making wedding fayres work

Case Study – Making Wedding Fairs Work

Wedding Fayres (or bridal shows) can be a terrific way to promote your business. It’s the ultimate targeted marketing. But they can also turn into an expensive flop. Jacqueline Sankey of DIY stationery specialist Fuchsia Fairy tells her story of trial and error before finding her way to make wedding fayres (or fairs) a success.

It’s been 2 years since I found the niche that my business sits in now.

As soon as I decided to focus on DIY Wedding Stationery – supplying the items, and providing a service, working with brides-to-be designing invitations which are simple enough to create but provide impact – I began doing wedding fayres.

Over the years I had dreamed of doing wedding fayres, but could never imagine providing something different enough to make it worthwhile. Other people must be so much more professional than little old me!

The idea for my first fayre was to offer solutions. The consultation part of the service, where for a small fee I could find items not available elsewhere, create a handful of designs in accordance with the brief – colour scheme, themes, other ideas etc – and work from there to help the bride achieve something she felt confident enough to make –  affordable but still with the ‘wow’ factor. Having received many invites over the years, there is a subtle but definite difference between ‘ooh I wonder where they got these from’ to ‘aww, look they made it themselves, how… umm… quaint. I wonder what else they’ve cut corners on…’

The other aspect I wanted was to offer sample packs for sale – for a small price they could bring together each of the elements they might like, not wasting money on packs of things they didn’t need – so for my first fayre this was where the focus was.

Visually it was a disaster. All these little packets on the table made it look more like a craft fayre stall (not where I wanted to be).

Improvements were made by the time of my next fayre. Display stands with samples of different card blanks available, showing embellishments that can be used and wording banners which we specialise in. I also put together a few sample designs which can be done quickly and affordably. These have been very well received at every fayre I have ever done (actually at times making me wonder if I should be doing my own range of handmade wedding stationery too..but that’s another story!)

fuchsia fairy wedding fair display

I did more fayres over the next 18 months, always improving on designs, learning so much along the way and felt the time had come upscale and go for a bigger venue, or an exhibition. An invitation to a larger event within my financial reach (some of them are sooo expensive!) fell into my lap – with my youngest due to start full time school there seemed like no better time!

How could I make this really work for me? Spending the extra money and knowing the massive footfall expected at this event really stretched my imagination, I had to make sure I got maximum benefit from standing there, an hour’s drive away. I pondered different ideas, with enough experience by now to know what could work and what wouldn’t.

Sample packs have always been popular on the website so I developed this idea– putting together freebie packs in 14 different colours for very small cost to myself – with enough in them to show the quality of the goodies we sell, the variety of the products and also to really show off the gorgeous colours / finishes of card stock according to the brides choice. I also made up samples of the cards that could be put together using just the items in the kits! By having it in their colour scheme they could really start to visualise what their invitations might look like and they would see just how easy it could be, and they would also know where to buy the items!

wedding fair goody bag

I wanted to give a little more motivation just in case this didn’t work, so provided keyrings (so they wouldn’t get lost) in each kit with a discount code for using once they had worked out what they needed to buy, and the chance to win a £10 voucher too!

All I asked in return was that they sign up to our mailing list which would also inform them of special offers discount weekends etc.

I took reinforcements in the form of my mum and a good friend who had also worked the wedding fayre circuit, it was very exciting.

We were completely overwhelmed with the response on the day. ‘Such a great idea’, ‘That’s brilliant, just what I needed’ and many other lovely comments. So many who would have passed by only to be offered this great free pack they had not even thought of making their own, but now…

We came home with well over 200 leads (names to follow up, queries and interest) it was absolutely astounding. I also returned home to some lovely emails saying what a fantastic idea it was and they had already made a card with their goody bag.

wedding fair stand

So well received that we now offer them at all wedding fayres as it really seems to engage people who might otherwise pass us by. And we all know, everyone loves a freebie!!!

And it definitely leaves a lasting impression.

You can visit the Fuchsia Fairy website at www.fuchsiafairy.co.uk

and follow Jacqueline on Twitter

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