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Exhibitions, stock photos, professional work This board concentrates on topics that explore the potential of your photography being seen by a wider audience and even earning you some money.

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Old 2nd July 2011
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Zuiko Zuiko is offline
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Running A Craft Stall

Well, it's too late to back out now, the car is packed ready for my card and photo stall to make it's debut tomorrow at the local school fete. Just to make sure it really is a baptism of fire I'm also booked for a RSPCA fun day on Sunday.

The project seems to have snowballed regarding investment. So far I've purchased a new printer, gazebo, banquet table, two easels, print browser, card rack, three card display baskets, plastic boxes to transport cards, business cards and holders, A4 leaflet display stands and album filled with 8x6 prints to act as a catalogue. I was also going to (still am) purchase a PVC banner but ran out of time. Add to this a reasonable stock of card blanks, envelopes and cellophane bags, spare printer ink, plus the cost of lab prints, mounts and frames and I've spent somewhere in the region of 450! That could have gone a long way towards buying one of the new Pens or even an E-5.

I got quite a shock when I totalled it up, but at least I can offset it against tax, assuming that I'm not being too optomistic in hoping to earn some taxable income from this venture.

My stock for the weekend consists of 225 cards, 18 12x8 prints in 16x12 mounts and 3 16x12 prints in 20x16 frames (mainly to act as an example of what can be printed from my catalogue, although they are for sale if anyone wants them)

The big question is will I emerge from the weekend with a vastly depleted stock and a fatter wallet or on Sunday night will I still have 225 cards, 18 mounted prints and 3 framed prints? It'll be interesting to see what happens and, good, bad or just plain embarrasing, I'll let you know.
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Old 2nd July 2011
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Re: Running A Craft Stall

The very best of luck John I hope you have a good enjoyable and profitable day.
Oh I've asked for a copy of your book for a birthday present. Can I buy it from you direct or do I have to go via Blurb? Happy to buy from you if you make more profit that way?
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Old 2nd July 2011
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Re: Running A Craft Stall

I hope the day goes really well for you, John. Good luck!
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Old 2nd July 2011
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Re: Running A Craft Stall

Best of luck John!
A baptism of fire indeed... School Fete!
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Old 2nd July 2011
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Re: Running A Craft Stall

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phill D View Post
The very best of luck John I hope you have a good enjoyable and profitable day.
Oh I've asked for a copy of your book for a birthday present. Can I buy it from you direct or do I have to go via Blurb? Happy to buy from you if you make more profit that way?
Thanks Phil.

I don't keep a stock of my book and would have to order it from Blurb myself; it would work out the same. If you get it I do hope you enjoy it.
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Old 2nd July 2011
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Re: Running A Craft Stall

Well, that's the first day done and it was a bit of a mixed result. I didn't get very many people visit my stall; being mostly parents they naturally spent more time with their children at the stalls for sweets, toys, the tombola, various activities and games, including a number of different bouncy castles.

Those that did stop to look were mainly very complimentary about my work but I only sold 6 cards. The mounted prints drew a lot of interest and I sold two 12x8. I also took an order for a 12x8 canvas. I made a net profit of 18 after paying 10 for the pitch, with more to come when I've done the canvas.

Not too bad for a first event, I thought, although on this showing I maybe should concentrate on mounted prints rather than cards. However, tomorrow's event should be more suited to my type of product so I'll be very interested to see what happens there and hopefully it will give a better indication of the viability of my little enterprise.
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Old 3rd July 2011
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Re: Running A Craft Stall

John

Hope today goes better for you. Will be interesting to here about your experience next weekend.

Regards

Simon
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Old 3rd July 2011
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Re: Running A Craft Stall

Well congratulations on making a profit on the days pitch cost ! I am hoping you have taken a shot or two of the image you present ?
Wishing an even better day today
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Old 3rd July 2011
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Re: Running A Craft Stall

Hope all has gone well.
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Old 3rd July 2011
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Re: Running A Craft Stall

Hope today went well John.

I think you did well to make a profit at a school fete, one card seller at our fete a few weeks ago didn't cover the cost of the table. As you say I think the parents are more focussed on their children and the children don't tend to buy cards.

I am sure you will do better at other events, its just a matter of finding the right event for your work......sounds easy doesn't it
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Re: Running A Craft Stall

IF Parents are more focused on their darling little children ... offer Portrait shots !
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Re: Running A Craft Stall

How did the second day go, John...?
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Old 3rd July 2011
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Re: Running A Craft Stall

Quote:
I made a net profit of 18 after paying 10 for the pitch, with more to come when I've done the canvas.
Not a bad start given the venue, I'd say.
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Old 3rd July 2011
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Re: Running A Craft Stall

I have to say today was a disappointment. Numbers visiting the event were down on last year, no doubt at least partly due to it being the men's final at Wimbledon. However, there still seemed to be a reasonable turnout gathered aroung the main events arena, they just didn't seem to be walking around the stalls as much as usual. Of course, this could be partly due to people having less money to spend and if they don't visit the stalls they won't be tempted.

Whatever the reason, my stall (and many others, I gather) had woefully few visitors. Those that did stop were very complimentary about my photographs; they were pleased to chat but not willing to part with any cash. In total I sold 21 A6 cards and 2 A5. Takings were 25.15 of which 17.29 was profit but this didn't quite cover the 20 pitch fee. If I then take into account the bacon roll Debbie and myself had plus the raspberry crepe and donuts Freya had plus various drinks, not to mention the petrol getting there and back, it would have been cheaper to just sit at home doing nothing.

Worse, far worse, is the fact that 10 of the cards were bought by my Mum and 5 by my sister, who came to the event just to see my stall. It becomes even more embarrassing when I admit that another 5 were bought by a friend who was there by co-incidence. Just 3 were sold to the general public!
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Old 3rd July 2011
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Re: Running A Craft Stall

So what went wrong? It could be my products are not attractive enough although, as I say, people were very complimentry. Or were they just being polite and not wishing to hurt my feelings? Maybe my prices are too high, but if this is going to work I do need to make a profit.

Partly, I think, it is that the purpose of my stall is not immediately obvious. I will get a large PVC banner made to rectify this. Next, maybe the subjects I cover are too narrow, being nearly all landscapes. Perhaps I should diversify to appeal to a wider audience. Being an RSPCA fund raising event there were a lot of animal lovers present today, many of them walking around with there dogs. More animal pictures and less landscapes may have been more appropriate.

Another idea is to have a marketing questionaire to gather opinions on whether my choice of subjects are appealing, what other subjects would people like, are my prices reasonable, what messages printed in the cards would be the most popular, and so on. I could do a prize draw for all those filled in with an Argos voucher or something similar as the prize. Today would have been a good opportunity for that, I could have asked for it to be announced over the P A system. With hidsight I could also have donated a framed print to the raffle; this would have got me more publicity.

Some of the problem could be the layout of my stall. I am keen to avoid the tradition of having a table at the front as I consider this is a barrier between myself and my customers, I'd rather welcome them in to my gazebo. Yesterday I had my table running from front to back, positioned in the centre so that people could walk down either side. Here's what it looked like:-





It was maybe a bit cluttered because I was promoting Debbie's hand made cards and some of her paintings as well.

Today I tried a variation on the layout, with my main table still running front to back, but along one side. This was stocked with my baskets of cards, several plate holders to act like mini easils for displaying samples and a 3 tier wire card rack to display more examples. There was also a holder for my business cards and several bowls of complimentary sweets for my visitors, plus price lists on several table top A4 display stands.

On the other side I had a smaller table and the print browser for mounted 12x8s wrapped in cellophane. The table displayed my album/catalogue from which I hoped customers would choose their favourite to order enlargements. Also displayed was my book with flyers detailing how to order it from Blurb (I'm nothing if not an optomist). On this table were also more business cards advertizing my website and another bowl of sweets.

At the back of the gazebo were two free-standing easils for displaying examples of my framed 16x12 prints. This is how it looked today:-



I did notice several people stop to look, pausing at the front but seemingly unwilling to enter. I do wonder if what I see as a friendly invitation to enter my gazebo with no barrier between me and my customer actually appears intimidating to some potential customers, fearing they will feel trapped once inside and almost obliged to buy something in order to escape.


That's not what I'm about at all; I had several lovely conversations with people about areas we had both visited, including one couple who had returned just a week ago from a part of Ireland for which I had a number of pictures. None of these people actually bought anything but I didn't mind, I appreciated their interest and enjoyed talking to them.

It could well be, though, that many people would prefer the table at the front like a counter, acting as a barrier between me and them and guaranteeing them their personal space. Maybe I will try it like that next time. Any thoughts on this matter?
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