Sunday, 11 July 2010

Part 2 - Preparation for the Country Living Show next Spring

 pile of presents   

First I need to book accomodation. I do know people in London but I think it would be a bit much to ask of them to put me up for a week. Besides - I have a feeling I will just need to go to bed early every night or try and do a spot of yoga (haha) in my hotel room to unwind. Have just booked to stay at Earl's Court Easy hotel - it cost £295 - yikes. But for 7 nights in London that's not bad. Of course I will have to pay for my food... me thinks I may lose weight that week. If anyone fancies putting me up do let me know - I will only lose a fraction of that money by cancelling!
 
After speaking to Penny Lindop a couple of weeks ago I now know that you are allowed 2 days to set up before the fair opens. Some people take 1 day - clearly very experienced exhibitors but someone like me will need more time. Especially as you are allowed to decorate your stand - by that I don't mean simply hanging things up, you are allowed to paint on the boards.

With Moobaacluck being a handpainted business (primarily for the moment) I would be mad not to take advantage of   this.. possibly mad to do so some might say. The only snag is  that you have to paint it all back to the neutral greyish white  afterwards. I think it would be a good idea to visit the Christmas fair with some swatches in my paws to make sure I get a good enough idea of the colour  paint I need to buy to do that.

Apply here for a stand yourself

Another thing Penny told me to be aware of is that there is little time to unload. Book a slot when the big book of instructions appears in the post 2 months before the show and accept that it may not go smoothly! If people booked earlier than you haven't finished you will be asked to move off  or park up and come back; not easy in Islington. Must say I am not looking forward to that bit. And you should only allow 30 -60 mins to unload, deposit everything and return to your car before moving off and trying to find somewhere to park.

Penny suggested that I book some of the lighting offered (for which you pay extra) as I haven't got my own. This way I can be sure of the most appropriate lighting and that it will work... 

A curious thing that you wouldn't know unless you had exhibited there before is that the WiRE area has a weak mobile signal; something to do metal surrounding walls.. this means that when it comes to
automated payments one is better off using a telephone line. Never having accepted cards before I was anxious about how to go about this. If you join the Federation of Small Businesses apparently among the benefits are the discounted rental of Streamline machines. You have to rent a line from Country Living - again bookable a couple of months before the show; at about £30 for the duration.

Think carefully too about how you will store stock, plan your display  as much as possible before hand; you bring everything: table, any shelving, drill, tape, posters, framed pictures, display racks.. Plan, plan, plan. Apparently there is a limited amount of storage space if you can find out about it so that you don't have to have ALL your stock on your stand. However you wouldn't have access to this when the show is open to the public.

I was offerred a stand for the Christmas event last week and decided knowing what I do now that I would be better off visiting the show then instead!

If you know differently or have anything to add to this post please comment. I will amend and add wherever necessary :)

11 comments:

  1. Soo much to think about but very exciting all the same ! Hope its a great success for you. I would love to do a show but outlay always puts me off.

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  2. Thanks Karen- it is exciting ! But I think the fact that I am at heart an optimist means that although i am very short of money I feel that as long as I break even with a little bit of profit then it will have been worth doing. We will see :)It will be hard not seeing the children for a week.

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  3. If you would like any loan props to take with you from the store just let me know. Jo x

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  4. The manual will list available car parks with relevant phone numbers.
    Read the manual carefully - lots of forms to fill in, but quite straight forward really.
    Stay calm, enjoy and be prepared to be exhausted but on a high!!
    There's an exhibitors' drinks at the end of one of the days - there are usually a few of us from Norfolk/Suffolk and we tend to go eat afterwards. And these guys are just so helpful. You'll have a ball!
    xx

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  5. When I took over Dairy House Antiques I joined the Federation of Small Businesses. No end of perks, not least preferential charges for Streamline machine (although mine is static and I don't know about 'mobile' ones). Another benefit of belonging to the FSB is free banking with the Coop Bank which makes such a difference with paying in/out I have to do.

    Can't comment on the pros and cons of exhibiting at the Country Living Fair although one of my customers exhibits regularly.

    Good luck!
    Sue

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  6. wow congratulations! I really admire you, lots of hard work but you will be so proud and have so much fun. Good luck and make lots of stock!
    Heather
    The Patchwork Heart ♥

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  7. Thank s for all the support Sue and Heather (and the tips from Penny of course); and thanks so much Jo for the prop offer!! Hope to see you over the summer and check out your new stock too :)

    x Gabs

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  8. Wow how exciting, Country Living Spring Fair!

    Just discovered your blog, not sure how I missed it!

    Take care
    Zoe

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  9. Hello. I know nothing - just wondered though, could you not paint on to fabric and then attach it to the boards and take it home when you're finished? Not sure if the logistic or quality would work. Just a question.
    P x

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  10. Hi Zoe - glad you found me!
    Love that idea P x may do panels or may even just paint a few spots around everything else I put up.. lots of thinking to do!

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  11. Gabs - if you get a credit card thing on your phone line at home you get a handheld manual machine for credit cards in case it breaks down - you know the old ones with the bits of triplicate paper in them?
    I have always taken that to the CL Fair in Scotland. Works fine and you don't have to worry about signals failing halfway through a transaction.
    If there is a good signal then you can also take payments on a phone or laptop via paypal.
    Otherwise it can end up costing a lot.
    J x

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