Welcome to the world of Virtual Craft Fairs!
Since March and the start of the pandemic, Virtual Craft Fairs have fast become the new normal way to buy and sell handmade crafts and we’ve put together this handy guide on everything you need to know about selling your wares virtually and taking part in armchair shopping at its best!
So what exactly is a virtual craft fair?
Similar to walking around an outdoor market or fair, stopping at stalls that catches your eye a virtual craft fair is held online, predominantly on Facebook and Instagram or sometimes via a website.
Makers sign up in advance and create posts or videos (either pre-recorded or live) on Facebook or Instagram stories about their products, including price tags and information about the product. Shoppers simply contact the seller direct either through their DM’s or via buy via their website, whichever the seller prefers to buy the item.
Were huge fan of SoLo’s (South London Makers Markets) attitude and approach to virtual craft shopping (you can find out SoLo's future dates in our listings at the bottom of the post.)
Grab a drink and get comfortable.
Switch on SoLo Craft Fair Instagram Stories between 7.30-9pm on Market nights. Please note only 100 stories are allowed at one time so please check back 2-3 times throughout the event so you don't miss any traders or view our highlights after this event.
If you see something your like, click through to their profile to find out how to buy and follow the maker.
Please be patient with postage, as this can be slower during thees times.
If you are unable to buy anything at present, please do follow the makers you like - this is still hugely appreciated.
What type of virtual fairs are out there?
Virtual Fairs mean anything goes! Ranging from small independent fairs, that are arranged locally by geographical area or gatherings of independent sellers, who for example might work together in a collaborative studio space.
Bigger players such as Etsy and Folksy are also in on the game. Etsy are hosting virtual craft fairs through their regional Facebook groups, such as Etsy Cornwall and Folsky, who’s Christmas fair, hosted in association with Pedddle will take place on their website, but will be supported by their social channels too.
There’s also more niche virtual markets such as the Century Twenty markets that focus on all things vintage, so it’s all about finding a market to suit your tastes, or diving straight in a being surprised!
What do I have to do to join a virtual fair?
Do your homework and seek out a fair that is linked to where you live or what you sell and as start to like and follow on social media, as that’s where they’ll be announced. Sign up to newsletters as well, as these will keep you up to date with virtual fair dates. Often virtual fair organiser won’t allow too much repetition in terms of products, similar to a physical fairs, so get in as early as you can.
As a lampshade maker a virtual fair is a brilliant way to boost your sales from home and Alison Bick, of Alison Bick Designs, LINK was an early adopter, with great success:
I took part in an Etsy Makers Cornwall one last weekend, it was Facebook Live, from my Facebook page, and it worked well - I set up a craft fair stall in my sitting room and I took about £400 in orders, which was great. I'm doing another one at the end of the month, but I think I will do a Instagram Live afterwards when I've still got everything set out.
What do I need to do in advance of a virtual craft fair?
Whether physical or virtual all fairs need promoting and fair organisers often allow only a small budget for marketing expecting stall holders to help promote through their own social media channels. As any creative business knows, constantly building your followers is key.
If you want to improve the way that you virtually promote your products, Handmade Hour have created this brilliant You Tube Video – Virtual Stall Tips and Canva Basics Tutorial - showing easy step by step guides on how to create attractive Instagram posts. using Canva, to showcase your products to the max!
It’s also worth taking a look at the Handmade Hour’s previous fairs Instagram stories, to get a feel for how a virtual fair works.
What if I want to set up my own virtual craft fair?
That’s possible too! Kelly Crowther from Chepstow took matters into her own hands and set up her own Virtual Christmas Fair, Santa’s Little Helpers, in response to not being able to sell at physical Christmas markets this year.
And there’s plenty of advice out there on how to do it! Etsy insights offers their advice, tips and hints based on their own experience of setting up fairs and jewellery maker Bel Monili, has written a super informative blog post on the ins and outs of setting up your own fair.
And if you can’t trade you can support!
We don’t have to even say it as we know how supportive the crafting community is, but if you get the chance support your fellow makers by buying a thing or two for Christmas.
SoLo’s The 12 Virtual Night Markets of Christmas – Every Monday from the 5th October
Folksy x Peddle Christmas Market – Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th December
Makers Cornwall Christmas Fair (Etsy Cornwall) - 13th to 15th November.
Santa’s little helpers – Bristol - Now until 20th December
Makers Markets from Home – Sunday 15th November
Crafty Fox Markets – Saturday 7th November & 5th December
Handmade Hour - 23rd and 25th October
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