Last week I travelled up to Harrogate in Yorkshire to take part in the British Craft Trade Fair 2015.
I've had stalls at a few different consumer fairs, where you're selling directly to customers. The purpose of a trade show is to see if galleries, shops or larger retailers would be interested in stocking my work. As a gallery owner myself, I had some idea of the kind of information people would be looking for but there were still a few questions I hadn't bargained for!
The BCTF website (I won't link as it's currently having a few issues!) was full of great advice for newcomers, with tips on displays, promotional material and guide documents for taking orders. The most useful advice was to create a mock-up of my stall before I travelled. I would definitely second that.
It was great to meet so many people and talk to them about my work. It was a good move to bring along my screen printed double deck chair, a few people with tired legs just couldn't resist a sit down!
Harrogate is such a beautiful town, I stayed in the Ascot House Hotel, which had beautiful tiled floors, an incredible stained glass window and some fantastic wallpaper, all good for inspiration!
There was no way I could visit Harrogate without taking a trip to the legendary Betty's Tea Room for some cake! A lot of their merchandise is illustrated by one of my favourite artists Emily Sutton, I had to use all my will power not to buy it all.
This was the first outing for our brand new catalogue, we've been working on it for a couple of months now and we're really pleased with the results.
We learned so much during the fair and now have a notebook full of great advice. A lot of people told me to shout about the fact that our products are all British-made and hand-made as people often assume that our goods are bought in cheap and made abroad!
One of the most enjoyable parts of the weekend was to meet other designer-makers and see the kinds of amazing work that's out there, I was stationed near the fantastic silversmith Juliette Bigley, who deservedly won an award for her fantastic work.
To be honest, I wasn't expecting to get many orders as I'd been told that as a newcomer, it was likely that galleries and retailers would wait to see if I'm still exhibiting next year, a lot of newcomers don't stay the course. So I was really pleased to receive a number small orders from galleries around the country.
Now I'm straight back into the studio to get my orders out to my new stockists!