Monday, August 10, 2015

Fully Booked fo 2015, but we're sorting dates for 2016

Apologies to any of you hoping to book a table for the remaining dates for 2015.
Due to an unexpected demand for tables, we were fully booked for both the summer and Christmas fairs for a few weeks already, and now the remaining dates are also booked up. Most dates have several reserves too, so even if we get a cancellation, it won't be enough to free up a table.

So looking forward to 2016, we're going to simplify our events to be held at the Masonic Hall in Seaham, so that we'll now be offering one event per month, on the First Saturday of each month. I can't accept bookings yet, as we're still finalising details, but what is being planned are a few changes to this year to help make the fairs more, well, fair!

From April 2016, our events will all be classed as BeachCraft. This is so named as we're facing Seaham Beach, and while we encourage beach themed items, it isn't exclusively a beach themed fair.
So we are planning to reserve six tables for beach themed crafts, from a total of sixteen tables.

We have a regular food seller so we can't accept another food seller for our 2016 fairs, sorry!

We shall be limiting the tables available to resellers to three, and we already have more than that who regularly attend, so no new resellers for 2016 thank you. (Resellers includes, Usborne Books, Body Shop, Forever Living etc.) This is an unavoidable consequence of a recent expansion in the popularity of the reselling of these items, and as an example, I have had to turn away over a dozen Forever Living resellers this year, as we have a resident one already.

This leaves six tables for more general crafts, and for these tables we shall limit duplication wherever we can. We like to encourage new makers and will continue to do so, but we are sensitive to the need to not have a room full of jewellery makers, or knitted baby clothes. We welcome a wider variety of sellers with new ideas of fledgling businesses that are looking to try their product range.

The end result is that we should have a better fair, with a wider range, and happier customers.
In 2015 we've managed a best footfall of over 250, and we feel that when we run two fairs per month we could be reducing the footfall as we share customers between them. After all, there's only one payday per month! So where we've had fairs with 80-140 people this year when the weather wasn't great, the thinking is that we should return to 200 plus per month, through next summer, and at the themed fairs.

On that subject, as they're so popular, and despite all the fairs being themed as BeachCraft, our intent is to have a BeachCraft Spring fair, to kick off the year, followed by two regular BeachCraft fairs then a Mid Year fair on July 2nd, (we could do with a cooler name), then a BeachCraft Summer Fair in August, a regular fair in September, and then a BeachCraft Autumn fair in October, a new idea, the BeachCraft Fawkes Fair in November (possibly in facny dress), and lastly our BeachCraft Christmas fair in December - so lots of scope for fun throughout the year, but also for theming products.

Our friends at the Masonic Hall have kjindly kept the hall hire fees frozen for 2016, so the good news is that our tables remain at £15 per table/event and we will continue our discount of booking three or more tables reducing the price to £10 per table/event. With nine events for the year, it makes the whole year's tables available for £90 and with some fairs not too far away charging £35 - £45 we're as cheap as a couple of tables at their fairs! How's that for a good deal.

So that's our update/news/plans
We will confirm more later and advise when bookings can be accepted.
Until then, if you have any questions, email me on keepcalmevents@gmail.com
See you at the seaside
Dave

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Mid-Tem Update...

Hi everyone.
As promised, now that we're half way through the year, here's a little update of where we stand, what we have learned, and what we are thinking of for the future.

Before i start, I need to get a few things off my chest, especially after yesterday when Paula ran the event for me. She was subjected to a lot of the comments and "ideas" that i hear every time, but as she wasn't used to being on the receiving end, it was difficult for her to get a response accepted. So to add my contribution, here is a list of the regular comments, and my response to them. These are not aimed at anyone in particular, just general things we hear every time we run a fair, as if it's our first fair and we've no idea what we're doing! Hopefully they'll raise a simle among our regulars.

1)"You need a bigger banner, nobody can see that from over the road"  We've had this for three years because we have been running fairs for that long. To be honest, we've had banners of all sizes, the largest being some 15ft long and on it's own free-standing expanding wall - and it made no difference to when we only had a simple banner tied to the railings on the front of the car park. We've settled on a system of a permanent banner, and then one we raise on the day to say that we're open, and it is perfectly visible from across the road. It doesn't mean that because it's there, everyone who sees it will come in - they won't...

2)"You need some signs/banners/flyers the other side of the road" As if we haven't tried that. We have, at different times, had signs on the lamp posts, railings and on parked vehicles. We've put fliers under windscreen wipers, stood there for hours given them out and employed people to do the same. The return from that was around two punters for every 150 flyers given out. So, if we were to make a difference to the footfall, we'd need thousands of flyers, and people to stand there giving them out, which would raise the table fees to around £40 per table. Of course this doesn't mean we'd sell more, as we find that the punters who are cajoled to come in seldom buy anything.

Personally I would rather have 150 customers who come to buy, than an extra 150 who don't but who have cost us money to drag in. 

3)"You should open for longer" Of course, that would mean so many more punters - except it won't, as the footfall after 4pm drops immediately to almost nothing. Plus the staff often need to prep the hall for the evening, so even if we're slow leaving, we're potentially in the way.

4)"You should advertise in...." Fabulous idea. Except of course we do, continually, online, in local media, and through placement of flyers and posters in local businesses, hairdressers, libraries, in fact everywhere that they have been proved to work. What we don't do is pay hundreds of pounds to advertise in glossy magazines or places that would mean increasing table fees. Our best results come from various craft networks, netmums, stallfinder etc. online. That is free to do, except for my time.

I could go on but, what's the point. Everyone's an expert in the craft fair world, we learned that in year one. Generally the loudest critics are the ones whose items don't sell. These tend to be completely out of kilter with what people expect to find at a fair, or simply not what people need. Of course the sellers who know their market, and sell decently hand crafted items, always do well, some of them have done better with our fairs than anywhere else they've tried, which reflects the quality of the customers we attract. We firmly believe that those who make good items sell well and those who haven't found their niche simply won't, and throwing more money at promoting the event won't change that for any of them.

The other thing we've tried this year is the odd Sunday fair, and to be honest it's too early to tell, but we have seen a difference in the footfall. Whether this was simply the weather we can't tell. But if there is a noticeable difference we'll revert to Saturday's only next year.

In terms of footfall, this is hard to predict. Yesterday (July 4th) we had a reasonable 115, considering there were so many other events running, plus tennis of course, and the British GP qualifying. Paula had her best selling day of the year, which is surprising as we had a day earlier in the year with 298 visitors and she only took £40 - so that proves that number don't mean everything.

Overall i feel that we're getting the balance right. Our pricing policy lets sellers have a table for £10 if the book three - which is proving very popular, and encourages the new sellers that we like to help and encourage. We feel that running a monthly fair is good for ensuring the returning buyers, and that the additional dates might not be  necessary. Theming works, as we sold all of the table space for the Spring, Summer and Christmas fairs by March - where the remaining fairs were still being filled in May. In face we've still got a few tables left  - but only a few.

We welcome feedback and of course ideas, preferably ones that aren't obvious or that we haven't already tried, but generally ideas can be useful, so feel free.

Onwards and Upwards
Dave

Thursday, March 19, 2015

eFlyer is ready to share

Our 2015 eFlyer is now ready, please feel free to save a copy and pass it around.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Confirmed dates for 2015

Thanks for checking out the dates for our fairs.

below you will find the confirmed dates for 2015, for the fairs to be held at the Masonic Hall, Seaham.  Etsy sellers are now welcome at all events and information on Etsy will be available as before, just ask at the Peblsrock Sea Glass fair. The new format, Crafty Old Hipster, which is aimed at anything qwerky, vintage or hipster. We are hoping to encourage more sellers as we had numerous enquiries over the past year.

The seasonal fairs are open to all, no restrictions and we may have room for one or two table top sellers depending on what they sell of course. This will provide the necessary variety to encourage repeat visitors.

Table fees are being held at £15 per event, as they were in 2014. The same discount applies, which is that if you book and pay for three or more events on one invoice, you receive a discount that makes each table £10, so two dates would be £30 (2 x £15) whereas three will also cost £30 (3x £10). To book simply send the chosen dates to me in an email, keepcalmevents@gmail.com, and tell me if I can use paypal to invoice you and if the email for your paypal is different to the one you've used to email me. If paypal is not an option, then please ask for details to make a bank transfer. We require advanced payment and do not accept payment on the day unless there are exceptional circumstances.

For now, the proposed dates are as shown. Hope to see you at one or more...

2015 events will be divided into three categories:
1) BeachCraft – for items with a beach/sea/nautical theme or anything complementary.
2) Crafty/Old/Hipster – for vintage, qwerky, hipster or other items out of the ordinary.
3) Seasonal fairs (Spring, Summer, Halloween, Christmas) – unrestricted – all sellers welcome.

Etsy sellers will be welcome to all events, and we will continue to provide
support and the offers of free listings etc. as long as these offers exist. (Please
ask for details, before opening a store, or making your first Etsy purchase, as
we have offers for both.)

Proposed Craft Fair Dates, Masonic Hall, Seaham – 2015 (Rev2)
Sat April 4th – BeachCraft/Easter Fair (Easter Weekend)
Sun April 19th – CraftyOldHipster

Sat May 2nd – BeachCraft (MayDay BH Weekend)
Sat May 23rd – Spring Fair (Spring BH Weekend)

Sat June 6th – BeachCraft
Sun June 21st – CraftyOldHipster

Sat July 4th – BeachCraft
Sun July 19th – CraftyOldHipster

Sat August 1st – BeachCraft
Sat August 29th – Summer Fair (August BH Weekend)

Sat Sept 5th – BeachCraft
Sun Sept 20th – CraftyOldHipster

Sat November 28th – Christmas Fair

All dates are subject to change depending on changes of availability of the hall and other factors.
Please check with keep calm events, or on Stallfinder to confirm dates before booking. Please note that if a Saturday becomes unavailable, we will move to the next day, Sunday, where possible.
Bookings are made via keepcalmevents@gmail.com
Hope to see you in 2015.