Organising a craft event in 2012

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Organising a craft event in 2012

Postby sweetchestnut » Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:10 am

[size=150]Hi everyone and especially Gudrun and MIke and Doug (Hugh suggested I ask you as you are not only experts but also in my area) well, here goes:
I want to organise an event to which I can invite all forum members to come and take a pitch at a really low rate to hopefully give you all a fun day to demonstrate and sell.
I know an event organiser and I have a field and live near many tourist attractions, in The Cotswolds near Broadway. We can provide the infra structure and can also have lots of different sizes and shapes of green wood, cut to your specifications to save you having to lug heavy things here.
All thoughts and advice would be very welcome including timing. I was thinking of next August but before or after The Olympics Games?
I'd plan to have lots of other things going on too:good quality local wholefood catering, wool spinning, basket weaving, scythe making etc and stalls selling all sorts, In fact anything tasteful and in keeping to try to cover the organisation costs./
A camp/caravan site too probably.
THis occured to me while reading all the posts re members experiences of demos and selling at various events. size]
I'm the real novice among you but fired with enthusiam and determination.
Cheers,
Rosamund
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Re: Organising a craft event in 2012

Postby Brian Williamson » Sun Oct 02, 2011 7:16 pm

Hello Rosamund - nice to meet someone with such enthusiasms and good intentions, but I'm afraid that I'm going to sprinkle a little cold water on them. Sorry!

To run a good event you need a number of things. Venue and date are relatively easy to organise; if you're persuasive, demonstrators are fairly easy to find and you might be able to entice them along with the promise of a wonderful event. The big, big problem is getting a crowd - especially one that is prepared to part with some money.

Because money is the magic word. Your stall holders need to generate enough income on the day to make it worth their while to come - and bear in mind that a one day show will involve more than just the one day for them when you factor in setting up and knocking down time - and your customers have to go away feeling that they've had a good day out and got value for money.

I fear that too many people think that it is fairly simple to organise a successful 'craft' event. Christmas Craft Fayres are possibly the worst culprit - if it's Christmas people must wan't to buy presents so we'll put on a 'Fayre'. You end up with more people behind the stalls than you get in front of them. Getting Joe Public out to an event is not an easy thing to do. There are always lots of competeing attractions and, sadly, no matter how attractive you and I might think a greenwood craft fair should be, to most people it's just meaningless.

My suggestions if you really want to go ahead are numerous.

Find a focus - hitch it to some existing national event that might get you some extra coverage. National Beanpole Week in the Spring perhaps. Persuade some existing attraction that they ought to have a craft fair. A local National Trust property, perhaps, where you can guarrantee that there will be a minimum number of visitors and they might nelp with publicity.

If you really want to go it alone, start small, keep your overheads down and look to build it up year on year. Unless they're rubbish, events always benefit from continuity. Word of mouth spreads, people come back for repeat visits etc etc.

Maybe start it off as a kind of mini, out-of-season bodgers ball. Get the greenwood-working community along for an informal get-together; link it to a farm open day and go from there.

Sorry if I don't sound very encouraging. It's just that I've attended an awful lot of events (and helped to organise a few) and I know how much work you can put in and still not get a good result.

Cheers,

Brian.
http://www.westcountrycoppice.co.uk

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Re: Organising a craft event in 2012

Postby gavin » Sun Oct 02, 2011 9:46 pm

sweetchestnut wrote:I'm the real novice among you but fired with enthusiam and determination.
Cheers,
Rosamund

I endorse Brian's comment above. I strongly suggest you attend a season's worth of shows yourself as a demonstrator - or to start with as a demonstrator's helper if you prefer - to show you which ones work and which don't, and why. And you will risk nothing: not time, money, or reputation.
Living Woods recently had an article analysing various shows strengths and weaknesses.

Demonstrators want a fee for appearing and your gate money must cover that. Suggesting to demonstrators they will be able to recoup any pitch fee you charge will generally meet with slender enthusiasm. I suspect your passion is to involve a wider public in greenwood working ( as is mine :D ) and you feel running a show may well be the way to do that. Start by participating - you'll surely be less stressed and risk no capital.
Gavin Phillips


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Re: Organising a craft event in 2012

Postby sweetchestnut » Sun Oct 02, 2011 10:51 pm

I am listening and taking note; thank you both for your brutal honesty!
I am learning and, surprisingly, enjoy being told what to do.......though I don't always do it...
Maybe if I go ahead I'd better keep quiet about it (only joking)
cheers
Rosamund
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Re: Organising a craft event in 2012

Postby sweetchestnut » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:33 am

Good Morning Brian and Gavin,
I really appreciate you both taking time to advise me; it's incredibly valuable to have friends ( I hope we will be) who 'shoot from the hip'.
It's actually a relief to feel I don't have to go full steam ahead so I will revise and rethink.
Part of my reasoning was wanting to meet some of the forum memebers as I find it unbelievably hard to get away from the farm for more than 2 or 3 hours.
I'll go quiet for a while and think.
cheers
Rosamund
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Re: Organising a craft event in 2012

Postby 81stBRAT » Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:10 am

Hi Rosamund
Organise an event on your Farm for the local group, I do once a year good fun, Farm good views too.
Richard
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Re: Organising a craft event in 2012

Postby gavin » Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:10 pm

sweetchestnut wrote:...
Part of my reasoning was wanting to meet some of the forum memebers as I find it unbelievably hard to get away from the farm for more than 2 or 3 hours.

Then I'd move heaven and earth to get to next Bodgers Ball. You'll come away awash with plans and schemes and inspiration. And taking 2 or 3 days off is a big ask when you have trouble getting 2 or 3 hours off.
How will you do it? You'd manage if you had a baby or got married. (And no, I don't suggest the Ball is quite like those events, but I do find it inspiring as a good wedding can be.)
You also could establish a local group - if there is not one near you. Else invite the one that is. They will be very susceptible to warmth, shelter, tea, and if you want to make absolutely sure of a good roll up, scones in quantity. Attend a local group's event in your vicinity to see what resources they lack you could provide.
Gavin Phillips


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Re: Organising a craft event in 2012

Postby Paul Thornton 2sheds » Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:39 pm

:D The bodgers ball is great.
learning more every day
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Re: Organising a craft event in 2012

Postby simon » Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:20 am

There is a farmer not far from me who has an "event field". I think he takes a cut of hay off it and then he has several regular bookings during the summer. He says, like you, he can't get away from the farm to see the world, so he has the world come to him.
I think that inviting people for a week end get together would be a good start. You provide space, water and toilet. They will bring enthusiasm. Some shelter to work in if it is raining would be good if you can clear a corner of the barn.
Pick a date soon, there are not enough week ends in the summer. Good luck.
Make it, mend it, wear it out,
Make it do or do without.
FB Simon Lamb Green woodwork
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Re: Organising a craft event in 2012

Postby sweetchestnut » Fri Oct 07, 2011 9:01 pm

Thank you everyone; this is certainly the best community I've ever been (a small ) part of.
Rosamund
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