Fair fayre

Well that’s it folks!

After weeks of planning, days of baking and hours of lost sleep, cornishcakegirl has survived her first cake stall at the local Christmas town centre fayre…

Lets backtrack slightly, The idea hit my husband like a thunderbolt “Why don’t you do a stall at the Christmas fayre?”

The look i then threw him hit him even harder,But after thinking it over and finding out a stall was only £8 for the whole day i decided to go ahead.

But do me a favour and don’t remind him it was his idea… I will never live it down!

After started to accumulate stock  which could be made in advance,i then got slightly miffed when people wanted to buy it after advertising it online, then realised that’s what it is there for, to be bought.

Just a of ‘heads up’ for anyone planning to do a market stall, you will become obsessed with the weather reports,seeking out the most favorable and deciding all the others are wrong and that one, obscure online Mongolian weather reporter who pronounces England as “unger -gland”  is the genius the BBC weather centre has overlooked when he announces it will be “bright and sunny”.

So its 7.40am, and the car is packed so full my daughter is peeking out of a gap between  hot chocolate cones and gingerbread latte cupcakes with a scowl any 14 year old does with ease.

Setting the stall up the weather turns bad, we chase price signs and a few plastic bags before they disappear into the local Costa but carry on with “we’re british, we can cope” ringing in our heads.

With sides on the gazebo( but no back) the rain didn’t bother us too much, however some gusts of wind did result in a few desperate grabs of stock and signage over the next few hours.

All in all it went well, i’m writing the rough copy of this blog the evening i came home and i’m so tired i think i could sleep for 9 days but that has to wait as iv’e got Christmas baking to do tomorrow.

Would i do it again? Course i would, i am already thinking heart and flowers at valentines…

Just a few tips for anyone thinking of embarking on a similar adventure:

  • Ask the dimensions of the stall table in advance so you can practice the layout(this helped immensely on the day)
  • Ask to have sides AND BACK ! on your gazebo.
  • Know in advance where the toilets and take away cafe for tea refills is, take your own travel mug if possible so it stays warm while you deal with customers.
  • Be polite to your fellow stall holders, don’t be shy, introduce yourself , as someone you have been nice to and maybe offered a free cupcake to is more likely to watch over your stall while you run to the loo ( also offer to buy your two neighbors tea/coffee while you are out and about, the offer will be returned and this will make your life easier.
  • take plenty of change, most people have big notes earlier in the day.
  • Be patient, food sells best when people get hungry( about 11.30 am -2pm)
  • Samples are king! But not too many else they will eat the samples and nothing else.Rope in a friend to walk in front of your stall for a couple of hours and hand samples and business cards out.
  • Remember this is not only about selling stuff but also about advertising yourself, every person who walks past is a potential future customer so look smart, be polite and stand up and greet people when they approach your stall, even if they only walk away with a business card its a success.
  • Only put out a selection of stock so you can replenish during the day and keep your stock fresh.
  • If you are selling cake by the slice don’t slice in advance, do it while the customer waits( but have it marked up in advance so every slice is even) this keeps the cake fresh and customers like to think each slice is especially sliced for them.
  • Pre-prepare professional looking ” everything half price” or ” fill a box for £5″ or similar for the last hour, why take stock home when you can take home cash? Even if some items don’t sell for more than it cost to make, it saves you losing money .
  • Take a chair, warm coat, hat, two towels ( to wipe a wet table before starting layout and for wet heads), book or magazine, charged mobile and a chair.
  • Be prepared for a lot of kids and adults to walk up just for samples, eat about 4 pieces then walk off, if they look they are not buying, offer a business card to them, they may not buy this time but it doesn’t mean they wont order a cake from you! Even give cards to older kids, they will annoy their parents with the card for a cake for their birthday ,if you are lucky.
  • Pester power.. Make a dummy cake of the most popular kids theme , at the moment it is frozen and the amount of kids that came up to ( and poked) my frozen cake was unbelievable but with kids come parents and with parents comes cash! yes, all us parents are aware of the power of the pester!
  • Relax and have fun, its not easy but you can make good money and contacts.

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This will be my last blog until the new year so i hope you have a great Christmas and bring in the new year with copious amounts of cake and smiles !