Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Sunshine Blog Awards

The sunshine award is awarded to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspires others in the blogging world.

The rules for accepting the award are as followers -

* Place the logo within your blog or post
* Pass the award on to 12 bloggers
* Link the nominees within the post
* Let the nominees know they have received the award by commenting on their blog
* Share the love and link to the person from whom you received the award

I will be awarding the Sunshine shortly

Monday, 22 February 2010


So what is it?
Who need’s it?
What type do you need?

The three key questions above are common on the forums, most often the question is related to Public Liability Insurance prior to a Craft Fair.

With this post I’ll try and cover as much as I can, but I’m not an Insurance Broker (although I used to sell life cover, it was many years ago, and things have changed)

So lets start with what is it?

To put it simply, if there is a risk, there is insurance to cover against the risk (somewhere).
Basically, if you have the risk of loss, be it stock, life or limb, you pay a premium to someone who is gambling that the risk does not occur, so that they get to keep you money for nothing, but if something goes wrong, they will pay to put it right *.

So what can I insure? Well everything where there is a risk of loss. So by law we have to insure our cars (third party insurance is the only compulsory part, fire and theft are added to make you feel better about paying). In that way if we injure someone, we have insurance to pay them compensation.

Car Insurance
So what do you need, lets start with the car, as I’ve mentioned it above, you drive down to your local supplier to pick up some raw material (be it wool, paint, wood, jewellery findings), or are driving to a craft fair where you will have a stall. You are using your private car for business, and need to check that your vehicle insurance covers you to do that, (I have know of a case where someone was coming home from a craft fair and their car caught fire due to a leaky pipe, She lost £1,400 worth of stock, and because it was classed as business use, the insurance did not pay her for the contents, even though it was a fully comp policy, if she had been shopping and had the same value of good in the car, they would have happily paid as it was a private trip).

Key Person Insurance (Recommended)
If you do your business full time like myself, then I think this is a must, if anything should happen to me, either disability or death, what happens to the income of my wife and son (who may have to nurse me for years).

Premises Insurance (Recommended)
Because I rent a studio, any one of my neighbour’s work spaces could go up in fire, and I would loose everything, from stock, equipment, raw materials.
Check with your landlord what cover they have, and if you a covered on it for anything, (they must by law tell you what cover they have and if you are included).
If you work from home, again check your policy, many policies will be either voided if you work from home, or exclude a large percentage of any settlement in the result of a claim.

Contents Cover (Recommended)
I have as part of my rented property insurance separate sections of cover
Contents; insures my stock at cost price without any addition for profit (this also covers the stock in the event of a break-in.
Plant & Equipment ; my cover is for replace as new, but is also available on an indemnity basis where wear and tear is taken into account when settling the claim.

Goods in Transit (Very Recommended)
This not only covers me when I’m going to or from craft fairs, but consignment by consignment when I’m sending stock via a carrier to a gallery.

Money (cash loss) insurance (Recommended)
Here the example, I’ve been at a craft fair all day, and during the day some little Oik has been watching who does well, and who doesn’t and he want some money for booze or drugs, He stops me and threatens me with a knife if I don’t give him my money, well he can have it, I’m insured, I have a record of my takings, and I’ll call the police (I also have a list of the serial numbers written in my diary, which list’s my sales, and is kept well away from the cash when I’m in transit). It also covers my petty cash in my studio, my stamps etc. So I’m also happy when I’m taking cash to the bank etc.

Trade Credit Insurance (Personally Recommended if you do Sale or Return)
I have stock out around the country with Galleries, most of it on Credit (sale or return), so what happens if a gallery goes belly up 200 miles away. I’ve lost say £400 worth of stock (average cost price of stock, not RRP), No, Why? Because this is what this insurance covers against, when you work out how many thousands of pound worth of stock it covers, its well worth having.

Business Interruption Insurance (Optional)
Does what it says on the label, pays out if you can’t operate your business, Check with the broker what exactly it covers and how much you get.

Public liability Insurance (Highly Recommended)
Most Craft fairs require you to have your own, make sure it covers legal fees, cost and expense such as representation at any hearings.

Product liability Insurance (Highly Recommended)
If you make (how else would you find this blog), sell or repair anything, this covers you in the result your are being held liable for damage or injury arising from defects in their design or manufacture, even if you have not been negligent.

Professional Indemnity Insurance (Optional)
This is compulsory in some professions, but if you’re making things, it may be worth considering.

Where to go for more info

Start with Business link
Also consider

Find a local broker here

To find details about online comparison site try

Personal feelings
Woody uses a small business policy that has been tailored to meet my requirements, I pay extra for my extras, and would always recommend shopping around for whats best for you

You may also like to try one of these (placing the detail of the following is not a recommendation, merely giving some useful links or

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Craft Fairs 2.

Doing the First Event

Where do you start, you've booked your first event. Now what?

Find out how much space you have. Once you know that, you can start planning.

Step one, space, is to get some masking tape and a tape measure, and mark out on an empty bit of floor the space you actually have.

Step two,stock, work out how much stock you have. do you have enough stock? or too much stock. I always find I have too much stock (well, except for my last two craft fairs before Christmas 2009, when as soon as something was made, it went on display and sold).

Step three, height, when people walk past they should be able to see your stock, the best, eye catching items should be elevated and angled so that people walking past can see it.

Step four, prices, my thoughts on this, is that every item should either be priced individually or be in a group of items where the price is clear.

Step five, branding, where does this come in, well everything need to look good, have a similar theme, I use the same font, and the same paper for my stall,

Step six, table dressing, this is where knowing how high your table is can come in useful, when I'm doing indoor events i make sure that the front and sides of my table can't be seen under, why? because it look cleaner, and more professional

Step seven, practice, get some friends round and get some honest opinions as to how your stall looks. Do some mock sales, have you got packaging, bags, care instruction, tape, scissors, etc.

Step eight,spiel, while your practicing, work out what to say, the worst thing to do is just hide behind the table at a craft fair and wait. you'll come home and say your never doing one again, and that you didn't make many / any sales.

At craft fairs etc. I like to stand all day, mainly at the front of my stall, and engage the public and other sellers, to the extent that i know who will sell well each day and who won't, the biggest clue is the people who bring something to read, if your reading you can't sell, also those who bring cushions to sit on, or on outdoor events, bring their own chair. (Woody's golden rule No.1, Don't get comfortable, get selling),if you look at the table dressing picture, you'll see there is no space behind the stall.

Step nine, think again, look at everything you have laid out for your stall, where is it? That something you've missed? Do you have business cards? Do you have fliers for people to take away? Do you have a cash box and float? Do you have some way of checking if money is real? I have a pen which i can use to detect if money is fake? you should be able to pick one up for a few pounds at most good stationers.

Step ten, pack it all away, sounds simple, but years of doing craft fairs has taught me to pack away one of three ways.
Method 1, pack stock in one large box, and table dressings in another, and pack everything in reverse order. so the items you want first are at the top, not the bottom.
Method 2, used if i want to get to things, is to use loads of small boxes (raid the likes of lidl or aldi for empty boxes).
Method 3, used when my next fair is smaller, pack what i need for the next event in one set of boxes, and what i don't need in another set (after the smaller event it all need bring back together for the next one)
Now i know the above seems a bit .... well, it does, but it works

Look at the two stalls below, can you see the big difference, both in layout and presentation

As comments come in I'll start adding them to this post (and giving credit)

Craft Fairs 1.

Craft Stall Evolution

So you are thinking about doing your first craft fair.

Where do you begin?

Let’s start with a simple question, how long has it taken you to make your stock?

Why should that be the first question? Simple, a great many people can spend hours and hours making there stock, and then only spend 10 minutes working out how they plan to display it.

I’ve developed my stall over time, but go through phases now where I’ll spend as much as a week or two planning a stall face lift.

The stall is laid-out every day in a large meeting room (I will generally use my own tables at crafts fairs). I work over every aspect of how the stall will look. How the stall works for me, and for the customer.

I get people to come and look at how it’s laid out, and give me there honest thoughts about how things look.

My big problem every time is too much stock, I love to offer the widest variety, and have this big fear that if I don’t put something out, it would be one of the things that would sell.

I now just make jewellery to sell, but when I first started, my main product was wooden toys, house signs, and I then added candle holders, then key rings, book marks, and finally Jewellery.

How did this evolution come about, I went with what was selling and what was easier to transport and display (of course, I became engrossed in making nicer and nicer jewellery as my skill at it progressed).

The photos below show one of the early stall’s, where every product just had to be seen.

Now, having worked out how to make my jewellery, and spending more time wandering around other craft fairs, I have started to look back and see where the time now needs to be spent.

Over the last week (half term holiday), I have once again been reviewing some of my display.
I take the long term view, what I can’t afford today, I’ll wait for.

Last year, I saw lots of stalls with bunting up, and many had taken the time to put a letter on each bunt, the only problem was, you could spend ages trying to work out what it said.

Toward the end of last year, I posted that I wanted a hand made banner for my stall, I wanted it handmade, I was in no hurry, because once I had it, I could use it.
Helen Jane of was kind enough to undertake this commission, working to a simple brief, she was able to use my font (this was a key part of what I wanted, I use the same font on everything, I call it part of my brand recognition policy), and produced the banner seen below

Anyone who looks at my shop will notice the same font is used on my full banner there; I use several small printed versions of this on my stall (see below)

I use the same on various posters, which are A4 and are used in clear plastic display stands

Here's how they look on the stall (this is a earlier version in different colour)

I also use the same on my wood description and care inserts which are now given with every sale (these are 8cm x 10cm).

Even my price tags, which i make myself, use the same font, and once again the shop address online (this tag was a reject, due to bottom cut not being square), (size is 2cm x 5cm).

You will notice several things about the images. They all have that uniformity of banner, paper; style and colour (once again part of my push for brand recognition).
Here are some photos of last years stall, at various different locations, and sizes

I now have a stall that is becoming more focused, and giving a much more professional look. As I have said above, I will always keep reviewing how the stall looks. over the next week i will be building the stall once again, and getting people to look and critique.