Our Nightmare before Christmas

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For those of you wondering how the Christmas Craft Fair went, I can tell you one thing, it did not go anything like we expected. In fact, I was banned from the event, and refunded just days after my application…. but the weirdness did not end there.

I have agonised about writing this post, as I can’t bare whingeing, cringy posts at the best of times. Talking to my Guild Members however, I now realise that unpleasant behaviour is a common occurrence within the Crafting community, and I’ve been left horrified by the stories my members have told me. Now I have experienced the pointy end of it first hand, I felt the need to share my experience.

Craft Fair Requirements

Most craft fairs you apply to will ask you to promote the event on your social media accounts. This is to the benefit of all, as the more you spread the word, the more excited eyeballs turn up on the day, increasing your chance of sales.

Anyone who knows me will tell you, I don’t do things by halves, so I excitedly offered to help make promo videos for anyone who needed them, a service which I offer to all of my Guild Members. For full transparency, the email I sent is below.

Astonishing Response

I still can’t quite believe what happened next to be honest. The tone of the response was so shocking, I was left blinking in disbelief at my screen.

Not only was I banned from the event, the organisers accused me of trying to “tout for business” and “flog them my services”. I had at NO POINT in my 1 email asked them for money. In fact the Silk Purse Guild is still in the pre-launch stage and absolutely all of the fabulous services I offer are FREE.

You would think that event being featured (FREE) on a website with a 2000 a day engaged audience, would be a good thing…….

Bare in mind that I had invested over £300 in stock, card reader, insurance and other shizzle, not to mention paying for the stall fee. Why on earth would anyone go to all this trouble just to talk to crafters? I can do this at any fair, at any time, anywhere in the UK completely FREE?

I was painstakingly adding Swarovski crystals to my 27th miniature Christmas Tree, when the email hit my inbox. I had done absolutely nothing wrong, and yet this felt like being back in the school playground again at nearly 50.

Both myself and Rachel been prepping for this fair for 3 months, as I was stuck at home recovering from major surgery. It was supposed to be our big day out together, doing something we both love.

Not the Only one

I raised the issue in my Private group, and my Guild members were quick to inform me that many of them had faced similar bullying and micro managing by event organisers. There seems to be a nasty undertone to the Craft Fair scene that I was not aware of.

I’ve seen nasty behaviour in online groups, but had no clue that you could potentially have to deal with this in person. I would be interested to hear from you if you have ever experienced anything like this, so buzz a response in the comments below, or send us the details of your experience by email.

But they were not quite finished…….

“Not a Genuine Crafter”

They were seemingly not content with banning me from the event. So they contacting Rachel to offer her a stall of her own. accusing me of sending “several emails” (I sent the one email above), and not being a genuine crafter. The nasty tone of these emails is astonishing, and a far cry from professional.

There are literally no words for this behaviour. The whole experience has put me off ever booking an in person event again, as I’ve been left weirdly feeling that I need to somehow justify my very existence?!

I could understand their response, had I been a rival event touting for sellers, but comparing a physical event with an online marketplace would be like a McDonalds trying to poach customers from Aston Martin? I can pretty much guarantee that each and every stall holder at the event has an online presence of some kind, whether it be a website, social media or even an Etsy shop?

I have been a successful crafter and artist for over 30 years, and have sold my work online in the UK, Greece and Australia. I’ve been featured in art galleries and the press and have never seen this level of micro managing before, in any professional environment.

I can assure you now they jumped to all the wrong conclusions on this occasion, as I wanted nothing more than to enjoy a day out with my good friend, and was in fact looking forward to a break away from my business, which has an all consuming effect on my life at the best of times.

Astonishingly they went on to use Rachel’s products, without her permission or consent, in their social media marketing for the event, which added further insult to injury. Requests to desist were left unanswered and the whole affair caused a great deal of stress and upset for all involved.

Both myself and Rachel have packed away our Christmas stock and blocked these individuals on the socials. Maybe next Christmas we will give it another go, but I can tell you right now, we will be doing some serious research next time!

If any event organisers want to drop us a line, we would be very interested in your opinion on what has turned out to be one hell of a nightmare before Christmas!

Have your Say

Have you experienced the nasty side of the Handmade Community? Have you been bullied, micro managed or ostracized by overly zealous event organisers, with a Bloated sense of their own importance?

I would love to hear from you, buzz me an email below

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