Sunday, 17 April 2011

The British Craft Trade Fair

Wow! Has to be my first word. I really didn't know what to expect from this event. It was my first time and the thought of exhibiting at a trade event kind of scared me. Even the week before the event I kept telling myself that maybe I was out of my depth.

It all began with the Design Factory get together last year. Margaret Bunn came and talked to the group about BCTF. She is a very inspiring lady. I think because she spoke about her routes and how she had developed her business from being on the markets that it made me want to have a go. However, it was a few months later before I actually submitted my work and finally took the plunge.

Margaret rang me the day after I had submitted, giving me more encouragement and asking me whether I wanted to be in the Newcomers section or in the main arena. Initially, I was going to book in the Newcomers section,but there was only one space and I knew Samantha Robinson, a friend of mine also wanted a space in this area. Margaret came to the rescue and suggested that we shared a stand and the rest is history.

Margaret was so helpful throughout the process, whatever question you pitted her she always came back with a reply, even if some of the FAQ could be found in the exhibitors guide.

In the build up to the event, I had begun to use Twitter, and I found that not only did I enjoy it but there were a lot of other people using it going to BCTF. So, I started a convoy, trying to encourage people to connect. It worked far better than I imagined. A ll through the show I was meeting people on other stands who had seen my tweets. I had been told that BCTF was a friendly show, but this was amazing. Everyone was so helpful. One lady I met, Karen aka Mrs Blueberry made an excellent suggestion, that next year all the twitters wear or show a little bird either on their badge or somewhere on their stand.

Would I do BCTF again? Yes, most definitely. I have to say I was a bit taken aback at the response to my work. I took orders, I took requests for exhibitions, I talked to students, visitors and buyers with the same amount of respect. I went through plenty of business cards and post cards. The only negative that I could find is eating, there never seemed enough time.


Rachel Lucie Johns said...

glad you had a great fair - was my first time too. I went past your stall on one of my many quick skits round (with someone watching my stall) but think you were busy. Adding not having time to really look at all the other lovely artists to my list :)

Textile Queenie said...

so dissapointed I couldn't get there, certainly will next year sounds like a great experience and you've persuaded me to rethink using Twitter!

Linda said...

Hey congrats on your success.. I just love trade fairs.. the people.. the stalls.. makes me all excited..