It’s the time of year where your mind is going to be turning towards the Christmas fair (or is it fayre?) Love them or hate them, these all-singing, all-dancing events are becoming a staple of the festive calendar in most schools.
Some teachers are lucky enough to have them during the school day, while others are dedicated enough to give up part of their weekend to make them happen. But how can you all make sure that the fair goes as smoothly as possible? How can you make sure it’s as festive an experience as you can possibly make it? And how, indeed, can you maximise profits?
Here are my six tips:
It might seem like I’m teaching a granny to suck eggs but budgets are important and working out the ratio between purchase and profit should be calculated far ahead of investing in the product. An example is my own, fast-approaching school fair. We are selling cans of juice (a rare treat!) and buying in some supermarkets only gives a profit of £1 a pack, where a bit of shopping around has found us profit of £3 a pack –that’s a big difference over many packs bought.
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2. 'Christmas up’ the stall
Only make specific Christmas versions of your products to sell if you’re certain there is a market for them. It may be wiser to set the Christmas scene with your stall display, not your actual products. If you have a slow day you still have stock made up for other times of the year (spring sales or summer fetes). Most people want to buy products that represent good value for money and can be used all year round.
3. Pick a theme
Consider the overall look of any decorations you add. Pick a theme first – be it natural, red, sparkly or snowy, this will help you focus and simplify your display ideas. A display should ultimately enhance your products not detract from them. I’ve also found that child-led design can not only be cute in primary schools, but also attractive and stylish in a secondary setting.
4. Go natural
Your garden or local park may be full of beautiful pine cones, holly, mistletoe, twigs or fallen bare branches that can be sprayed or glittered – or just leave them natural. This is a great way of adding a little festive detail and very cost effective. It’s also a great way to include an eco-group or a bit of nature-based homework. Something like a scavenger hunt in a park would get whole families involved, as well as saving you a lot of time!
Do you need extra sockets or an extension lead? I see it at every fair – the last-minute scramble for power. Plan ahead and buy a few more extension leads or power cables for the school to use.
Parents often don’t want to see stall holders handing out sweets or biscuits and may avoid your stall as a result. Try to think of an inexpensive, less sugary alternative. Stickers are usually a big hit with kids under 12 and can be printed at home very easily. A freebie might bring them to your stall and result in a sale or two.
Lastly and most importantly, have fun. I hope some of these tips will be of benefit to you this festive season – they’ve certainly helped me with my planning for the fair. Now I’m off to make more sweetie cones…