare for the boasting to begin).  Particularly though, I've never tried to explain why mohair is special.  At one point, I was speculating on this blog that I ought perhaps to forget about advertising the special quality of mohair - since it doesn't seem to mean much to most customers.  I've changed my mind though - I think it is, or should be, a major part of their appeal. 

I was thinking, before the craft fair, that I could do a poster for the unit at the Art & Craft Centre, explaining about mohair.  That way, even if people don't take a bear home with them, they might leave my stall/unit with some new information.  My next job then, is to do some research into mohair production and condense it in a way that makes it relatively easy to pass on to customers.

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