Colchester Highland Games & Gathering 2018

Highland Games & Gathering  

on September 8th & 9th 2018 at the NSPEC Complex, Ryland Avenue in Bible Hill.

This show will be attended by thousands of participants and spectators.

Heavyweights, dancers, pipers, drummers, re-enactments, live music stage, big named bands, kids competitions, adult races, bike tournament, Tug 'O' War, crafts, clans, golf tournament & much more...

If you would like to have a craft stall please email Elva - Craft Co-ordinator HERE or you would like to participate as a competitor or volunteer, you will find all the information  you require here or email

Linda - event Co-ordinator HERE


Attending a Craft Show

If you have, or wish to have, a home craft business, sooner or later you will want to do a craft show. 

How Far in Advance Do You Apply?

It depends on the show. Some shows are so popular that you need to apply literally years in advance and get on a waiting list. Others are so relaxed that you can call the craft coordinator a week ahead and get it, though this tells you something about the show’s quality and money-making potential.

The only advice is to contact the show producers and ask. Most juried shows have application deadlines a few months in advance so that they can jury the applicants. Have a selection of photos handy so that you can apply with ease. Always make copies of any applications or other paperwork, including cheques, to keep for your records. Always bring acceptance letters and copies of receipts for payment with you to the show. Sometimes, paperwork glitches occur, and you may need to prove you were accepted and have paid for your booth space.

 Follow the Rules.

Whatever the rules of a craft show may be, it is your duty and responsibility to follow them. The rules should be clearly laid out in the paperwork.

The Organisers & venue's themselves often must follow rules and regulations; laws that you also must obey. If you don’t comply, the craft coordinator must shut you down or risk shutting down the entire venue. These laws include fire safety codes, health department codes, public safety, and more often than not, rules regarding the actual product you are selling. Be sensible and comply.

Other rules to follow: Be on time. Sell only what is themed. Don’t set up late or tear down early. Get your vehicle off the show site as soon as possible.

Make sure you understand that the published opening time of the event is not when you show up, ready to construct your booth. The opening time means you are ready to open for business: your vehicle is parked off-site, your transport boxes are put away, your stock is displayed neatly and professionally, you are dressed appropriately, and you have a big smile on your face for business.  Nothing sells better than a friendly smile.


 How do you bring customers into your booth?

Firstly smile. Make sure your booth is inviting and professional looking (nothing worse than something that looks like a flea market smash and grab). 

Selling takes a certain psychology.. When customers are browsing, the last thing they want is to feel pressured. Don’t act like the stereotypical used car salesman, talking constantly and trying to force a sale.

Offer a browser a friendly, but neutral, greeting “Good morning!”. You’ve acknowledged the customer’s presence without making any additional demands.

Be available to answer specific questions about your product, but answer in such a way that does not imply that you now expect them to buy something. A little humor sprinkled in makes the customer feel more comfortable. But don’t talk too much; customers generally want to be left alone to make up their minds. And above all don't appear desperate. RELAX.

Don't offer too many options!  I have often seen customers walk away when offered too many choices - they can't decide so they buy none!  Illogical I know!

And, of course, most people will walk into a booth, and then walk out again. Most won’t buy anything – at least, not yet. It’s up to you to make their brief browsing experience so pleasant and unpressured that they’ll feel free to come back later and buy.

 Booth Layout

 Booth layout is as individual as the product being sold, but, in every case, the key ingredient is visibility. It may seem obvious, but if the customer doesn’t see the product, and see it quickly, then it doesn’t exist. 

Consider the power of a vertical display. Items that are displayed where the eye can sweep over them at a glance – and see the entire selection – are far more likely to result in higher sales.

Keep your shelves full. It’s a strange element of show psychology, but customers who see half-empty shelves are not impressed by how well your product has been selling. Instead, they will glance at your nearly vacant display, and walk on. It doesn’t matter how many pieces you still have on display. Half-empty shelves equal “no selection” in the eyes of a potential customer.  At the same time though, do not have so much stuff crammed in that it is difficult to see an individual item.

So, if you sell one piece, replace it with another piece. If you run out of replacement stock, then either reduce the number of shelving or display units you have available, or have something on hand to act as “fillers” for empty displays (silk flowers, driftwood, roadkill; anything is better than nothing).

General Tips 

Bring a friend. Always try to work a booth with another person. Think bathroom breaks, multiple customers, different sales techniques...

Do a dress rehearsal. If you are going to an event with your own booth, make sure you have assembled it at least once, in advance, at home, preferably blindfolded and standing on one leg in a rainstorm in the dead of night to reproduce all the difficulties you’ll no doubt encounter at one time or another. It’s called a dress rehearsal, and theater or dance companies do them for good reason.

Sometimes you’ll get a person in your booth who looks and looks and looks, and then leaves without buying anything. This person is valuable to you. To a passing browser, this is a decoy.  They can look without feeling like they have to buy.  It also sparks interest (What are They looking at?)

Know in advance what the show producers will provide. Some shows supply booth, tables, skirting, and signage (these are usually the more expensive shows). Others provide nothing but a square of grass. Be clear in advance what you’ll need to bring so you won’t be caught with your pants (metaphorically) down.

Never, ever leave a vacant chair available in your booth. A vacant chair means you’re a captive audience to anyone who wants to sit down and relate Great Aunt Martha’s gall bladder surgery. 

Love the Life 

Selling at craft fairs should be – and often is – fun. You’ll meet new people, see new places, and hopefully make some money. And even if you don't make any money, you'll have put your product out there, hopefully given out some business cards and got noticed... for next time.

Despite the best preparation, you never know how much – or if – you’ll make enough money to make it worthwhile. It’s important to understand that a show could be a break even scenario. But remember, you'll have put your product out there, given out some business cards and hopefully seen if your product sells or maybe gained some tips on what to change so that next time you'll go home happy.