Selling handmade crafts at fairs

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Hi

I’ve just started making resin products from hair clips, earrings, coasters. I’ve started selling on Etsy but want to expand a bit more. Thinking of crafts fairs, or some boot sales, and how’s best to find out about them? 

But just wondering if I need any insurance? Seen with one I need public liability, I am not registered as a business, just been doing it in my spare time. So any help would be amazing thank you 

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  • Sandtree
    Sandtree Posts: 10,628 Forumite
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    Whilst your annual turnover (not profit) is under £1,000 there isnt a need to register for self assessment... once it is over it then you must.

    As you say, some events will require that you hold public liability and given you are making goods then product liability is also sensible. Thankfully for small to medium companies public and product are sold together. If the event doesn't require you to have insurance then its a personal choice but as you are not an incorporated business then your personal assets are at risk should someone be injured by your goods or stall. You can buy event based policies, if you are just ticking the box or you can buy an annual policy that'll cover all events.

    As to finding out about events, its mainly about networking and keeping your eyes pealed for advertisements for events. How events work varies considerably... some are fairly expensive but if your willing to pay the £1,000 fee for the weekend and can put a half competent stall design together then you'll get your space (probably tucked away in a little corner for that low a price). Others can be much cheaper but are much more heavily subscribed and its very much about who you know. A lot of events are organised by the same people and it can be a case of having to prove yourself at some of their less popular ones to get a chance at the better ones.
  • aromaannie
    aromaannie Posts: 57 Forumite
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    boot sales probably won't work as people want to buy for pennies and don't appreciate the work that goes into handmade. check out ian Wallace for reasonable prices insurance, it really is very important when selling to the.public. You may not see yourself as a business but the law will when you exchange money for your creations 
  • quiret
    quiret Posts: 8 Forumite
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    Yeah, currently you need to keep eye on your boosting production, and set selling goals. Decide about registered business after making some periodic and fixed income.
  • Marcon
    Marcon Posts: 10,885 Forumite
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    Rutheliz1 said:
    Hi

    I’ve just started making resin products from hair clips, earrings, coasters. I’ve started selling on Etsy but want to expand a bit more. Thinking of crafts fairs, or some boot sales, and how’s best to find out about them? 

    But just wondering if I need any insurance? Seen with one I need public liability, I am not registered as a business, just been doing it in my spare time. So any help would be amazing thank you 
    The cost of hiring a stall at a craft fair normally includes public liability insurance, but always wise to check.

    Product liability for hair clips...really?
    Googling on your question might have been both quicker and easier, if you're only after simple facts rather than opinions!  
  • twopenny
    twopenny Posts: 5,686 Forumite
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    I found car boots a complete non starter but I heard/read just yesterday that there's a certain one locally that is good for crafts so I think you need to sound out the people you meet when you start craft fairs or local crafters.
    For craft fairs find out the price of the stalls and what else you may need to pay for then look at your prices because they will at least have to cover that in sales.
    When we get our lives back it might be worth having a look at whether you can get a group together and hire a hall for a week to show and sell. I used to do this with a bunch of people. Started with just one interested and quickly escalated to half a dozen and ending with 12. Got to say once people started joining us it was harder. All sorts of demands and dipping out of jobs where a smaller group was more supportive.
    Don't pick some honeypot spot. People come and go quickly and buy nothing. Similar with peak holidays. We found halls in villages popular with walkers and people just relaxing had less footfall but higher sales.
    Demonstrations or photos of the making process also helped to draw people in to enjoying the product and giving a reason for conversation and therefore spending more time at your stall. By which time they felt they must have something ;)

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  • Pennylane
    Pennylane Posts: 2,707 Forumite
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    We have a big car boot sale near us on Sundays. I went yesterday and there were a couple of stalls with hand made crafts but people were just walking straight past.  One woman had really nice knitted baby items in lovely modern colours and beautifully knitted soft toys. The other woman had a whole range of cushions, bunting, bags, decorated bottles etc and had displayed her items really well. I felt sorry for them but guess a car boot sale is not the right place.
  • Sandtree
    Sandtree Posts: 10,628 Forumite
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    Marcon said:

    Product liability for hair clips...really?

    Earrings were more the concern having had a flatmate that had to have her ear cut open to remove and earring after an allergic reaction cause her lobe to swell up and swallow the earring.

    At the end of the day, if the risk is low then so will the premiums be and rather pay a small amount for insurance than have a personal liability for that 1 in 10,000 event where a product causes injury. 
  • twopenny
    twopenny Posts: 5,686 Forumite
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    It's an idea to walk around some places that are convenient to sell or that have customers you would expect to appreciate your things.
    Look at the sort of people who buy what you make to get that idea.
    But walk around and see what is selling. If you see busy craft stalls that's a bonus, if you see none there is a reason.
    Too many businesses set up with what they want to sell and where without taking into account who it appeals to or if the location is right for them.
    Doing the research is fun though. Especially if it involves tea and home made cakes while you people watch :)

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  • CapricornLass
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    Local councils sometimes run craft markets.  However, you will need insurance, and will be expected to produce it.  I think it is worth having for peace of mind. You will also have to produce a risk assessment.

    Local fetes may be worth doing - local church etc.  Avoid at all costs those village/school fetes that demand  £20 for the stall and  a raffle prize on top, and make sure you become stubbornly deaf when they whimper that they are a charity and its for A Good Cause.  You're not a charity and you are there to at least break even.  If you are asked to demonstrate your craft, make it crystal clear that you expect your stall fee to be waived as your payment for lugging all your materials and equipment there, on top of your goods and your table and presentation items, otherwise its a no-go.  Often you can't sell and demonstrate at the same time.  And get the agreement in writing before the event.  It sounds hard, and it is, but its also part and parcel of starting to be more professional about your little business.

    We personally don't do local fetes, except for one favoured village where we appear to provide support, and give something extra for people to look at.  (My husband is a woodturner.  Giving demonstrations demands the transportation of a lathe about 4 foot long and b*****y heavy, four tool kits, and timber, and by the time we have added six crates of turned bowls and other items, two tables, the gazebo, bags and the various other bits and pieces we need to take, we have to take a trailer) But we go expecting to sell nothing, and are surprised when we do.  Its our way of giving back to the village where I grew up and where my parents lived for 56 years
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