It can be a daunting prospect to have a stall and sell at an art fair, and it does take some organising, but it is great fun, especially when you are not on your own. I am really lucky to have met a brilliant group of girls at a time when we were all trying to get our work out there a bit more, and we formed an artists' collective Sent-2-Coventry (check out the website). We decided it would be much better to get together to sell our art; it's much more fun for a start, and it also means we can afford to be at more events if we share the cost of a pitch. Don't get me wrong, six independent, headstrong women working together can be interesting(!) but we are all still friends ;) and the support we get from working as a team is great.
Having a stall at an art fair is certainly no guarantee of sales, and so I take the view that each fair is an investment that may or may not pay off. The weather, especially in England, has a lot to do with it when the event is outside, sunshine generally = sales, and rain definitely puts a damper on profits... Sometimes shows with lots of people still don't generate sales, it all depends why people have come, and it's not always to buy jewellery. Having said all that, while I sell some pieces in my online shops I tend to sell much more of my work face to face. Online there is so much competition, and it does feel like I am a small fish in a very big pond. Doing art and craft fairs is a great way to reach a more local audience, and as with many things, people often prefer to see and try something on in person before committing to spend their money. One of the added bonus benefits from having the Sent-2-Coventry stall is that we do kids face painting alongside our tables of arts and crafts, so even where we may not make a mint on our wares, there is always a queue of kids waiting to get their faces painted, so we can generally break even doing that!
I have a show coming up this weekend, which I'm doing with one of the Sent-2-Coventry girls; we are going to try our luck at the Birmingham Lord Mayor's Show on Bank Holiday Monday. It's an event we haven't done before, so this is really an experiment, but we are going to give it a whirl. At each event we learn a bit better how to set out our stall, what essential items we absolutely must have with us (gaffer tape and diet coke are pretty high on the list) and what is likely to sell (although I can be surprised on that front too).