My First Time Selling At A Fair

Hey everyone! So in the beginning of April it was my first time ever selling at a fair, and it’s obvious to say I learnt a thing or two and now know more or less what to expect at my next one.

I really enjoyed it, and despite my anxiety it was a pretty stress free day! I thought it was going to be incredibly stressful and something that I wouldn’t want to ever do again, but instead I’m ready to book myself in for the Summer Fair at the same place!

So without further ado, here are some of the things I learnt from my first fair.

  • Get there early. I like to be early for things so I can situate myself and know what I’m doing and where I am, but I have to say being early for a fair or show is a must. Quite a few other stalls got there only an hour before opening time, and were still setting up their booth when people started to arrive.
  • Be friendly. I’m not a hugely sociable person, but I made sure to at least keep a smile on my face and to engage with customers when they came to my booth or commented on my work. Even just a “Good Morning” can make the difference between a sale or not. Also be friendly to your neighbouring booths, it’s nice to have a little chat when it gets slow!
  • Not everyone will be nice. I read this in one of the many articles I read about fairs and events, but I really didn’t think it would happen to me. I make rustic signs ( which you can find on IG at rusticus_domum ) and had a large “Bakery” sign out front. I had other promo signs stating what I was selling, but this particular one was quite large so it definitely got more attention. A lady made a beeline for my booth, which I thought was a good thing! When she arrived, she stopped dead in her tracks and said in a horrible tone “oh, I saw the bakery sign and thought you sold cake. I have to say it’s a big disappointment.” All I could say was sorry and laugh it off a little, but I couldn’t help feeling a little put out by the comment. She might have meant it nicely enough, but her tone really made me look at my items in another light and start wondering if they really are a disappointment.
  • For every bad comment, there are 50 good ones. Having said the above, I received a lot of nice comments about my signs. Loads of people asked if they were handmade, and some couldn’t believe they were done entirely free hand. I gave out a lot of leaflets that day, and I am so glad people genuinely enjoyed my work.
  • Give people a place to find you after the show. Not everyone will buy from you, whether that be because they don’t want to walk larger items back to the car or they don’t have the cash on them (I don’t use a card machine yet!). If they’re interested, it’s great to offer a business card or brochure with a website, etsy, social media handle, or a Facebook page. Who knows, you might just find your biggest fan!
  • Display and set up are important. I only signed up for the fair two weeks before the date, which meant I really didn’t have a lot of time or money to invest into my display, so it could have been a lot better than it was. Your display is what entices people from the other side of the fair, what catches their eye, so make sure you at least put some thought into it and make yourself stand out to your target customer!
  • Have cash with you for change. This is another mistake I made. I had about £15 in coins, and no notes. To be completely honest, I didn’t expect people to be paying for a £1 item with a £10 note. I had to refuse a sale, simply because I didn’t have the change to give. Thankfully a member of the group gave the customer a £1 coin and completely saved the day, but I’ll be making sure I’m not in that position again next time!
  • Remember to have fun! You might be there to sell your handmade items or earn a little extra money, but don’t forget to have fun and enjoy yourself. I could have easily sucked myself into a  “I’ve not had anyone even look at my booth for over an hour this sucks” mindset, but I kept myself positive. I ended up really enjoying myself, and can’t wait for the next one.

So there you have it, some of the most important things I learnt at my first fair! If you have any tips or advice,  please leave me a comment down below, or link to you own post on the subject!

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you next time,

B x

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How to Make Your Curtains Thicker For Winter- DIY

It’s super duper freezing around where I live, and having really thin curtains doesn’t help in keeping the cold out – or any heat in. I’ve spent my day sewing and stitching bits and pieces together, and I’m pretty pleased with how my handiwork has turned out.

I’m sharing just how I’ve turned my really thin, almost see-through curtains into basically blackout curtains that really help keep the heat from escaping through the windows!

First of all, I’d like to thank my Grandma! It’s thanks to her that this project took place after I received a package in the mail FULL of fabric!

Now, let’s dive in!

how-to-line-your-curtainsdiy

What you’ll need

  • Curtains to work on
  • Fabric to line your curtains ( could even use blankets!)
  • Needle & thread / sewing machine

I do most of my sewing by hand, unless I really have to use my machine, so I used a needle and thread.

Most curtains will have a lining already, but that doesn’t mean that it’s thick enough to use in winter or to stop people seeing inside in the right light! Leave that on there, as it’ll be an extra layer behind the fabric you’re going to be sewing on in just a second.

life-with-bella-lining-curtain-explained

I chose a black jersey type material. Mainly because I had a huge amount of it, but also being a dark colour would help in keeping it a little more private instead of the neighbors seeing our shadows inside the house when we have the light on. Now it’s up, you can’t even tell if we have a light on or not! So choose your material based on what you want from it. Using old blankets or throws is a good bet too, that’s definitely going to bulk up your curtains and keep the warmth in!

Take a look at what a difference it makes, even with the sun on them! Sorry for the quality, I was using the room’s light.

life-with-bella-lined-vs-unlined-curtain

As the fabric wasn’t that heavy, I was able to do a simple running stitch on three of the four sides, leaving the bottom open. One curtain took me about two hours to sew all the way around, but that includes bathroom breaks and watching Netflix while doing it!

life-with-bella

Why you should line your curtains this Winter

Lining your curtains adds an extra layer to them, which in turn makes them thicker and heavier. Thick and heavy curtains are perfect for winter, as they keep the heat in and the cold out.

We lose most of the heat out of doorways and windows, either by the little cracks that let the draft in or purely by windows being where the outside air meats your warm air on either side of the window-pane. By having thicker curtains, you create a kind of “Double glazing” effect. You’ll have cold air on the outside, slightly warmer air between the window and the curtain, and then the warm air on the inside.

By lining your curtains yourself, you’re saving money too! No need to pay a seamstress – unless you’re not very good at sewing or simply don’t have the time – and no need to go out and spend a fortune on some really thick and heavy curtains!

Lining slip-on curtains

I thought I’d add a little about slip on curtains as I know many people make their on curtains that you just slip onto the pole rather than massing about with hooks and whatnot!

With the leftover material – I did say I had a lot! – I doubled it up and sewed multiple lines of about 3-4 inches across the top, and then one uninterrupted line about 3 inches down. I then cut down to the uninterrupted line (without cutting the line) to create slits. I did the same to the front curtain, and then put them both on the pole alternatively.

As you can see in this picture, I now have two curtains on one pole: the black lining, which is the doubled up fabric that was left over, and the white/cream curtain I had originally.

life-with-bella-slip-on-curtains-lined

You could sew the fabric onto the back of the original slip on curtain, but as mine didn’t have any lining on the back and I didn’t want stitching to show through, I made a separate curtain.

It’s been about a week since I did this to our downstairs curtains, and I have to say it makes a HUGE difference. I’m started doing it to some of the upstairs curtains too, because it just works so incredibly well!

I hope this helps you keep your home warm this winter, or inspires you to do more DIY’s to help keep the heating bills down! If you do this DIY please send me a picture or tag me! You can tag me on Instagram and Twitter, both @lifewithbellan.

Thanks for dropping by!
Love,
Bella x

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