Craft Fair Checklist

How to Prepare for a Craft Fair

Getting ready for The London Artisan Summer Event

Earlier this year I became a member of Designers/Makers which is an agency for contemporary design, they offer their members business advice, selling events, PR and opportunities to develop their brand. Each year they collaborate with The London Artisan which is a curated marketplace held quarterly at The Old Truman Brewery in East London. Their summer edition takes place on Sat 21st – Sun 22nd of July and I am very excited to be taking part.

The london artisan

Getting ready for these type of events requires a lot of organisation and preparation before-hand to ensure that everything runs smoothly, so in this post I am going to share with you how I get ready for my craft fairs to help you plan for your next event. First I start with a 10-point checklist:

Craft Fair Checklist

  1. Stock
  2. Promotional material (business cards & postcards)
  3. Visual display (photographs, jewellery plinths, table cloth etc.)
  4. Payment options
  5. Packaging
  6. Signage
  7. Mailing list/comments book
  8. Promoting the event
  9. Invite a friend
  10. Have fun and dress to impress

How Much Stock Should I Bring?

This question is always a tricky one especially if you are new to selling at craft fairs, the questions I try to consider to work this out are:

1. How much stock do I have already?
2. How much time do I have to make new stock?
3. How much space do I have to layout my products?
4. What are my most popular pieces?
5. Have any of my customers requested any particular jewellery to try/buy at the event?
6. When I layout all my jewellery does the space look cohesive and enticing or disconnected and sparse?
7. What was the footfall like at previous event that I visited?

After answering all the questions above I make a list of all the stock I intend to bring or make and set aside time to hit my stock target, taking into consideration that items will sell online in the interim.  I always try to visit a prior event hosted by the same event company before I book to trade at their craft fair to get an idea of the footfall, are people browsing or shopping, do the stall holders look happy or bored (this is usually a good indication to how well the day is going for them lol!) Ultimately it is all a guessing game as you will never know who will turn up on the day and what they are looking to buy, so I always take enough stock to fill my space and have a few spare pieces to top it up throughout the day.  It is better to sell out and take orders from customers then to make way too much stock and have to take most of it back home.

Promotional Material

Promotional material is very important as it a small piece of your brand that a customer can take away with them for free, it should represent your brand visually and contain your contact details and social media handles so that the person can easily get in touch with you and/or follow you on Instagram or Facebook etc.  I like to have business cards and postcards as they serve slightly different functions in my opinion, a business card is usually kept in a wallet and is pulled out when needed, it is small enough to slide in your pocket and doesn’t feel awkward to carry around.  A postcard on the other hand can act as a small piece of art and get stuck on a fridge or pin-board and has a higher chance of being seen more frequently at a later date, so consider the image carefully, does it stand out, can people clearly see it represents  your brand? The downside of postcards sometimes can be that people can find them too big to carry around  if they don’t have a bag, but this is rare, so I like to bring both so I’m covered 🙂

My most recent batch of postcards and business cards I ordered online from printed.com and they were printed on recycled 350gsm paper which I think came out really smart and has the added bonus of being eco-friendly.  When ordering business cards and postcards I have discovered that its best the order small runs, say 50 – 200 of each style, this way you can choose two or three different styles and if you change your contact details or create a new collection that you want to show off your not stuck with 1000+ out of date postcards.

Other great promotional materials include stickers, badges and pens these are low cost items that you can use to promote your brand and if you have a bigger budget why not consider t-shirts or tote bags you can check out a company called Awesome Merchandise for lots more ideas.

Elisha Francis Business cards

Visual Display

This is by far my favourite part of an event, creating my own little pop-up shop for the weekend, is such a fun way to introduce my jewellery to a new audience.  However there are a few basics that you must cover to ensure your space stands out from the crowd.  When visiting The London Artisan event in March I must say that the displays were collectively very impressive, you could see that all the designers had put a lot of effort into their visual display. So to ensure that my space has everything I need for my display I have created a list of essentials to include in my set-up:

  1. Table cloth(s)
  2. Jewellery stands
  3. Pricing labels
  4. Mirror
  5. Large photographic images
  6. Signage
  7. Props to style the space
  8. Lighting & extension lead
  9. Trolley/step-ladder

When setting up a space I like to try to create the same feel as my online shop so people can experience the essence of the brands lifestyle, so as well as my jewellery I will be bringing along some plants and props to enhance the modern tribal vibe to the space. Another important thing to remember is a trolley to transport your things to and from the venue from your car if you have large or heavy items.  Another important thing especially for jewellery is additional lighting as it will help potential customers see your items better if your pieces are lit well especially in the evening.  If you do bring lighting always check with the event company that this is allowed and always bring an extension lead as you will not know where the nearest  sockets will be until you are allocated your space.  I always set-up my space at home to see how it works and make any necessary tweaks before the event.  I take a few photos on my phone of the set-up so on the day I am calm and know exactly where everything goes, it is a bit OCD but event days are very hectic, there will be lots of people setting up and you will be racing against the clock to put everything in its place before the doors open to the public.

Payment Options

Most people do not carry around a lot of cash anymore and if they do it is usually under £50, so it is very important that I have a way for customers to pay by card.  I have an i-zettle account which I am going to use for card payments at the event, I can upload all my products onto the app before the event and it will keep track of all my stock and sales, allow customers to pay by card or cash and email them a receipt after the transaction.  I really like how easy the software is to use I simply plug in the card reader to my iPhone or iPad and the transactions fees are really low which is great. I will also bring along a sign that lets customers know that I accept card payments.

Packaging

Packaging is a very important part  of the sales process, if something is packaged beautifully it adds to the overall customer experience.  I plan to bring jewellery boxes, tissue paper, paper bags and canvas bags to wrap items and will add a business card inside the bag for every customer.  Two of my favourite packaging companies are Morplan and APL Packaging I have used them a lot throughout the years and always experience great customer service and quality products from them both. This year I have introduced eco-friendly packaging to some of my products and I found a great company online called eco-craft where I was able to purchase bio-degradable clear bags to package my notebooks.  I love the fact that I can protect my items for my customers with the knowledge that after it has done its job it is not going to end up floating in the sea somewhere.

Signage

Clear signage is a very important part of your stand at an event, sometimes events like to keep these uniform and will make these for you however most events I have been to you usually need to bring your own.  In the past I have used vinyl banners which are pretty effective, a large poster in a frame would also work well and I have even seen some signs painted on wood and laser cut from acrylic.  It really depends on your brands style so choose a sign that compliments your brands aesthetic, if possible bring two, a large one to go at the back of your stand and a smaller one to sit on your table.

Mailing List and Comments Book

I like to bring along a book for customers to leave their details and for this event I am also going to bring a box for people to drop their business cards as well as it can be a great way to keep in touch with press and other businesses that visit the event.   Your mailing list is one of your most valuable parts of your business so do not miss out on the opportunity to grow yours.

Promoting the Event

As an independent designer/maker is is vital that you do not skip this stage, especially if you are an online company like me, customers love to see your products in real life and love to meet the maker. Never solely depend on the event company to promote the event, of course they should and will promote it to their contacts but you must always do your own promotions to enhance the success of your experience at the event.  Prior to an event I will promote in the following ways:

  1. Send invites to mailing list (I filter my contact list to the country location of event to make it as relevant as possible).
  2. Promote on all your social media channels running up to the event – its FREE
  3. Create an event page on Facebook – you can join mine here 🙂
  4. Include in your monthly newsletter if you have one
  5. Include in your Snapchat or Instagram stories on the day of your event – this is great way to show real-time footage to your audience especially if your tag your location
  6. Document your event – film your visual display, take photos of you interacting with your customers, this is all great content to use as promo for your next event or blog post

Invite a Friend

Working on a stand all weekend is hard work and you will need to eat and use the bathroom so invite a friend or family member along to either spend the whole day with you or a few friends to pop in and see you  throughout the day this way you will be able to pop away without leaving your stand unattended and eat away from your stand.  It is not a good look to be sitting behind you table with a burger in your mouth when a potential customer comes over to enquire about a product.  If none of your friends or family are available then always introduce yourself to your neighbors as soon as you arrive at the event, you will be stand buddies for the day and can watch each others stand if necessary.

Have Fun and Dress to Impress

You have done all the hard work so now its time to have some fun, what are you are going to wear, more often than not your fashion style will be echoed in your brand but remember that you are an extension of your display so dress to impress.  What we wear and how we look says a lot to passers-by, if you sell vintage clothes but are dressed in Topshop this will give a conflicting message to potential customers if you are not wearing your products why should they?  Select your outfit before the event, go for comfortable shoes as you will most likely be standing all day, wear layers so that you can adjust for cold/warm weather and choose clothes that match your brands colour palette so that you look right at home amongst your space.  The most important part of your outfit is your smile, it makes you more approachable and people will instantly feel more comfortable to come over and check out all your lovely creations.

 

If you are in London next month please save the date of The London Artisan in your diary (Sat/Sun 21-22 July Time: 11-6pm) and you can follow my jewellery journey via my Instagram  page (@elishafrancis)

I hope you have found some of this useful, if you have any questions or tips about preparing for your next event please leave a comment below

Until next week

Elisha x

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ELISHA’S STYLE: HEAD WRAPS & JEWELS

A few months ago I caught up with my long time friend and photographer Simon Richardson for an impromptu photo shoot at his Bedford studio.  At the time I was in the process of creating my Macramé collection so wanted to include some of the pieces in the shoot and decided to create three looks using different head wraps.

Growing up with a Rastafarian mother I can clearly remember sitting on her bed watching her tie her head with beautiful cloths, she always looked so regal as she constructed her crown for the day.  Last year I started my lock journey and wanted to embrace my Rastafarian roots and bring my own modern twist to the styling.  On the day I was stylist/make-up artist/designer and I had so much fun creating each look and grabbing a quick selfie before each session with the professional Simon.

I could not even tell you how many shoots I have done with Simon over the years but I must say that this is my favourite one to date, maybe because I felt a true connection to the style of the shoot as I felt that it really represented the woman I have fought to become, finally embracing my own style, the richness of my past and the possibilities for my future.  The timing of the shoot couldn’t have been more perfect as days after I received the images the Marvel movie Black Panther came out in the UK and I truly felt part of the Wakanda movement.  Not only was the movie a celebration of the first black Superhero Marvel film but it was also a celebration of strong black female warriors, my favourite being Okoye played by the beautiful Danai Gurira.  The scene in the casino where Okoye throws her wig at the henchmen was epic, for me it symbolised a celebration of female power and individual beauty.


Thank you ladies you have fuelled the fire for women everywhere and giving us the inspiration to shine like the warriors we are; WAKANDA FOREVER!

Here are some of the images from my shoot, you can see more in my album on Facebook page:





The finish off I just want to say a huge thank you to Simon please head over to his website and check out his work is amazing: Simon Richardson
Until next week guys Peace & Blessings
Elisha x

Hannah Barrett

Elisha meets singer Hannah Barrett

Recently I had the privileged of working with the talented singer Hannah Barrett who has recently joined forces with Talent Manager Nadiya Hoffman. Hannah was a quarter finalist on X-Factors in 2013 where she wowed us with your beautiful soulful voice.  Her larger than life character filled the room as she entered The Pond Recording studios in South London which was to be our shooting location for the day.

Hannah wears JAJA Macramé Body Jewellery, VICTORY earrings and ASHANTI septum

In between takes I managed to catch up with Hannah and ask her a few questions about her singing career:

Elisha: So Hannah what is on the horizon for your this year?

Hannah: A lot of exciting opportunities, currently I’m focusing on what type of artist I want to be and taking this time to write new material which I aim to create a full length EP from.

Elisha: What have you been up to since X-Factor?

Hannah: After X-Factor the hype died down pretty much and I went back to the drawing board and started all over again but this time on my own terms.  I write music that I want to sing, I have been studying artists that I admire and I am dedicated to perfecting my craft. 

Hannah wears KENDI Macrame Body Jewellery

Elisha: What has been the inspiration behind your latest material?

Hannah: I recently went to Rotterdam to work on some new music and wrote a song called ‘Mama’, it basically describes the broken relationship I have with my mother and all the trials and tribulations I have faced with her.  It’s very emotional, very deep and completely raw.  I don’t hold back at all. I tell the truth. 

Elisha: What is it like being an artist that is making a comeback from a huge show like the X-Factor

Hannah: It is one of the hardest things to do.  You have to work extra hard because you have to try to get everyone back on your side and listen to what you have to say, especially because they have been waiting on new music for almost 4 years.  I am very grateful though because there are people who have stuck by me since X-Factor and they are excited for what is yet to come.  It is daunting for me because I want to make everyone proud and I just hope that all my hard work pays off. 

Hannah wears BEJEWELLED Swarovski mask, JOMO and MAHA rings in gold

I had such a great time hanging out with Hannah she is super talented, hard-working and so much fun to be around, not forgetting the rest of the team that made the day such a blast; the extraordinary Nadiya Hoffman who I have the pleasure of calling my cousin, she is so focused, ambitious and knows exactly how to get things done.  Fashion designer Danny owner of street wear label D’Trois, who kindly helped both behind and in front of the camera on the day and of course our host music producer Rory from The Pond Recording Studio who has made beats for the likes of Stylo G, Shaun White and Giggs. To be surrounded by such talent, passion and good vibes made this day absolutely amazing and I know phenomenal things are in the pipeline for all of these guys so watch this space, you heard it here first!


Creative team:

Photography/Styling: Elisha Francis 
Music Producer: RLS The Pond Recording Studios
Music Artist: Hannah Barrett
Talent Manager: Nadiya Hoffman 
Fashion Designer: Danny D’Trois


Thank you for checking out my blog post, I’d love to hear what you think so please leave a comment below and are an artist looking to collaborate please get in touch!

Macramé Street Photoshoot

Since launching my new Macramé collection earlier this month the question I get asked to most is; how do you wear it?  So I wanted to share some images from a shoot I did with the gorgeous Nicquel, Eloise and Harmonious Brown. This was my first photography shoot that I shot myself and I must say we had loads of fun on the streets of South London.  In this shoot I wanted to show how my new Macramé pieces could be worn over an outfit, so I styled the ladies in black from head to toe to act as a backdrop for the Macramé body jewellery.

First up is the beautiful Eloise riding the elevator in style, I have accessorised her outfit with my gold VICTORY earrings and gold ASHANTI septum to enhance the gold flecks in the AZIZIA body jewellery. To add extra sparkle to the outfit I used gold glitter in her hair to compliment the gold accessories.

SHOP THE LOOK:

Next up is Nicquel who is wearing ZAKIYA body jewellery, VICTORY earrings in rose gold and MAYA rose gold septum, all the jewellery stands out so beautifully against her fiery copper hair and black ensemble.  This look is a perfect example of how you can transform a plain black outfit into a head turner.

SHOP THE LOOK:

Last but by no means least is Harmonious Brown rocking our KENDI body jewellery, VICTORY earrings in silver and MALIKA septum ring.  The tassels in the body pieces is mirrored in her braids which I love and I added some diamanté gems above her brow to give a modern tribal vibe to the overall outfit.

 

SHOP THE LOOK:

 

Thank you for checking out my blog post, I would love to know what you think of the outfits and new collection so please leave a comment below 🙂

Elisha x


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MACRAME collection by Elisha Francis

Eco-friendly Macramé Jewellery

‘Recycling Just Got Sexy’

Yes recycling is sexy and no I’m not crazy lol! Let me explain, over the last few months I  have been working on a new collection and I have finally launched it online so obviously I wanted to share the news with you guys. It is called MACRAMÉ and it is a collection of large scale body jewellery hand woven by yours truly using the ancient macramé technique.  I am so excited about this range because it fused two of my great passions; textiles and statement body adornment. For the past few years I have been a lot more conscious about how I am living in terms of my health and lifestyle so introducing this ethos into my jewellery business has been a natural progression and a way for me in inject my core values into my business.  The main material that I have used for the collection is a type of yarn made from recycled cotton. It is produced from salvage remnants from the fashion industry and is so fun to work with and comes in a range of beautiful colours.

 

After practicing the macramé technique for some time and experimenting with different patterns I finally came up with a variations of styles that complement and accentuate the female form. The collection includes two styles of large scale body pieces in neutral shades with hints of soft pink and citrus yellow making an appearance within the range. Large scale friendship bracelets, bangles and chokers complete the collection by offering an everyday statement piece in the same recycled cotton and rope.  I made a short YouTube video talking about all the pieces in the collection which you can watch below:

The question that I’ve been getting asked the most is; ‘How do you wear them?’ so I thought it would be useful if I listed my top three ways below:

  1. Wear over your swimwear at the beach or pool party
  2. Add it to a pair or shorts and crop top for a festival vibe
  3. Apply over your existing outfit i.e LBD to elevate the outfit entirely

My favourite everyday piece is the EIDI choker which I am wearing in my YouTube video, I love it because not only can you wear it as a choker but you can also wear it as a hairband or even double it up as a bracelet so you get a few options with this piece. I also love the DEKA rope bangles which come in a choice of three colours and look amazing all stacked up together.

DEKA ROPE BANGLES

The whole collection has been so much fun to create and I look forward to seeing them worn on beaches around the world, dancing at summer festivals and turning heads at a few soirees this year. So guys this is my new collection I hope you like it and before I sign off here are a few images of the pieces:

AZIZA | Macramé Body Jewellery

friendship bracelets

RAFIKI | Friendship Bracelets

RAFIKI | Friendship Bracelet

RAFIKI | Friendship Bracelet

MADU | Macramé Bangles

MADU | Macramé Bangles

KENDI | MACRAMÉ BODY JEWELLERY

KENDI | Macramé Body Jewellery

 

Discover the full collection on my website and I would to hear which piece is your favourite so please let me know by leaving a comment below

Elisha x

 

 

elisha francis

NOISE | Photoshoot with artist Àsìkò

I was strolling through Instagram one evening (as you do) and I saw a casting call from visual artist and photographer Àsìkò. I had been following him on the gram for a while and loved his work and artistic expression.  The post was a casting call for models for a test shoot he was planning the following weekend.  Feeling brave in the moment I sent him a DM briefly introducing myself and how I would love to style the shoot if he was interested.  To my delight he said yes and the collaboration was underway.  The following Saturday I set off to a studio in North London armed with a suitcase full of jewels and body pieces, excited to meet Àsìkò and his team.  As soon as I arrived I was met with a warm and friendly welcome and I knew instantly that it was going to be an amazing day.  I was the first one to arrive so we had a chance to get to know each other before the models, make-up artist and assistant arrived.  Already impressed by his images on his website, the more I spoke to Àsìkò the more I could feel and understand his passion for his work. As the rest of the team arrived one by one I could feel the atmosphere buzzing with excitement for the day ahead.

Asiko, elisha francis, headpiece, photo shoot

First up in front of the camera was Rebecca Nemeré a beautiful and confident London based model, the moment I saw her I instantly wanted to accentuate her striking high cheekbones so I decided to style her with my STATEMENT headpiece which framed her face and I could see a Bomani Woman come to life in front of my eyes.  Next up was the gorgeous Aaliyah with her abundance of beautiful black hair, she was very sweet and softly spoken but as soon as she stepped in from of the camera she took on her IG persona (@god.herself) and we all saw the goddess come to life.  I really loved the abstract tribal make up that make-up artist Zahra Ramees used for this look. I styled  her in my new ODARA macramé body piece and silver VICTORY earrings.

Asiko, macrame collection, elisha francis

The beautiful and talented hair and make-up artist Zahra Ramees was next up for her portrait with Àsìkò and came up with the ingenuous idea to use my BEJEWELLED mask under her head scarf and blew smoke through it for maximum drama.

elisha francis, asiko, photo shoot

As we waited for the next model to get ready Àsìkò pulled me in front of the camera for my portrait and how could I say no (lol).  Not dressed for the occasion but luckily wearing my silver VICTORY earrings, I too had my 5 minutes in front of the camera.

elisha francis, asiko, portrait

The last model of the day was life coach Nehanda who was 8 months pregnant at the time and was radiantly glowing with that breathtaking glow that only pregnant women are blessed with. Her positive energy, body confidence and feminine beauty was a true joy to watch. I loved how my ZAKIYA macramé body piece cascaded over her womanly curves and highlighted the versatility of the design, displaying the mothering side of a true Bomani Woman.

elisha francis, asiko, macrame

The photoshoot was a great success and I really enjoyed working with such an amazing and talented team, it is so magical when a group of strangers come together and create some – NOISE.

View the full album via my Facebook  page

 

.::: Noise :::.
Photographer: Àsìkò
Photographers assistant: Alero Buttercup
Make-up Artist: Zahra Ramees
Models: Rebbecca Nemeré, Aaliyah, Zahra Ramees,
Elisha Francis and Nehanda Soul
Styling/Jewellery: Elisha Francis

 

 

elisha francis, bio, profile, Bomani woman,

The birth of a Bomani Woman

My love of jewellery design is an escape into my own wonderful world. I become lost in the research, sketching, sampling, creating and learning new skills and developing my own design language. I have always been a great believer in loving what you do and doing what you love.  I love creating, I love designing and I love sharing this with you. My  jewellery is my creative voice, my metaphoric armour, my journey and my discovery.

The Bomani collection was created during my final year of university where I studied jewellery design at Sir John Cass (LMU). This was the birth of my Bomani Tribe, it was created to represent strength, courage, and to evoke the warrior in us all. The word Bomani means warrior or solider and is an African/Egyptian boys name. I took the name and repurposed it for my designs and myself. I wanted to create jewellery and body adornment for the modern day warrior, male and female. Coming together to celebrate our differences, standing alone and feeling empowered and making a conscious decision to walk the path we choose.

Working in both metal and textiles allows me to communicate a narrative through my work; these contrasting materials represent the idea that we can be hard and soft, simple and intricate, strong and fragile. Sometimes it is hard to express ourselves with words, but what we choose to adorn ourselves with can reflect that still small voice within trying to be set free.

I am a Bomani Woman, welcome to my tribe…

Bomani woman, elisha francis, jewellery designer

Join our tribe: 

Website: www.elishafrancis.com
Instagram: @elishafrancis
Pinterest: @elishafrancis
Twitter: @elishafrancis
Facebook: Elisha Francis Jewellery

elisha francis, photo shoot, jewellery

Girl with a Silver Septum

Say hello to my beautiful cousin Eloise, my second stunning model from my BOMANI WOMAN™ photo shoot with my dear friend Simon Richardson.  Inspired by the painting ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ by Johannes Vermeer I wanted to put my own twist on it and create ‘Girl with the Silver Septum’. As this was the first  photo shoot from the aspiring actress I must say I was very impressed with her poise, confidence and the results, well you can see for yourself…

elisha francis, jewellery, photoshoot, septum

elisha francis, jewellery, photo shoot

elisha francis, photo shoot, jewellery

elisha francis, septum, jewellery, photoshoot

elisha francis, jewellery, septum, photoshoot

Credits:
Photography: Simon Richardson
Jewellery: Elisha Francis London
Model: Eloise
Styling: Elisha Francis

elisha francis, photo shoot, earrings

AYLA: BOMANI GODDESS

Recently I had the pleasure of shooting with my dear friend Simon Richardson, and the striking model Ayla.  Here are some of the stunning images that we captured of Ayla wearing my Rose Gold Victory earrings:

model, elisha francis, earrings, jewellery designer

elisha francis, model, earrings, jewellery

elisha francis, jewellery, photo shoot, model

Credits

Photographer: Simon Richardson
Jewellery: Elisha Francis London
Model: Ayla Sky
Hair/MUA/Stylist: Elisha Francis

 

 

elisha francis, rings, jewellery

BOMANI Rings

 

I am so excited to finally introduce a new series of four contemporary rings that I’ve been working on for the lat few months, inspired by tribal artefacts and designed with a minimalist aesthetic, these little gems are the newest pieces to join the BOMANI Tribe™.

 

YERO Ring, elisha francis, jewellery designer

YERO | Warrior Ring | Sterling Silver

Maha ring, elisha francis, minimalist, jewellery

MAHA | Eye Ring | Sterling Silver

Jomo ring, elisha francis, jewellery designer, minimalist

JOMO | Spear Ring | Sterling Silver

Kita ring, elisha francis, jewellery designer

KITA | Face Ring | Sterling Silver

 

The collection can be found online and will be available in gold, silver and rose gold with prices starting from £75.

Join our tribe: @elishafrancis #BomaniTribe