Top Tips for Tip-Top Fair Traders

June 10, 2015

There are thousands of wonderful Traidcraft volunteers around the country who promote our fair trade products in their churches, schools, workplaces and the wider community.  We call these amazing people Fair Traders. 

We recently received an email from one Fair Trader – Carol in North Wales - offering some great advice about how to run a fantastic fair trade stall.

So we’ve added our ideas into the mix and come up with these 5 simple tips to help you succeed…


1. Make a good first impression

First appearances make a big difference. The way you display products will affect how well they sell. Form a framework for your display by using a neutral or single-coloured table covering or backdrop.  A Traidcraft banner across the front of your stall and a poster mounted behind the display creates some depth and promotes the fair trade message.

Catch people’s attention by creating some height - use large products, stack up suitable ones, or make use of cubes or covered boxes. Bright food packaging also help draw the eye.

Leaflets provide handy information but keep them tidy in a dispenser. Check out the Traidcraft online shop for additional free display materials.


2. Don’t go it alone

Try to recruit a team of people to help you.  Perhaps different people could do the ordering, or the selling, or take delivery at their home.  Traidcraft can also help you.  If you don’t already have a Fair Trader Account, it’s time to get one! Just call us on 0191 497 3999 and we’ll set you up – you’ll get discounts off almost everything, and you can operate on a buy-now-pay-later basis, plus we’ll help you out with delivery costs and promotional materials. 


3. Stick to sell by dates

All our food products carry at least 3 months shelf-life, unless they are on special offer or a bakery item.  

Carol says “Reduce before the sell by date and move older stock. I have just reduced the Toor Dhal, which we like at home but was not selling. I only had one more booking for a talk to take my stall.  I reduced it drastically, to 50p, and sold three in ten minutes.  The amount I make on other products will cover the loss, and three people now know about dhal sold through Traidcraft!”


4. Know your FAQs

Arm yourself with these quick one-line responses to the regular things people say, like:

Statement: ‘We can get all our fair trade shopping from the supermarket nowadays.’

Response: ‘Supermarkets stock a very limited and unreliable range of fair trade products, and only buy from large producers that are well established enough to cope with the volumes required. Traidcraft needs your support because they work with smaller producers to help them become fair trade certified.’

Statement: ‘I don’t like the taste of fair trade products.’ 

Response: ‘There are now over 4,500 licensed high quality Fairtrade products available on the market, you just haven’t tried the right one yet!’

Statement: ‘There’s no guarantee that the producer gets the money?’ ‘

Response:  ‘Yes, there is, that’s what the Fairtrade Mark guarantees, and it’s inspected by an independent  organisation that follows the international ISO standard for certification bodies.


5. Use chocolate as a bribe

Giving away a little taster can really generate interest and boost your sales.

Carol says “When I do talks and take my stall, I often mention that I remember fairly traded coffee some 30 plus years ago, when people at church drank it, but thought it was awful. ‘At least we are helping someone' we thought.   Then I say that things have changed, and ask which bar of chocolate they would like to try.  A bar is then broken up and sent round … A giveaway does not cost much and is more than paid for by the items people then purchase.“


So there you have it – 5 tips to help you run a successful fair trade stall.

If you’re a Fair Trader and you have some of your own advice you’d like to share please do email us - or pop something on Facebook or Twitter – we love to hear from you!