Sunday, 28 September 2008

Handm@de Oxford Fair - A steep learning curve by MomentsbyMartha

Having had much trouble finding a craft fair locally that was both within my budget and in a central location, I was inspired to arrange one myself by the first We Make craft fair. A small group of etsy sellers, including myself, decided to go ahead and arrange a fair in Oxford... for artists and crafters, to sell items made by their own hands... a fair where the price reflects the costs involved and which supports independent artists in their own right.

Our first task was to find a location. Oxford Town Hall was available for just 1 weekend date this side of Christmas – November the 9th – we snapped it up!

The Town Hall, built in 1893, has stunning architecture and beautiful decor making it the perfect setting for us to sell our wares. The Hall is in a very central location, just about 50 metres from the main shopping area (map). Sue, who takes the bookings, has been very helpful (and patient) – giving me suggestions about places to advertise as well as an idea of a floor plan for 60 tables.

Having booked the space we realised the enormity of the task in front of us – would we be able to find 60 people to take stalls? Would we be able to get a decent mix of crafts? The answer in both cases is yes.

This week I took the booking for the last remaining table... an enormous relief. We advertised for sellers anywhere that was free. Forums, chat rooms, and as many postings on websites as we could manage! Many of these will remain until the event itself and will serve to direct visitors too.

As for the mix. Its amazing. We have a great variety of jewellery; classic, chunky, retro, funky; as well as bags (both fabric and leather) and toys, scarves and clothing... Stained and fused glass, a stonemason as well as a potter and several painters – not to mention handmade chocolates and delicious looking cupcakes and cookies!

We had an unprecedented response to our request for promotional items – I believe that we're well on our way to 2000 items with more arriving every day. These will be popped into bags and handed out, gratis, to visitors on the day helping them to choose to buy handmade this Christmas.

And so, with just 6 weeks until the "handm@de" Craft Fair takes place, the next step is advertising! A massive undertaking in itself with the objective of getting as many feet through the door as we possibly can. Flyers arrived today, posters have been ordered - and one of those 'Golf Sale' type signs is also on the books...

I just hope the fair is as much of a success as it truly deserves to be.

Check out the handm@made blog for more details and to see some of the fabulous artists/designers/crafters that will be there!

Article by momentsbymartha


Great Circle Etsy Team said...

Wow, that is quite an undertaking. It has given me several ideas of duplicating the effort here. Good luck with it and I hope your turn out is outstanding. Maybe you have created a yearly event!

Tony Reynolds

Anonymous said...

Yey I can't wait :D

Jackie said...

I wish I'd seen this.
Although Oxford is a bit far for me. Are you planning any more ? In The North?