It started off so well. Peta and I had booked a pitch at the Summer Craft Fair at Port Solent on the south coast as our first attempt at selling direct to the public. We chose that one because it’s fairly local to us and we’d been as punters several times. It always seemed well attended with a reasonable range of crafts on show but, crucially, very little in the way of candles. We decided we’d sell candles we’d made as well as the kits we’d used to make them.
We arrived just before 8am to put up our gazebo alongside the marina, barely yards from the posh and expensive yachts. The sun was shining and all was looking good. We got set up pretty quickly and, in fact, had sold our first candles before the fair had officially opened. We met some nice people, including some Facebook friends who’d made a special trip (thank you!). Mind you, the weather had turned blowy and rainy by this point and it was only to get worse.
Let’s put it this way. The average attendance at a Port Solent craft fair is around 4,000. If we saw more than 200 people in the entire time we were there I’d be surprised. Despite this, we sold quite a few candles and a couple of kits- enough to make back the cost of attending. More experienced stall holders has started quietly packing up by 1pm – perhaps we should have followed them.
By 3pm, the organisers had told us to pack up. Sadly, there was no way to bring the car down to the pitch so I started lugging boxes up the hill to the car in the hope that we could get dismantled before further rain arrived.
With most of our boxes in a trolley, we dismantled the gazebo. The weather gods chose that moment to unleash their fury. Peta took cover as I trudged up the hill getting soaked, quite literally, through to the skin. I slipped into Jim Royle as I shouted out “Summer Fair, my backside” at one of the security guards who was sheltering under a gazebo.
Soaked, exhausted and skint we made our way home. From a financial perspective, a complete washout but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and will be back!