4 key considerations before you attend a farmers’ market or craft fair

Attending a farmers’ market or craft fair is a great way for a growing business to drive sales and create awareness in a local area – but if your business hasn’t done anything like this before, it can be difficult to know where to start.

Read on for four essentials to help get you ready for your first craft fair or farmers’ market, as well as tips for finding the right audience for your products and services.

Attending farmers’ markets or craft fairs is a great way to attract customers and let people know what you do. You’re likely to already have some customers, and have probably established production or service provision methods, but now you need to spread the word about all the good things you do.

Events like these are great places to gain valuable feedback from customers. So, get your product right, then look for events.

Which is the right event for my business?

If you’re just getting started with events, something small and local is best. That way, you can find out about preparation, setting up, stock levels, cash flow, customer service, and how best to run the day, without getting in over your head. Use the event to get things running smoothly before moving to bigger events.

How do I find these events?

There are quite a few co-operatives – the Thames Valley Farmers' Market Co-operative is one example. They tend to have websites that detail events. The National Farmers’ Retail & Markets Association also lists events online. A simple ‘farmers’ markets’ Google search will bring you lots of options.

For craft fairs, the UK Craft Fairs website offers a list of local and regional events.

What sort of cost is involved?

At smaller events, the costs aren’t huge. To be a stallholder at the Matlock Bath Indoor Craft & Gift Market costs between £12 and £50. For farmers’ markets, the costs can also be low, with some markets charging as little as £30 for a stall. It might be necessary, however, to pay a small fee and become a member of a co-operative or organising group before becoming a stallholder.

What are the rules for participating?

At farmers’ markets, there are often rules about stocking produce from within the local area and having someone involved in production in attendance, but rules can be different everywhere, so it’s best to check with individual events. Craft fairs generally want you to pay in advance, they also have set hours you must keep to, and you can usually only sell or display items and services agreed to with organisers in advance. Some form of liability insurance is usually required at events of this kind.

Now you know the essentials of attending an event for the first time, how about dipping your toe in the water and looking for an event that’s just right for your business?

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