Earlier this year, Claire Montgomery dreamed up the idea for a craft event selling affordable handmade gifts from locals that you won't find on the high street. It’s a community event with workshops, kids activities, tea and cake. At the first summer fair in August, stalls were filled with crafty folk selling their wares and visitors from as far away as Kent. With the next event around the corner, she shares with us her strategy for creating the buzz that leads to a well-attended and successful community event.
1. Start early and keep on marketing
We believe promotion is key – we can have the most wonderful stallholders in the world, but it is pointless if they are sat in an empty venue with no customers. It is important to start marketing as early as possible and even more important to continue with the marketing up to and beyond the day of the fair.
2. Create a coherent online identity
I set up a WordPress blog, Twitter account and Facebook page, all with the same branding, to create a strong visual identity and make sure they all align.
3. Blog for victory
I post regularly on the blog and on the lead-up to the fair did special blog interviews with each of the stallholders – this promotes their work, while whilst we making our blog interesting and relevant. The blog has now had nearly 10,000 views since May alone and we hope to grow it even further after our next fair.
4. Tweet for success
I spend a lot of time keeping the Twitter and Facebook account updated, which is equally important as the blog. We are overwhelmed with the Twitter response – we have over 1,250 followers and gain new ones every day. I started by setting up an account and following lots of other crafty people, I sent them tweets about us to introduce ourselves, I also asked our stallholders to follow and share our profile and it grew from there. We soon got lots of mentions, and I also did a little competition before the fair to win a piece of jewellery through following, which worked really well.
5. Use Facebook as a shop window
Facebook is also a good way of gaining fans. Although we have found it harder to build up, it is a great visual way of promoting the fair – especially through pinned posts, Facebook events, and uploading photo albums of the work and big day.
6. Print flyers to carry your message
We get 5,000 flyers printed, which contain details of the event and a thumbnail of each stallholder’s work. That way, people who are visiting the event already know what to expect and are therefore more likely to be interested in your crafts and buy something. We delivered these flyers across Brighton and also through thousands of doors in the surrounding community.
7. Use your local press
We have have ads printed in local magazines and contact the local press about our event. Local newspaper, The Argus, gave us a mention and listed us in the top ten events to visit, which was great!
The next Fairy Tale Fair is a festive special on Saturday 24th November 2012 at Patcham Methodist Church in Brighton. There will be 35 stallholders selling handmade crafts, jewellery, festive gifts, wedding supplies, vintage items and more. There will also be children's craft workshops, face painting, beauty, and a vintage tearoom.
printed.com went along to the first Fairytale Fair in August, you can see how everything went in our video.