Happy Easter everyone!!
I know the timing isn't quite so right, please forgive. I had a really busy start to April with preparations for Harrogate, BCTF which went well. I met so many lovely fellow Crafters and had a greaat time networking. It was a fullfilling and rewarding week which has given me so much inspiration and ideas on how to expand and progress with my venture.
I think the planning and overwhole presence of being at my first Trade Show, BCTF knocked my energy as from the day of being at Harrogate the dreaded lurgi hit me. I am so glad of the help from Pam as her company helped for me to overcome some of my illness.
We were really fortunate to have a good journey to Harrogate. A five hour drive (with a few hiccups enroute). From the 5am start, we safely arrived at our chosen time of 10.30am to meet the hustle and bustle of other crafters who were also setting up that day.
A bright, cold day greated us as we emerged from the car. The Security Staff greeted us and helped us to find our pitch as all around us people scurried back and fore carrying props, merchandises and a smile for a positive time ahead.
Our car was ladened with all our materials and we eagerly set up the stall, fixing lighting, shelving and then self satisfying the products to showcase for the next three days. Our fellow neighbour helped us solve the problem with the light fitting as our ties would not hold ..so good old fasioned crook hooks were placed discreetly onto the back drop.
The planning of five months treated us well and we were delighted upon completing the task by 2.30pm to slip away from all the manic and mayhem. A fifteen minute drive into Harrogate took us to our long and waited pleaseant B&B Genini, which I had booked well into last Autumn. A friendly face awaited us at our bed and breakfast and a long rewarding cup of tea.
On the first day of opening, two very nervous and excited people woke up to face the day. High expectations was expected as I had heard and seen alot last year from visiting and speaking to fellow Crafters that I hoped this journey would eventful.
We opened our stand at 9.00am, switching on all lights and checking all products carefully. A first coffee for the day was in order before people entered the Show to start the day
The day started slowely and finished slowely, which was a surprise. It was great to be able to admire others people work. What an amazing mixture of talented Crafters to behold. I would hate to be a buyer as there was so much to choose from.
Day one at BCTF ended with a few sales and follow up, which was great. Fingers crossed the larger stores will be around tomorrow for a few more sales.
Another early start greeted us on our Third day. This time our networking began at the B&B as I found out that the other residence were all attendees of the show to. It was great to speak to fellow crafters to find out how their first day at the show had materialised. Some of us were amazed how quiet the Sunday had been and for some it had been an awful day. Whilst others had received an amazing day full of rewards. One couple had been doing the BCTF for three years and could not speak highly enough about it, whilst others, like myself were newbies learning the ropes.
An 8.30 start at the venue. As we walked over in the Car Park we were welcomed by a fellow Artist; Jos Haigh. What a great start to the morning as we chatted excitedly about the first days grand opening to the show. Fingers Crossed, todays Second opening will be more successful. The BCTF offered a breakfast meeting to introduce us to the world of Trade and it was very informative indeed. The Speaker from the Giftware Association gave us some very useful advice and tips on what to expect from the days ahead; I wish I had taken a pencil and pad with me as it answered alot of my questions.
The next speaker from the Patent Office was even more useful and got most of us talking!! A great start to enhance positive energy for the show.
This BCTF Trade Show was nothing like I had imagined. I was expecting to be rushed off my feet, but instead it was a steady flow that greeted our Monday and ended our Tuesday. It was a great opportunity to browse around other crafters stalls to find out more and whether they were newbies to.
Next door to me was the wonderful illustrator Lotty who like myself was inspired by botanical beauties and edibles. She was a delight to talk to and inspire as it was both our first time. Next door and opposite was the Jeweller Elen Lea and the Ceramic Christine Cummins who were well accustomed to trade show life especially at BCTF. Opposite was the amazing Twigtwister who was also a first timer to.
Over the three days set up and networking, selling and making new friends was amazing to hear the ups and downs of the craft world and how persistence does indeed pay off in the end.
Thank you to Elen Lea Jewellery, Christine Cummins, Twigtwisters, PlumGinger Art, Parker and Arrol, Snapdragon Design,Wraptious, Jos Haigh, Lottie Murphy, Jill Ray Landscapes, Design GAP, Greeting Today and many more for your sound advice and support over the last four days..
Tuesday set down was manic and we eagerly wanted to go home after many hours standing on our feet. With the five hours ahead to drive home we were quick at setting down and packing the car with the products. With one last smile and sigh, we sat in the car tired, slightly deflated due to the footfall at the venue but with a positive, inspired sense of achievement. We had done it! We had attended and survived our First Trade Show. It didn't feel like a Trade Show as it had similarities to the fetes that I had attended last year ; but with a more sophisticated edge. ..
The BCTF offered me an amazing opportunity to advertise my work there and find new stockists. Would I do it again? I am not sure. It was an amazing experience. I missed my children and felt guilty all the time being there but I loved the feeling of finding 'me' and receiving high rewarding comments about my work. I don't think (I may be wrong and only time will tell) that the BCTF was the right trade show for myself and my work but I think if I did do another show I may bite the bullet and try another just to compare.
With one more look around and so long to fellow crafters, I placed my foot on the accelarator to head towards home to family and friends.. ready to tell my story and to start a new one ...
I am back in my studio now reaching out for new ideas and inspirations after a fortnight of the terrible lurgi ..flue is awful and even though I am nearly recovered from it I am still nostalgic trying to get back into the rhythm of work... .it has been a long time ...