I have had a little ambition to take part in a craft fair for quite a while, and this desire has only been enhanced by reading about, and seeing photographs of, other illustrators' and designers' experiences. My friend Amy took some of my Christmas cards along with her to sell beside her incredible book art at the Fairytale Fair in Brighton last weekend, and I was so super jealous that I couldn't be there myself. Unfortunately, all the really amazing events tend to happen in places like Brighton or London, and where I live - nestled away in the depths of Dorset - there never seems to be much happening.
After looking around for a while, making enquires and hitting countless dead ends, I applied for a stall at a Christmas bizarre in Shillingstone - a little village just outside my hometown of Blandford Forum. In retrospect, this probably wasn't an ideal place to try to sell my work, as its visitors were predominately old ladies who were much more interested in snapping up homemade cakes and jam! Despite this, it was a positive experience - although I only sold a few items (which was a little disappointing), I received so many lovely comments about my work and my talent, which was very encouraging to hear, especially as I've been feeling so demoralised recently. Quite a few people took one of my business cards too. I discovered that selling my work from a stall is so much more rewarding than selling work online, because it means you can interact with your customers, hear their comments, and see their reactions when they look at your work, whereas when you sell online you never receive a great deal of feedback. It was also pretty cool to see all my work displayed on my stall - I've never laid it all out in one place before, and I've actually created a lot more than I realised!
I was especially pleased that there was also a fair amount of interest in my children's book, but I found people were put off by the price - I find this so frustrating, because I would love to able to sell my book for a more reasonable price, but it costs such a ridiculous amount to print one copy, it means the price of the book ends up more than I would like. It makes me sad, because I would love more people to be able to buy, and enjoy, it. I had a copy of the book open at the front of my table - it was opened at various different pages throughout the course of the day - and I noticed that it seemed to catch the eye of a considerable number of young children. It was just on their eye level, and it seemed to capture their attention as they walked past - although when they stopped to look, they were generally dragged away by their parents who were making a beeline for the mince pie queue. A couple of children even picked it up, though it was usually snatched out of their hands quickly by a parent, along with a stern reminder not to touch. It made me smile though. It was lovely to see children being captivated by my illustrations - it's all I've ever wanted to achieve.
All in all, a positive experience - and while I was there, I even caught a glimpse of Father Christmas himself! If anyone knows of any craft fairs or events in the future which are situated in, or around, Dorset, that may be a suitable occasion to sell my work, then please let me know! Otherwise I'll be keeping my eyes open - I would definitely like the chance to sell my work this way again. :]