Saturday, October 17, 2015

The local craft market event

Good morning my lovelies. Another grey day is here and I've spent the morning going to the trash station sorting my garbage and cleaning up after yesterday's neglect. I thought I would share some photos from the local Artisan market I attended last weekend here in my home village Gimel.

My stall looked lovely. I'm not afraid to say it was the finest stand of all. Because it really was. Placed right at the entrance this is what you were welcomed by - a My Rose Valley, Scandinavian Homespun delight.

The rag rug was in place as well as samples of my Nordic Shawl together with lace and country style blue stripes. There were Nordic Hats, Nordic Wrist Warmers, Maybelle garlands and Tilda and Ulrika yarn for sale. And some colorful bracelets made in the least minute using byClaires neat little pattern. I had hopes.

It didn't go so well and looking back at the last time I did this I now know I won't do this again. The farmers in my village are not ready for modern crochet. The locals don't come here to shop. They come here to talk. Chat to neighbours and friends, have lunch at the Buvette where they serve hot food, cakes, coffee and wine. Every vendor suffered, not only me.

I did make some good new acquaintances and sold a few things, enough to pay for the table fee. I made a new Nordic Hat which I will offer as a Crochet & Pattern kit soon in my Etsy shop. I made it for myself and I love the dark wintery colors of it as a contrast to popping green and pink. IT will match well with anything I will wear. I'm starting to feel like I need a matching scarf though...

I did it. I was there. I learned my lesson. And if I ever consider do this again next time around in 3 years from now I hope I go back to read this blog post to tell myself to not put all the effort in. It is just not worth it. 

Enough of the whining but unfortunately this is reality at craft markets. I believe it is all about finding the right market with the right audience if it is going to be fruitful for you as a vendor. Saying all this I'm not giving up. I'll keep going with My Rose Valley worldwide. That is where my audience is. Not here in little hidden Gimel up in the Jura mountains. 


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  1. your stall looked very beautiful! loved that shawl?
    think it's much the same anywhere especially in the country.
    lovely items there
    thanx for sharing

  2. I bet you would have done well at the Country Living fair in London. Mind you, I bet they charge a fortune to have a pitch! Your table looked lovely especially with the shawl as the centre piece. As you say, it was not the right venue. When I attended a craft fair last year the problem was hardly any visitors came! I think selling online seems to be the way to go. :-)

  3. To be honest I think only online works - unless your work can be sold within an upmarket shop and that cuts profit margins right down. I don't think there is any suitable permanent market place for the single seller. They don't have/can't have enough goods for a shop of their own and it would be prohibitively expensive. So handmade gets stuck with 'market' as a place to sell.

    Unfortunately markets are the place people go to get a bargain from, to find goods at rock bottom prices. There is something unstable about them. The means for display are usually pretty basic, enabling people to set up quickly and dismantle quickly.

    I think only online are people able to set up shop in a nice environment and to set up a permanent space and make it feel like home. People should be charging more and attracting people who can afford it - to make is not to be cheaper or matching the shops. Craft is time consuming and that by its nature means it is expensive. For anyone who thinks it is too expensive, ask them if they would sit in their office for 8 hours a day and not get paid for their time. Sadly this does means that even though many would like the product, it is simply not affordable for them to buy. I make and sell and I can't afford my own product. There are many things people cannot afford and there is no right or expectation that we should.

    I was in a shoe shop yesterday that sold wellington boots for £95. Not for me, mine were under £10. But those people could and would buy your items, my friend can afford these boots and she could afford handmade goods unlike me and does sometimes buy them. They probably wouldn't buy from a market, but they would a 'posh' shop. It is sad that nice goods are not available for everyone to buy but that is the nature of our economy and the prices we need to charge to be viable in it.

    So, factor in how much your items are really worth - not just the yarn and some of your time (or even none of it like many crafters do), but all of your time. Then market to those select few who can afford to buy. I bet even at the prices you do charge, they are too expensive for people who just shop at the local shops. Yet there should be no apology from you as I imagine they are still relatively too cheap for you to make a profit.

    When I visit craft markets, there are lots of nice things to buy but I buy none of them as even though I think they are cheap for what they are, they are not affordable by me. So I move on. I get by because I make things myself and have the things I want that way. There are people with more money who don't/won't/can't do that and they will be happy to buy from you. In this part of the world buying even the raw materials can be as much as buying new ready made from a high street shop. Customers often don't understand that and will not buy.

    So, a mixture of things. No reflection on you or your beautiful things. It is just that there is not a great range of people who can both afford them, and who want them. It is very difficult. They will always be most admired though by people who don't want to buy them but make them themselves! The last people you need to impress I know. You do tap into that market too though by selling patterns, which is far more accessible and cost effective for you too. Also yarn, which is a good idea but might be a lot of work with limited profit margins. The other thing (finally!) is that the market is very saturated so there is a lot of competition.

  4. Your stall looks beautiful, pretty and colourful. I'll attend my first craft fair this November in my own little village and I'll probably have the same experience as you now had. People like to come over and watch and to chat, to drink coffee and beer. They won't buy. I'll do it because to let them know I have this little yarn business and to show them what I make. And one day, when they need yarn, I hope they remember there's a yarn seller in the village.


  5. Dear Annette, your table was wonderful - full of colors! I understand very well your conclusions. We have the similar situation in our county. And yes, it is really about the place and about the buyers. I wish you good luck! Your hand craft is really very nice! Don´t give up! :)
    Have a wonderful weekend

  6. I feel your pain! I have done a number of fairs, church bazars and so on. It's always something with the buyers at these events....."do you have it in this color?"..."do you have it in this size?"..."can you come down in price?" or...."I can make that"...and so on. Your booth is lovely and marketed so well. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I think craft fairs are tricky. I remember you writing about your last experience, but you know it's good you did it again to really reinforce how it is. Those large city 'artisan' fairs are probably better, but the you have to travel to several to make it worth the enormous fees they charge, even though the clientele are more willing to buy. I think etsy is the way to go for crafters; still a lot of work but you can set your own limits and work from home. Keep up the awesome work! Your stall really did look great. I am droolong over the tilda colours but sadly it doesn't make financial sense to order them from here. Maybe some day I'll live closer! A girl can dream anyway:)
    Happy Days!

  8. your stall was beautiful, you are right! ;oD
    I had very good experiences in selling my stuff when we were still in Cairo, where the expat community was huge, while in Jakarta was really hard to sell, because I was not Cath Kidston …. they wanted only big names to show off….
    In Maputo? Still not tried to sell anything! Maybe I should try!!! ;oD
    Happy weekend, xxxxx ale

  9. It seems to be the same the world over. I recently went to a big craft fair that runs two weekends every fall for 20+ years (I've even had a stall there years ago and barely made my table fee back.). Although they were a wide variety of handmade items for sale, no one was selling much. It even has a big following and draw from big cities. I've seen where Amazon is now getting into the craft business like Etsy. Your stall was beautiful!

  10. I feel your disappointment, too, so much time and work involved... but so it goes in the country. I'm living in a very small village, and it's the same... Anyway, My Rose Valley is so well known and appreciated on the Web, thanks to your wonderful Blog & Etsy shop. So keep going, dear ! By the way, I'm sure you'd do a HIT participating in some big show like YARNDALE in England, where LUCY of ATTIC24 is organizing it every year. I'm sure you'd be more than welcome there, and you wouldn't regret it. Have a talk with Lucy about that...

    I also wanted to tall you that I'm finishing my Gipsy Blanket, thanks to your wonderful pattern, and I'll very soon email a picture to you :)) I never thought I'd be able of such an accomplishment, and I'm so grateful to you !


  11. Your booth looked lovely and I would have purchased one of your hats - they are adorable!

  12. Lovely set up. I'm sorry sales didn't work out the way you wanted. I had thought about knitting for a local craft fair before the holidays in the city but after the last time i had attended, I believe ppl were mostly look for bargains and the knitwear I saw wasn't up to my snuff. So I've told others I don't feel the effort's worth it considering all the time and consideration I put in.

  13. Lovely display, the previous comments say it all. But keep going, your work is amazing. Xx

  14. Coucou Annette, je visite ton blog depuis longtemps, et même si je ne maîtrise pas assez l'anglais pour tout comprendre, j'aime beaucoup ton univers ...
    Ton stand est très joli, et j'adore ta laine ;-)
    Belle semaine

  15. Well, at least it gave you some fabulous photos that you can use in other advertising, lol!

  16. Well if I had been near I would have stopped by and bought all of your yarn. Your stall was wonderful, maybe a bigger market in a much bigger place?

  17. Just a quick question. I'm new to crochet and I can't read a chart. Is your Nordic shawl and hat pattern written or just a chart I really would like to make them.

  18. Just think it gave all of us one of your lovely bright and cheerful post that bring a smile on a dull day. Just for that alone you should feel it was worth doing. XXX

  19. Quanta coisa linda que você faz em amiga.Essa caixa cheia de novelos,sonho de consumo das crocheteiras brasileiras.Beijo.Valéria.

  20. Åh så fint! Härliga garn, mönster och mössor mm. Du kan vara helnöjd med din insats och ditt bort. Tack för - alltid - trevlig läsning och fina bilder samt inspiration!

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