Following on from the National Cupcake Championships (which I’m still very proud of, and even more so after some lovely feedback from the judges), I have had a stall at a fair in Twickenham, I’ve held my first ever workshop and I attended the Speciality Food Fair in Olympia (purely for research purposes. I did a lot of research!).
Fairs are an enjoyable part of my business. They are also a stressful and exhausting part. And, if my cakes don’t sell, they can be soul-destroying. I’m still working on my presentation, as you can see, bags etc are visible and I need to find a back-drop (as nice as the bookies was!), but I’m getting there. Every fair I do, I learn a little more and they become just that bit easier.
To give you an insight into the day, I spend around a day and a half baking and packaging my goodies into (hopefully!) a pretty display so people will want to buy my goodies. I take promotional material with me (fliers, leaflets, business cards and post cards), as well as cake stands, table cloths, bunting (some of which I’ve made myself – I don’t just bake!), knives, bags, boxes, napkins, signage, black sacks… I also have a gazebo and a chair; two very useful items for the stall holder!
I have to squeeze in a trip to the bank (so I can give people change) and make sure that I have my insurance documents, health and safety certificate and business registration certificate (I’ve not been asked for this yet, but I like to be prepared!).
I have to come up with prices which customers don’t object to, but which cover the costs of my ingredients, the stall, travel to the fair and home again, my insurance, wear and tear and depreciation of my cake tins and stock, display items (such as cake stands) and also my time, as I have to earn something for the hours that have gone into a fair.
After being on my feet for over a day baking, I have to then stand at my stall, smile and hope people stop by the slightly crazy-looking lady! As I said, it is enjoyable, but it is a lot of work and it’s always a very long day. So the next time you see someone with a stall, smile at them, then go up to them and say hello. Better still, buy something, anything, as that’s why we do it and it will make all of the (many) hours worth it.