Part 2 - Preparation for the Country Living Show next Spring
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 :)