Country Living and BCTF

As you all know I've now done both of these shows and while I don't regret having done them at all I can honestly say that the best thing about doing them was the people I met, fellow exhibitors and of course customers when they were there!

This is my stand at Country Living both before ...

and after...
It took me two days to get it to look like this and I was very relieved that you no longer have to paint your stand back to white (if you chose to paint it). I certainly wouldn't have attempted dark purple if that were the case or I'd still be there trying to make it white!

I used chalk to write on the walls inspired by a deep red Poppy Treffry stand I'd seen at the Christmas Country Living Fair. Many comments on that - and it was so useful when I needed to change things around when they sold.

My BCTF stand  is below. I took about 4 hours putting this together; I needed blue tack, velcro hook and fluff ( not a clue what you call the fluffy side) - the point is for this show the boards are totally smooth and you can't use any screws or nails. Butcher's hooks are essential too if you want to do any hanging of your own pictures or shelf construction. Much of my display fell down over night and during the show but other stand holders were great offering help and more hooks!

Old hands created some incredible staging. Worth a visit to fathom how they do it! Unfortunately I was rather sad during the show as my 10 month old rabbit died after a cat attack on my journey up there. I held it together most of the time and meeting Leigh Shepherd and all the other tweeters I did was fantastic; but I just wanted to get home really! This decoration was inspired by him - he was gorgeous - grey not white. He was also called "Lucy Sparkles" ( the children wanted girls) but i've done so many rabbit decorations since having rabbits that I realise now why...

Hence I didn't feel like photographing other stands although I did have a good look.  I would definitely advise a visit first to see if your product fits in before you decide to commit to doing the show. There are many many jewellers and its a great show for you if you are, ceramicists and painter/printmakers. In fact I may come back there as my artist self:)!

I had a christmas wall too and wonder if my stand was just a little too much to take in :)

For Moobaacluck I will have to reserve judgement as to whether it is the show for me. I took an order and had several requests for my price list but the vast majority of buyers are from galleries - only a handful are from gift shops and visitor numbers were 50% down apparently. The recession is responsible for more cautious ordering but some had a great show so there is no real telling! I made far too many order forms, totally complicated. All you need is a duplicate copy book for orders if people make them at the show - and lots of price lists. Well I have plenty of rough paper to doodle on now!

Both shows were very down on visitor numbers. Ask me in a few months if I'm doing either again :)

If you were there and we met - thank you for the chats :)


  1. Great blog Gabby. I wish I had known about the butchers hooks too!

  2. Good on you for taking the big step to do both shows in the first place - I'm sure it was a huge learning curve but you never know what will come out of these things further down the line, and I'm sure it's raised your profile no end! Your stands looked great, but I bet you are glad to be home - hope you manage to have a little time off soon:) Jenny xx

  3. your stands looked amazing and as you said - it is all about marketing :)

  4. Your stands look wonderful - really colourful and eye catching.
    How awful to loose your little bunny at such a young age. We lost ours to old age in February, she was 8. As I cant live without a rabbit, we went to the RSPCA and bought Reggie - see my blog for photos. If you are thinking of getting another one, I urge you to visit a rescue centre, although if you are like me, you will want to take them all home.
    Hope the orders start coming in from your two shows - I love your stuff.
    Best wishes Amanda....x

  5. Wow gabs not one but 2 shows !! I love your beautiful gifts & personalised too, your stand looks so eye catching !! with all the colours, pretty ribbons, fantastic idea with the chalk board and really looks effective, especially like the fact you can rub it out, Id be really scared to do a show dont know if anyone would buy my thing

    One things for sure - Id buy all yours xxxx

    Love Shellybobbins xxx

  6. Your stands looked amazing and well done you for taking that leap of faith to exhibiting at two major shows in under two weeks. Your designs are fantastic and I am sure you will receive many orders from these shows as the year continues.

    I am very disappointed that I didn't get to come & see you at Country Living but sadly Kitty was poorly and four year olds want only Mummy when they're not well :(

    Wish you lots of success for 2011 and beyond and so sorry to hear baout your bunny.

    Take care

  7. Hi Gabby,

    Very interesting blog regarding the Craft fairs - Old Friendship Crafts looked into doing the Country Living Fair but to be honest it was way too expensive for us and you only seemed to get about two square feet of space. Great for your stuff but ours is considerably bigger.

    I have registered for the British Craft Fair so would be interested to see if anything comes out of it in the coming months. I shall be watching the blog with interest.

    Best regards,

  8. Phew! Well done, and thanks for the hugs at CL. See you soon maybe and enjoy your break.

  9. Well done Gabby,hopefully it has lifted your profile for the future, i am just starting out and have been wondering how it all worked, so i think you are so brave and an inspiration! will be following you closely and wishing you all the luck in the world, living just down the road, it is lovely to see you progressing and moving on so quickly. I am so,so sorry about your rabbit, it is awful, i lost my Bunny last November following an incident with a dog and it is so upsetting they are such beautiful creatures, but i received a new baby bunny for mothers day and she is so cute xx good luck and all the best, keep doing what you believe in and you will grow, your items are glorious xxxx

  10. I think you should join us at Harrogate in July - 100's of independents visit the show - maybe more your target audience - you know I'm a huge fan - wish I had a shop so I could sell your stuff in it - maybe one day!

    Think your stand looked fab - haven't forgotten to email over your photo's just need to give Jeff a gentle nudge!

  11. Thrilled by all your comments - thanks so much.Becky I'll give it serious thought and I think honestly - if - and its a big if _ I want a big business Harrogate in July is a far better bet.
    I'm not going to make any decisions for a few months just evaluate it all. The children are growing up so fast I need some balance in my life! Just a rest really :)) Right - back to work X


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