Category Archives: Craft Fair

Art Fairs

I think it would be fair to say that most photographers nowadays base their sales on digital output, whilst we seem to be in a minority selling mainly printed work.
For us it all happened because we started out selling in galleries and exhibitions and have continued with that approach over the years. However, way back in 2009/10 also we dabbled in craft fairs with mixed results. We almost always made some money, but it soon became obvious that most people weren’t going to spend a lot of money at a craft fair with the average sale being relatively modest.


At one point we signed up with Yorkshire Craft Fairs and the proprietor Don Olly turned out to be something of a retailing guru and it was worth doing a few of his fairs just to learn the trade. Don gave out a set of notes on how to be successful selling at craft fairs and these have proved to be worth their weight in gold over the years. Some of these pointers may seem like hard work, especially the first one, but they have proved an invaluable guide to selling our work.

  • Never ever sit down if there are customers about. This may seem tough, but we’ve often looked around the room and all the stalls with people standing had customers and all the stalls where the stallholder was sat reading the paper had none!
  • If you do sit between customers, don’t leap up as someone approaches as they will find this very intimidating, keep an eye open and get up early.
  • Don’t eat on the stand if there are customers about if you can help it as it looks bad.
  • Always engage with your customers. This can be difficult, especially if like us you are a bit shy, but it’s worth persevering.
  • Be attentive to your customers and don’t spend time talking to friends or the next stall holder.
  • Make sure your product is clearly priced. The average buyer is easily discouraged and will often walk away rather than ask.
  • Be professional and present your work and your stall to a high standard.
  • Make sure you stall is well lit, this will literally show your products in the best light.
  • Be organised. Arrive in good time and be ready by opening time.
  • Don’t pack up too early even if you’ve had a bad day. It’s not fair on everyone else if you pack up before closing time and we’ve lost count of the amount of sales we’ve made by hanging on whilst everyone else is packing up.
  • Be ambitious! Most people we encounter at craft fairs are happy to cover the table cost. This is nowhere near enough, you need to cover all costs and have wages for your time too.

  G1X-0641Art in the Pen at Skipton showing the huge range of stalls, numbering in excess of 100 I believe.

Once we figured out that craft fairs weren’t going to make us enough money we started to move towards better quality Art fairs and these have proved to be much more successful. Fairs like Crafted by Hand, Art in the Pen and Staithes Festival are quality shows entered by serious sellers and are frequented by visitors who come specifically to buy, so these bigger shows are definitely the ones to go for and have a great atmosphere too.

 G1X-0449 Purpose built stands at Kirkleatham near Saltburn

The fixed costs for a two day show like Art in the Pen can be high, but they regularly get 5000 visitors over the weekend, so it can still be very worthwhile and shows like Crafted by Hand are curated so only people with a good track record tend to get in. The atmosphere at these shows is also very good, so they can also be a great social occasion. Staithes Festival in particular promises to be a great weekend with loads going on, so that’s one we are really looking forward too.

crafted by handAnother purpose built stand at Crafted by Hand at Masham. Costs more to hire but suits us to hang framed pictures.

We’ve got a packed program of fairs for the second half of this year and we’re really looking forward to them, so why not come along and say hello.

Crafted By Hand – Masham         11-12 July
Art in the Pen – Skipton                15-16 August
Staithes Festival                              11-12 September
Crafted by Hand                              1st November (Subject to being accepted)


News bits & bats………..

Conscious that we have neglected the blog badly recently in favour of Facebook, we have resolved to make an effort from now on.

Lots going on at the moment, so this post is going to be more of a newsletter.

Naturally Inclined Exhibition

Last Thursday saw us head to York to Priestley’s to take our “Naturally Inclined” exhibition down and we were very pleasantly surprised to find that we had had a late flurry of sales, so all in all it’s been a really good exhibition for us. We are indebted to Issy and Rob at Priestley’s and Andy Dalton at RAW for giving us this opportunity to exhibit our work not only a new area, but also in such a lovely gallery space. We wish them every success in the future.

Thorp Perrow

We were planning to go to Bransdale and Thorp Perrow to shoot bluebells later this week, but Monday dawned cloudy bright so we decided to chance the crowds and head for Thorpe Perrow before the weather worsened. As luck would have it, we beat the crowds and the conditions were just perfect and we topped off the day with a nice ploughman’s lunch in the cafe.

Don’t you just love the vibrant shades of green the trees go in spring? And after the disappointing lack of bluebells at Ellerburn on Friday, we were blown away with the carpet of bluebells at Thorp Perrow.


Next off we are heading for Scotland where we’ll be staying in a remote cottage on the Isle of Mull, with views north to Rhum, Skye and Eigg. I then head off for a few nights on Skye where I’ll have a go at photographing the Quirang, then weather permitting I’ll be heading to St. Kilda to camp for a few nights. I’ve been to St. Kilda on day trips a couple of times, but always on un-characteristic bright sunny days. St. Kilda has really captured my imagination, so I really want to do it justice and capture the essence of the place, so I’m really hoping for some moody changeable weather.
Sunrise over the Islands

700-2-5366-R M

Crafted by Hand

Then we head for Masham and “Crafted by Hand”. Crafted by hand is a really well organised and promoted art fair, so we are looking forward to a good couple of days. Once that’s over we’ll have to get down to some serious photo processing.

Keep shooting

Richard & Janet

Duncombe Park Craft Fair

We’d heard that Duncombe park was a good craft fair to attend, but what an event it turned out to be! By 11 o’clock on the first morning people were arriving literally by the coach load and it continued like that all weekend. With an amazing setting for the fair inside the main house and over 50 stalls to choose from it was a great event for the visitors and exhibitors alike.

What was really gratifying for us was that despite the media driven recession, people were still prepared to spend their hard earned cash on what they recognised as a quality product. A great weekend all round.

No the portrait behind the display stand isn’t one of ours!