1) Make sure you have enough stock, money and tools.
This was a mistake I suffered from when doing craft fairs early on. I'd barely have enough stock to cover the table, so when something sold there would be a great big gap. I also only used to bring maybe a £10 float, which meant half way through a craft fair I'd end up exchanging notes with other stall holders. It makes you feel flustered and unprepared, which is better avoided.
I now try to have at least 2 of my most popular designs with me, I don't always put them both out at the same time but I can bet that I'll end up selling both by time the day is over. £30-50 is usually a good float (depending on what you sell of course) be sure it's made up of a couple of notes and plenty of £1 coins.
A simple toolkit for craft fairs should include:
2) Be creative with your layout.
Whether it's having an unsual way of displaying jewellery, to laying out pork pies on cake stands. Make sure your display is neat and your products aren't getting lost. Some basic Visual Merchandising is that things look nice grouped in 3's or 5's, that you can make your stall neat by making it symettrical and that good lighting will help sell your product. If you're selling something small then don't make your display overbearingly big, and vice versa. A coloured table cloth can help draw attention, and it's well worth investing in a banner for the front of your table. Draw attention to bigger pieces by having them high up on your display, and have smaller pieces laying down in touching distance.
3) Accept Plastic and Paypal.
Investing in a card machine was possibly one of the best business choices I made. I opted for an iZettle chip and pin reader which links via an app on my mobile phone. It keeps track of my stock and deposits into my business account within 2 working days usually. The app also features a nifty little graph feature so I can see at a glance which months have been most profitable. Investing in a chip and pin reader means people are much more likely to buy multiple products, as the reality is that most people carry little or no cash nowadays.
Don't accept chip and pin yet? Paypal is a great way to start. Download the app onto your phone and invoice people if they don't have the app too.
4) Smile and talk to people. Be sure you know your product inside out.
Being approachable and knowledgable is key. Nobody will want to buy from you if you hide behind your stall with a scowl on your face! Smile at everyone and say hello if it's appropriate. Invite people to pick up you product as research shows customers establish an "ownership" connection with your product this way. Whether a customer purchases or not, always be polite and thank them for interacting with your stall.
Knowing where your materials come from etc is also a great way to establish trust. I am always sure to keep up to date with jewellerey trading standards, and ensure all my findings are nickel and lead free. Much more impressive than saying "I don't know" to a customer.
5) Make sure people know it's handmade
Always bring something along to do at a craft fair- whether it's hand-stamping packaging, assembling jewellery, painting pottery, sketching designs: be sure to bring a small project along. This shows people you are passionate about your craft, and demonstrates that your work takes concerntration and time.
It gives people a chance to watch you create, people seem genuinely facinated by making process, and it means they can ask questions like "What are you doing now?" or "How long does that take you?" or "Can I buy that one when it's finished?"