Monday, 23 June 2014


Hello everyone

I am really pleased to be able to present this guest post from Lesley Beeton who not only took photographs are stallholder's work at the 7 June Godalming Bazaar, but attended the event as a customer.  It certainly contains food for thought for both me and the stallholders who took part and it is a timely reminder for stallholders taking part in any event.  Thank you Lesley for a very interesting guest post.

The Godalming Bazaar – a customer review

Hundreds of people visited the indoor Godalming Bazaar on Saturday 7th June.  The rainy morning kept some shoppers away, but those who braved the damped conditions were greeted with food and crafty delights.  These are some of my favourites.

JoJo from Artyfacial did a great job, keeping children occupied with face-painting, whilst Julia from Glutton and Glee provided a pop-up cafĂ© for that much-needed cup of coffee and a sit-down.  Stallholders included Melanie Capper from Melanie’s Garden, a natural skincare range, Kevin Gorton, a local artist and musician who hand-paints scenes of Godalming on everyday items, and Dawn Hart of local home-industry knitting enterprise Stone Pit Crafts. Crafts and gifts on sale varied from beautiful oil paintings on canvas by Jan Windle, to delightful glass products by Hot Glass.  There were plenty of hand-sewn items for sale, many to delight younger shoppers, such as customised bags by Made By Lorraine, and the gorgeous tooth-fairy pillows made by Lauren Broughton of Love Sew Sweet. Acorn to Oak provided a little bit of peace and quiet with reiki massage and crystal therapy.  Jewellery, re-incarnated plastic bags and fascinating items by Juraj, the blacksmith, added to the mix.  There were foodie highlights too, in the visual splendour of the macaroons by Pinch of This and the Chai Tea and Perfect Curry kits.

I do however, have some observations (as a customer), which I hope will provide constructive criticism for both the organisers and stall holders. Remember, you want to sell, and I want to buy.

Firstly, although slightly up on last time, a footfall of 50 an hour, or 2 visitors for each stand, seems a bit low. I wondered if a Town Crier out and about in town would be better than someone trying to hand out leaflets.  If you are going to hand out leaflets, what about numbering them and having a ‘Lucky Number’ draw each half hour, with a different stall holder putting up a small prize each time.  The poster boards at the door were not visible.  The banner poster was not effective.  Bunting might make people look twice.

There should be a unique selling point for the market - something that local people will look forward to each time.  Jugglers and knife throwers (or balloon artists and face painters) are too gimmicky for a luxury market. I spent a minimum of £10 at each stall I bought from, most were £12.50 starting point.  That's not cheap (nor should it be) but the market should promote itself as something special.

The first door (opposite Stone Pit Crafts) should have been open. It would have created a better flow of people, and more welcoming on entry.  A large map of who's who would be nice. Stall holders need badges to identify themselves.  Many were not very friendly.  One even had ear phones in!

I really don't like the borough hall as a venue. It was difficult for stall holders to display on one table top, with nowhere to put a banner or hanging items behind them.  This meant that buyers always look down, instead of up and out at eye-level, making eye-contact with sellers.  The noise in the room is unbearable.  There is nowhere for it to go. I had to work really hard to engage the stall holders in conversation, even when I had my purse open and money hanging out.  The exceptions were Melanie’s Garden, Peru Project and the local Godalming hand-painted coaster artist.  They wanted to tell me about their work, and they were interesting to talk to.

I didn't like having the food court stuck away.  More people would have bought a coffee on the way in/out if it had been part of the main event. 

Well, that’s enough feedback.  Good luck with the next market on Saturday 6th September.  May it be happy and successful, with lots of sales.

Lesley Beeton

Note: I took photos of, and talked to every stallholder. If anyone wants to talk to me directly about ways of improving the marketability of their stall, or get a high res photo, please let Jill Spain know. No charge.

Monster face-painting by JoJo of Artyfacial

Yummy macaroons by a Pinch of This

Kevin Gorton, local artist and musician

Tooth fairy cushions by Love Sew Sweet

Melanie Capper, Melanie's Garden

Dawn Hart, Stone Pit Crafts

Oil paintings on canvas by Jan Windle

Unique blacksmith art by JAJ BBQ and Blacksmith Products


Hello everyone

Rather late, but still important - my review of the 7 June Godalming Bazaar event.  I am still looking for that elusive 'right sort of customer', but also realise I need the 'right sort of venue'.  We had 247 visitors to the event and obviously that is just not enough - but having flogged myself (as did many other people) silly with online, face-to-face, paid, paper, street, notice-boards and just about everything else advertising, what else is there left to do?

A lot of people involved in the handmade world feel that craft markets may have had their day - I don't want that to be the case for my events.  Having bought a company that organises events and invested a vast amount of time, money and energy into trying to make them successful, I want to, have to, make it a success for everyone involved - not just for me, but for the stallholders, for those who help out on the day and more importantly for the customers.  I have been offered lots and lots and lots of advice: some excellent, some too expensive, some pretty nigh impossible, some that should involve others but the 'others' don't step forward, so what can I do?

This brings me back to the topic of my last post - the right sort of customer.  How do I find them?  Having paid for an advert in a magazine that was to be delivered to 23,000 homes in the local Godalming area, surely somewhere amongst those 23,000 are the right sort of customers?  Possibly, but the biggest disappointment was that I have received feedback that the magazine was delivered after the event, despite being advised it would be delivered during the week prior to the event.  The only small consolation is that I had the sense to put the dates of the rest of this year's events in the advertisement - will people remember them though?

So sadly, it is back to the drawing board trying to think of new ways to promote the event to encourage customers through the door.   If you have thoughts, ideas, suggestions, please do get in touch or leave a comment on this blog.

Do come back later this week as I have a great guest post about the last Godalming Bazaar event - food for thought for stallholders and for me.


Friday, 6 June 2014


Hi everyone

Tomorrow is nearly here - well that's obvious of course, but tomorrow's Godalming Bazaar event is nearly here.  We kick off at 9.30 am and I am sure we will be knee, hopefully neck, deep in customers as soon as we open the doors.  

As I have been told many times, events need the right sort of customers.  How do I find them?  For tomorrow's event I have advertised in a local magazine and it has been delivered this week to just over 23,000 homes - will that reach the 'right sort of customer'?  I have also advertised in a local parish magazine with the potential for 800 readers - again, will that reach the right sort of customer?  I have also advertised extensively online - not too sure how I can sort the wrong Internet readers from the right ones.  I, and my fellow stallholders have handed out nearly 3,000 flyers - have they gone to the right sort of customers?  How do I stop the wrong sort of customers entering the event?

Perhaps I should advertise in the Tattler, the Horse and Hound or similar magazines.  Would I get the right sort of customer then?  As those of you who organise events know, magazine advertising is very expensive and placing an advertisement in the top magazines is not possible for the small event organiser in relation to the space/table fees charged.

So, it is back to the drawing board for me.  Come back next week to see if I found the right sort of customer at tomorrow’s event.


Sunday, 1 June 2014


Hello everyone

Wouldn't it be great to be called that?  What do you think makes a stallholder the best in the world?  While pondering on this I thought a post about the four Ps of marketing and how it could be applied to being a stallholder would be a good post: Product, Place, Price, Promotion.

We all think we have the right product.  How do we know that?  Is it because we like what we make and think everyone else will?  Is it because we have done research and found a niche in the market for what we make?  Have we decided to target a specific sector with our product?  It is important to realise that just because you love what you have made, not everyone else will.  Find out what is popular - check trade craft magazines and visit trade fairs to see what is going to be popular the next season, and the season after.

Are we selling our work in the right place?  Most stallholders you meet will have had good, bad and indifferent experiences of craft events and other selling platforms.  Are craft events the right place to sell handmade items?  Are they the right place to sell your work?  For some items, yes, it is exactly the right place but it is only experience that tells you this; however, the event may be right, but the venue may be wrong.  Some products will not sell well at craft events - there are many reasons why.  It may be the footfall isn't looking for the products at the event, the quality of the product affects sales, a poor or uninviting display puts people off, too expensive, too cheap, an unapproachable stallholder, or the product you make just is not popular in the area you are selling in.

Price is obviously very important.  Price your work too low and people will think it is cheap, price it too high and you may price yourself out of the market.  The majority of craft workers rarely cover the time they have invested in making something - sadly the public have contributed to this because there is a tendency to think that because something is handmade, it doesn't cost much to make and therefore it should be cheap.  We all know how harsh that is.  They fail to take into account the talent, time, care and passion invested in the item they are looking at.  However, that doesn't mean we should lower our prices just to satisfy the public because we will end up often not covering the cost of materials, let alone a contribution to the time taken to make the product.  A piece of advice here is to have a range of prices at events; I appreciate this depends on what you make and may not always be possible, but something around the £2 - £5 range is always tempting for customers.  It's a good starting point for them.  How about some reduced price items?  Everyone loves a bargain.

Finally, possibly the most important thing to take on board is promotion.  This doesn't just take place before an event, it takes place throughout and after the event.  You want to persuade browsers to become customers and to remain customers.  Only you can promote your work knowledgeably because only you know it well enough to give its history, why you made it, who it would suit, how many different colours it could be made in, how long it took you to make, who buys you work and why you enjoyed making it.  Yes, you can pay to have your items marketed, but it can be expensive for the small business.

Some people say there is a fifth P in marketing: personality and I think this is a very important one.  Do you present or project a cheerful, helpful, happy image to your customers?  Do you find talking to customers easy?  Do they find it easy to talk to you? Are you enthusiastic about your work, happy to share ideas (but, of course, not your trade secrets)?  Think about it.  I think half the battle in our business is presenting a positive image and sadly, I have taken part in and visited many craft fairs which have had some unhelpful and miserable people behind the table.  Some have had an off day, some are not happy in a selling environment, and this takes me back to place - is an event where customers are to be encouraged the right place for them to be?  Let's face it, we are not born sellers, we have to train ourselves to be.

I hope this gives some food for thought and if you have any feedback, comments or contributions you would like to make on this post, come along and join in.


Tuesday, 20 May 2014


Hello everyone

Despite promising myself and my blog followers that I would be posting here regularly, not too sure what has happened.  However, here I am back in the world of blogging and I can honestly say that I have been busy working on the eh June event.  The highlight of recent weeks is the name change from the Godalming Independent Market to the Godalming Bazaar - I love it, it's catchy, short, memorable and still retains the Godalming link while giving the impression of something rather exotic.  Thank you Dawn and Lesley for helping, or rather thank you for coming up with this brilliant new name.

Lesley has also been doing lots of PR for the events, so along with  lots of online advertising, stallholders passing out flyers, posters being placed in shops, notice boards, etc and an advertisement in the Advantage Point magazine and the Compton Parish magazine, the word is certainly out there about the event.

My helpers on the day will be sporting smart t-shirts - these can be seen on the Godalming Bazaar's Facebook page.  the Bazaar also has a new logo - again this is displayed on the Bazaar's Facebook page and is included in all tweets posted on Twitter and here it is:

My planned 'next post' was to be about being a stallholder.  No, I am not claiming to be an authority on this, but feel I have been involved in so many as a stallholder and a customer, that I can confidently put forward my thoughts and suggestions as they may be food for thought for both 'old' and new stallholders.  There you have it, the topic for my next blog post.

I have also been working hard to bring to the life the planned Food Court (to be held in the Court Room of the Borough Hall).  I want this to be a dedicated food court and so far have one stlalhodler - am I disappointed?  Yes, very, as I have contacted over forty local food and drink growers/producers, makers.  If you know of anyone who would like to join us, please ask them to get in touch. 

After the last event's refreshments provider disappointment, I am tyring to sort out one for the June event.  I had a meeting with a company last week and I hope they will take part in the event, but it's a 'watch this space' situation.

A quick post to almost bring you up-to-date.  I will be back soon with the promised stallholder blog post, in the meantime enjoy the sunshine (although at the moment it looks like rain here) and have a great week.  I am off to Chelsea tomorrow - wonder if I can find some people for the Food Court there......


Monday, 21 April 2014


Hello everyone

Somewhat belated, but a post-event review post.

We had lovely weather, everyone's stalls looked fantastic and we all (stallholders, my helpers and myself included) worked hard all day long to try to make the event a success.  Almost needless to say, it would have been great to have more visitors to the event.  What is that magic mix that craft and gift fair organisers need to have to sprinkle over their events?  I am not too sure what it is, where I can buy it or, as a crafts-person, find the ingredients to make the potion myself, but I do know that along with hundreds of other event organisers we work our socks off to try to make our events successful.

I received lots of really positive feedback from some of the stallholders and I would like to thank them for their support.   Based on the feedback and my response changes will be incorporated into future events and I am sure they will be positive for everyone.

The visit from the Mayor and Mayoresss of Godalming went really well.  They visited all of the stalls and even enjoyed our last-minute, make-shift refreshments.  I had been let down the day before the event by the people who were providing refreshments but I am really grateful to two good friends, Linda and Dawn, for pitching in and helping out at very short notice.  Thank you both.

The following are photographs of some of the stands at the April event - unfortunately, there just wasn't time to take photographs of everyone's stands, but as many stallholders are taking part in several events this year, I will have the chance to feature them in future blog posts.

Blog-posting will be back to normal next week with a weekly, and more often if possible, post.  I am hoping that stallholders will take up my offer to be a guest blogger - it's free advertising for your work, so how can you not take up this offer?

My post next week will be how to be a successful stallholder - so if you have suggestions and ideas that work for you as a stallholder, please do let me know and I will include them and I will acknowledge your contribution (a bit more free advertising for your work).

See you next week


Friday, 4 April 2014


Hi everyone

We are very nearly at the start of the first Godalming Independent Market of this year.  Not without hiccups and stress along the way, most difficult to deal with has been the cancellation today by our refreshments people, Splendid Occasions, due to illness.  I wish you all a very speedy recovery.  This has created a mega problem because being able to offer refreshments was something I was really pleased about.  Most of today has been spent trying to find replacements or alternatives - not easy as it is very short notice.  My thanks to Dawn Hart, Linda Holden and Natasha Berthoud for jumping in to help.

It is the last blog post before the event and my planned shout out for all stallholders didn't take place because of today's events.  However, here is a roll-call of everyone taking part tomorrow:

Tracy Adaway
Linda Banks
Natasha Berthoud
Elaine Briars
Anita Burrough
Adrienne Card
Wendy Cunningham
Brenda Emerson
Joyce Daniel
Jayne Evans
Zahida Fieldhouse
Barbara Fletcher
Bianca Grant
Jennifer Haiselden
Dawn Hart
Jill Hines
David & Carole Hudson
Kevin Gorton
Christine Kendell
Andrea Killick
Anna Lewicki
Karen Maione
Jackie Malcolm and Izzy Taylor
Sally Mitchell
Anne Owens
Pennie Pearce
Angela Peel
William Smith
Jill Stobbart
Di Swaddling
Kimberley Tyler
Becky Watson
Fran Tang

Good luck tomorrow everyone - I am looking forward to meeting you and hope we all have a very successful day.