Tell us your story or experience – 35 years and counting

In the summer of 1983, I went along to the Farnborough Community Centre with a crafter friend hoping to join the craft guild.  On the way, she explained that there may be trouble at the meeting as the two ladies running it had asked for an increase to the subs from £8 to £10 in September. The members wanted to know why and asked to see the books.  By the end of the meeting, they had walked out in a huff.  The rest of us moved to the Plough and Horses to consider the next move.  A prospective committee was formed and if the thing hadn’t been resolved there would be a ‘takeover’.

On 21 September the guild as we know it now was formed using the existing name of the ‘The Southern Counties Guild of Small Crafts’.  It was years and years before the subs would be increased to £10.

The first newsletter produced in January 1984 asked the members (about 24) to design a logo and the entries were judged.  My friend Margaret Coley, the one that had brought me that night was the winner.  The logo we use today but with the letters SCGSC.  This was then adapted, while I was Secretary, for the change of name to Farnborough Craft Guild in 1989.

As we arranged more fairs at different venues including Princes Mead.  We managed to get a small group insurance and then in 1991.  We arranged a larger one for our 50 members to cover public and product liability.

Other favourite venues over the years were Sandhurst, Rotherwick, Southwood, St Peters in Farnborough, Frimley, Normandy and Heatherside.

Advertising was helped by our banners and round signs in 1998, badges in 2004, bold posters showing craft work as well as information, a website in 2007 and a workshop in Princes Mead to celebrate 25 years.  Socially we started regular BBQ’s at Lesley’s and The Beetnik drive was born.  After being a member for all those years as a committee member, secretary and chairman from 1994, I managed to relinquish my title after 20 years.

I’m pleased to say the Guild seems in good hands at the moment but can only exist and progress with all the members’ help.

Jan(et) Strode


Tips and Tricks for Attending a Craft Show as an Exhibitor

There are two sides to selling. Firstly, attracting the potential buyer to your stall – is your stall attractive and eye catching? Secondly, engaging with visitors to the craft show.

Our Top Tips

Have some height on your table

Having your products flat on a table makes it difficult for people to see what you have created. Your aim is to draw people in to see what your crafts – which if you are anything like me would have spent hours perfecting the individual item. Make it colourful and eye catching because people make split second judgements about whether to approach your table or to continue walking in past.

Ensure you have a range of products

It is always important to display a range of items for sale, if your table appears empty people may be reluctant to purchase your products. Equally if it is too full it may be too overwhelming and out people off.

Make sure your items are priced

One thing that puts me off is having to ask how much something costs. I find that such an awkward question because I feel I am being judged as to why I decide not to purchase a particularly product. They may be afraid to ask or they may assume that it is too expensive.

Have some Signs

Graham’s Findings Logo

To help people remember who you are when they see you at a craft show make sure you have some signage. Some people like to use printed tablecloths, light boxes, bunting and price lists. Business cards are always a good way to help people know your brand, it ensures people remember what the name of your stall was. As well as a way to find you online.

Quirky is a good way to start conversations

Snuffle Mat by Urban Tails

Most people approach the Urban Tails stall to look at snuffle mats. They are always something that gets the conversation started as people see the bright colours and are intrigued. The aim of the mat is to get dogs and cats to use their noses by hiding their treats in the folds of fabric. So it is a good idea to have something a little unusual on your stall.

Have a positive body posture

Make sure you appear approachable if you are sat reading this could stop people from approaching you. Remove those barriers to make it more inviting for visitors to your stall. Members of the guild often make items whilst at craft events which is always a positive and is once again a good conversation starter.

If you can wear your product

There are often times when I am walking around craft shows and see people wearing items that they have made. One recent example was from some lovely ladies selling head scarfs. I lost count on how many they sold that day which was as a result of them both wearing one each.

Written by Anne Gurney and Nicole Hellyer

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