You’ve waited weeks for the outcome of your craft fair application. You gasp a little in glee as a new email from the event organisers hits your inbox. You click it open in anticipation of the news, only to be greeted with a generic rejection letter. It reads how the “calibre of applications was incredibly high and we had to make some tough choices. We regret to let you know that you didn’t receive a stall allocation, but we want to thank you for your efforts and support of the event.”
A slow sinking pit begins to widen in your gut. The feeling of excitement disappears as the reality sets in. Rejected. It’s natural to feel a bit dejected as you wonder what exactly caused the organisers to decline your application.
In today’s post, we’ll run through the top 8 reasons why the organiser’s may have declined your craft fair application and the lessons you can learn from these so you don’t make these common (but easy to fix) mistakes!
1. Didn’t read the rules
Before you hit the submit button, you need to make sure you’ve carefully read and complied with all the rules.
- Have you submitted answers that directly answer the question(s) within the allocated word limit? It’s important to learn how to write succinctly so if your answers go over the word limit – it’s an easy criteria for the organiser’s to check off and cull your application if you’re over the word limit.
- Did you provide all the relevant information like relevant pictures, links etc?
- Do your products fit into a specific category?
2. Too many craft fair applications in your chosen category
Particular events are more popular than others and there’s a lot of competition for limited stall spaces. This is especially true if you sell products in popular categories such as jewellery and illustrations. With limited spots, naturally this means that not everyone who applies can get in.
To improve your chances, it’s a good idea to showcase new items you’ve created since you last applied. This keeps your shop fresh not only to the event’s organisers but also shoppers who will attend the event. New products also show progress for your shop and your commitment to it too.
3. Not a good fit for the craft fair or design market
The show organiser’s may have a particular aesthetic when it comes to their stall holders. For example, say the event’s aesthetic is vintage or shabby chic and if you apply with a rock ‘n’ roll styled clothes, it’s not exactly the right fit right? Check out the event’s website and social media profiles to get a feel for what their aesthetic is like and decide if yours is suitable or not.
4. Your product photography is not up to expectations
Naturally when you apply to be considered as a stall holder in a market, it’s essential you present you and your shop in the best light. This includes having a full and cohesive looking shop with well lit product photos. So it’s important to either invest in some time, money and energy into either learning how to take well lit and well composed product photos yourself. With only a few simple tools such as your phone camera, point and shoot camera or a DSLR, foam core and simple props – a lot is possible! Or the other option would be to hire a photographer to help you with your product photography.
Ideally photos of your products in your shop should feature some different angles or shots. These include a picture of the item by itself on a simple background, a lifestyle shot – where the item is shown in use (like a wooden spoon used for baking in the kitchen) or with a model to show the scale like some earrings.
Well lit, in focus and interesting photos that show the products colours, variations, size and scale should be factors you consider when making the final selection to showcase in your shop.
5. Submitted the craft fair application after the deadline
Depending on the event, the event organisers probably have hundreds if not thousands of applications to review. So in order to filter it down to the final list, no matter how awesome your application, your shop or your products may be – if you’ve submitted it after the application deadline, it’s a no brainer that that is a simple reason for the event organiser’s to immediately decline your application.
So when you’re researching which shows to apply for, remember to jot down the relevant dates so you’re clear on deadlines such as:
- when the applications open and close
- The time frame in which you can expect to hear back about the outcome of your application
- actual date of the event
6. The event organiser’s didn’t receive your application
Sometimes technical malfunctions or glitches occur which may mean your submission wasn’t received. Read the rules, guidelines or the frequently asked questions (FAQs) sections to check what you’re supposed to expect after you submit your application. Are you to receive a confirmation email or just redirected to a confirmation page? Whatever the case, if what is expected doesn’t occur, re-read the rules/guidelines/FAQ to check. If you still can’t find an answer, it’s a good idea to follow up with the organisers to check that your application was received.
7. Poor spelling and/or grammatical errors
Correct spelling and no grammatical errors in your craft fair application means you took the time and care to review your answers. This shows the organiser’s you are professional and serious about the application and in everything you do you take the proper time and effort. If your craft fair application is riddled with poor spelling and grammatical errors, it just makes it hard to read. Don’t make the organisers have to decipher what you want to convey . This is just going to be an easy reason why they’ll decline your application. Make the organiser’s job easy and proof read your craft fair application before submitting it. When you complete the application, It’s a good idea to spend some time away from it and review it with some fresh eyes. Or else ask a friend, partner or family member to proof read it.
8. The standard/quality of your goods aren’t up to expectations
Not only do your product photos need to be an accurate representation of the colours, size etc – are your products of a quality that can stand up to reasonable use without significant wear and tear? Will your product fall to pieces in a few uses when it supposed to last a lot longer? Is the quality up to a level you’d be proud to associate your name and brand with?
If after reviewing your application and you still can’t really pin it down to a particular reason (or a group or reasons), you could always make contact with the organiser’s to ask for some feedback. There are of course no guarantees if the event organisers will actually respond or in how much detail. They might be busy with organising the logistics of the event or some other project – but it never hurts to ask. The feedback you receive may be invaluable and help you improve for next time. So don’t feel too down on yourself and view this result as a precious lesson to learn from.
P.S. Good luck with your craft fair applications and don’t forget to download your bonus craft fair application checklist so you can make sure you cover all your bases before you press submit!