Craft stall tips and ideas
I thought seen as it is fresh in my mind I would post about running my stall and maybe provide a few tips for others running stalls out there.
In my previous incarnation as a party planner I did quite a few fairs and I quite enjoy doing them, so it was always on the radar when I started to produce cakes.
So from my experiences, here are a few things you might like to think about:
First was to make sure you have something to present items on and to package them in. I was lucky to have 2 fantastic cake stands from my own wedding but I stocked up on chopping boards too, as they make great platform for anything that can be stacked.
Packaging options I opted for:
Larger gusseted bags
Clear cupcake pods (for 2 cakes) – needed elastic bands to stay closed
Cupcake boxes – 4’s, 6’s and 12’s
There are a lot of other items to think about too, to make sure your stall runs as smoothly as possible. These are on my “must bring” list:
Alcohol hand wash
Tongs, cake slice and a palette knife for more delicate items
Cash box (lockable!)
Signage – company name, hygiene rating and prices
Table (worth checking as some events provide them, and others require them but they don’t always make it terribly clear)
When I look round somewhere such as a farmer’s market or fair, I am immediately drawn to stalls which have a professional look and good signage (I don’t want to ask how much things are when there are a lot of people around) for example.
Personally I think image is really important and it shouldn’t be too difficult to choose the right things with so many places selling homewares or Ebay. I love rustic and vintage stuff, and I consider my image to be real homemade and not glitzy. I opted for a handmade wooden sign from a friend, metal cake stands and wooden boards along with chalkboards for my pricing and a long length of hessian to use as a tablecloth (lengths of material are much cheaper than items that have been finished to function as a tablecloth, and there are more size options too).
If I was doing a wedding fair for example though, my approach would be different. Stay true to your business image but think about the setting too – trial and error.
Choose a theme of colours and textures and I’m sure something will fit together when you look around at the options. Often unusual items are a great conversation starter too!
Deciding to run a stall is no doubt a bit of a risky strategy, most people go along and at the end of the day if they sell nothing they can just pack up and walk away. With a cake stall it’s a real guess to see what sells and how many people there will be.
This is really difficult but try to judge the items you are wanting to sell and the quantities towards the expected clientele. Bear in mind location, time of day and what other attractions are there. For example a fair with face painting and bouncy castle may well attract families with young children, whereas a pamper event will be mainly women and a church event may bring a much older clientele.
For me I found that gingerbread and cake pops were most popular with children, whereas banoffee slices, mincemeat crumble and brownies were preferred by adults.
It is always worth having a plan B incase your event doesn’t go quite as you expected. Some people choose to significantly reduce the price of items towards the end, but I do feel this is a little unfair to the others stallholders, who often buy something from you. I think that they may feel negative if you sold to them at full price – but obviously that is your call.
I was lucky and at least able to cover my costs by providing cakes that didn’t sell to the local community at a slightly lower amount than usual, but I am lucky to live within a captive area who give me a lot of support. I also provide a café who are happy to take some leftovers whilst still fresh.
As a last resort, if you can’t sell them, then you could always donate them to a home for the elderly or other worthy cause. Some items could be frozen and reused, so it is worth thinking about your storage options before you go and try not to let a negative experience dampen your enthusiasm.
If you can rope in help then I found it a huge help! My mum is a whizz with mental arithmetic unlike me and it meant I could keep my hands clean for handling the food whilst she took the money and could stay seated.