The Christmas Craft Market Season is in full swing and among a few other milestones that I passed earlier this year, it marks my first year in business and a whole year since my first Craft Fair as Little Paper Vee - last December at Crafty Fox Market in Brixton! (Hence the slightly manic grin in the photo above - I was petrified!)
I took part in Crafty Fox Uncovered - the new trader section of Crafty Fox Market, along with a handful of other newbies; including Hannah Bass Tapestry, Alijoe Designs, Katie's Bike and Natalie Strachan Ceramics. We had a fabulous time and as it's a year on for all of us, I thought I'd see what a couple of my fellow Crafty Fox Market Uncovered colleagues were doing after one year in business and get their top tips and advice for new traders this Christmas Season.
Natalie Strachan Ceramics
Natalie is a designer and maker of functional, bright and bold pottery, who lives and works in South London.
"I've been developing my overall tableware and planters collection. Earlier in the year I took part in the Dulwich Artist's Open House with other painters, sculptors and ceramicists.
"On the first Sunday of every month I join West Norwood residents for the community-led, volunteer-run, Artisan's Market at Feast. I’m now a regular and love it! I've made lots of great friends now and can’t wait to go when it comes round once a month. One of my Feast buddies Samantha Warren London (print designer extraordinaire) invited me and other Feast regular Pen & Gravy to join her in a pop-up shop earlier this month. I was thrilled, I’ve always wanted a shop and having a week-long pop-up was a great opportunity to dip my toe in the water, without all the big real-life responsibilities.
Since the Crafty Fox last year I’ve again had the opportunity to take part in their Autumn Markets at both Brixton and Peckham. The CF Markets are so well curated, I'm always bowled over by the talent I see there and it's always a mix of new people, getting the right balance of the familiar faces and the newbies (which was us last year). I will be taking part in the Christmas market on the 6th December in Brixton as well as having an open studio on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th December at Parade Mews Art Studios, alongside other makers showing and selling their work.
Natalie's 3 top tips for New Traders this Christmas Season...
1. Get a card reader
2. Have a mailing sign up list
3. Smile and be aproachable!
I would have told myself last year…
Start making and stockpiling for Christmas in August.
My plans for next year…
Start making and stockpiling for Christmas in June :)
Hannah Bass Contemporary Tapestry
Hannah is an interior designer turned tapestry maker whose collections are inspired by her love of travel and craft.
"Since last year I have been doing a lot of hard work and very little socialising! The reality of starting a small business... but it is also incredibly rewarding. It’s like having a little baby. Juggling creating new designs, going to various craft markets, trying to control the joyful admin.
Hannah's top 3 tips for New traders...
1. Write the to-do list in January so your products are ready by Summer, which gives you time to advertise.
2. PR, PR, PR. Doesn’t matter how great your product is, no one will buy it for Christmas if they have never heard of it!
3. Buy lots of mulled wine to entice friends over to yours. There is a lot to do in the run up to Christmas and you can’t do it all on your own!
I would have told myself last year...
Design less. Spend more time on PR.
My plans for next year are...
"PR, PR, PR. There’s clearly a theme here! But I'm my own worst enemy, Im already excited about designing my new set of maps!
"I have worked incredibly hard this past year. Coming into starting my second year, the plan is to consolidate. Turn my designs into a good enough profit and have a bit more of a balanced life now. Basically, to reap some rewards from a very full on but adventurous year. Oh, and Im going on holiday as soon as Christmas is over!!
After that fantastic advice, all that's left is for me to give my top tips for this Christmas season:
1. Be prepared! For Christmas Markets, applications often have to be sent in August - so don't miss out. Make sure you prepare for your stall in advance by planning your products and display and saving time for promotion.
2. Enjoy yourself and have fun! If you're approachable and happy to talk about your work then potential customers will respond to that. Whatever happens at your first market, be it good or bad, you should try to talk to potential customers, fellow stall holders and the event organisers to get tips and make friends and take as much from the experience as possible.
3. Support your fellow makers! Craft Fairs are a great place to buy unique, hand made gifts for friends and family this Christmas with all the money going directly to the makers and small businesses involved. What could be better than that!
With that in mind, make sure you head on down to Crafty Fox markets in Brixton and Peckham on the 5th & 6th and 12th & 13th of December, where the Crafty Fox Uncovered traders will be trading alongside many other talented stallholders! And if you're interested in joining an event in future, read more about it all here: http://www.craftyfoxmarket.co.uk/crafty-fox-uncovered/
Don't forget to shop small and support independent businesses this Christmas season!