I should have sold indigestion tablets for 50p a pop - I could have made my pitch fee back in no time! People were either sitting on the very grubby floor (what a great look that gives to a show!) or walking around whilst shovelling food into their mouths as quickly as possible from plastic trays. I saw people starting to look very uncomfortable indeed. Oh and when you have finished - there were no bins for your empty containers, plastic forks and general rubbish.
A walk through the whole show just after opening revealed a good 20 or so empty stalls where the traders hadn't turned up yet the stalls were left with the large name tag on the wall added to help you locate your space during set up. Even the stupiest of stupid people would know that this space should have someone on it. I am guessing these people were being allowed to pay on arrival - a real no-no for all but the simplest of events. Perhaps someone should have at least taken the name signs down and encouraged the surrounding stallholders to spread into the spaces (after all, we all like extra space to display on) or slung a couple of colourful posters up there. Stallholders from hall 2 moved into some of the spaces leaving even more gaps around our already very sparse area.
Now, remember that space I mentioned earlier where I would have placed the food/seating area? It was used for.... nothing! It meant that an empty space of at least 25-30 metres deep and full width of the hall was all visitors had to look forward to after our stall. Still, there we were - located at the back in 'no mans land' which had been advertised on the floor plan as the 'Craft Section' even though in reality all the craft stalls were intermixed with everything from furniture to paintballing, pole dancing - yes you did read that right - and loft ladders!
But hey, if the people came flocking in in their thousands ready to spend the day to get great advice and buy some fun, practical and unique items, our stall location and the poor layout would have quickly be forgotten and (maybe) forgiven...
Day one was bad (an understatement) but somehow we actually managed to sell some items - infact we sold to four, yes FOUR whole customers. I nearly kissed the last one who at 4.31 (half an hour before the
Day two started off with us arriving to find ourself now almost completely alone in the back half of the hall - everyone had moved or left in frustration - except for us, the Scampi food van and Simon with his large bamboo gazebo. Was it something we said?? Basically, you would walk in through the food section, past at least four now empty spaces to the beautiful garden/conservatory furniture. Some 30 or so metres later (after nothing but empty grey walls were stands once stood) was our stall and the gazebo - two little Billy no Mates at the back!! I would post a photo but don't want the miserable sight that greeted us to be out there in the ether where I might see it again!!
|Different layout but same set up...|
However, a plea from the lovely Debbie at the Demelza charity stall to please, please, please move to the large empty stall next to her was made possible by her recruiting the help of three or four other lovely exhibitors who were literally picking up fully loaded tables and carrying them through from one hall to the other (which was some distance I can tell you!). It took some time to get set up again and we were knackered at the end of it but at least there was a bit of atmosphere there.
Was it worth it?? Well, by 3pm we still hadn't broken into double figures of sales!! A couple of customers just after made the day more reasonable and we did actually finish on a slightly better figure than the day before but still didn't make back the pitch money. Well, you win some, you lose some but it did validate staying for the second day as I have three or four people who I am now contacting to discuss bespoke designs and once this is sorted out, I am sure they are strong possibilities for further sales which may just rescue the losses. I also met some wonderful people both in front of and behind their stalls and have some more shows which hopefully I can attend that they are organising themselves.
I could go on and on and on about what could and should have been done differently but it won't get any of us anywhere so I think you have suffered enough!!
You will see that I haven't mentioned names of the organisers or the show here. This isn't an error - I have done this deliberately. Followers of my blog will probably already know what show it was from previous posts but I am not going to give the organisers a namecheck on my blog. I do other events with them in where the footfall is more guaranteed because of the type and location so I don't have a gripe with them (or their staff) per se. But, I know I won't be attending one of their 'stand alone' events again any time soon - I think this opinion will be shared with all the people who paid money to take a stall this weekend. That is a lot of lost revenue and they will lose much more than any single stallholder has so I suppose that is small comfort to all us small businesses struggling to get by in hard times.
Still, you never know until you try and if it had been a well organised and well attended event, I would have been raving about it and the organisers here. I have been to shows before where I have made a loss or very little profit and I am sure there are more to come in the future years but this one was different as it would have been so easy to have made it great had things been done properly from the start.
But this is another week so lets all just take a deep breath and relax...
|Noah's Ark - saviour for the animals |
and for me this weekend!
Regular visitors may not be surprised that the most popular item this weekend was, as suspected, the Noah's Ark. Perfect for nurseries and children's rooms as well as for those who are simply young at heart, it is colourful and fun (with a bit of sparkle thrown in for good measure!)
Of course, this and all my designs are available on my website at http://www.studiocrafts.net/ so if you fancy helping out a struggling crafter, please head over to my online shop.
There, I've had my rant and stopped being negative and all 'woe is me' now - I am a positive person and believe that everything happens for a reason (although what that is can be a little confusing at the time!)
So thank you to all the lovely crafters and stallholders who made this weekend fun instead of completely negative. I think that sometimes we all need to find ways of making the best of a bad job and who knows, my future best customer ever could have found me at this event!
Hope you have all had a great weekend - I'm off now to make lots of nice goodies and get started on two orders taken at the show. At least I won't be tearing my hair out trying to restock for the busier shows which are hopefully on the horizon.... (see, you should look for the silver lining - its always in there somewhere...)
Oh, and for those of you who have actually made it to the end of this long diatribe...
Give yourself a round of applause - you deserve a medal!!