Sunday, 5 July 2009

Scrapstore day out

What a busy day we had today at the Winterton Show. I picked Becky up at 8.15 and ten minutes later we were pulling into the Showground. We found the marquee and unloaded, then set about errecting the stand. I had brought our own tables to keep costs down, so all we had was a ten foot square of grass to work in. Out pitch was in the centre, it would have been better against a side or back wall, but as it was a two day event and we didn't attend yesterday, all those pitches were taken. In this situation you have to think of other ways to build height into the display.

As I have been building stands for three years in a previous business, I have a pretty good idea on how to make it eye catching to draw the visitors in. My dad once told me I should train to be a window dresser when I left school, advice I chose to ignore, but now I realise I could have excelled at it. Funny how things go round in full circle.

Anyway this is the stand we built.

It is two larger than normal, heavy, paste tables, one behind the other, with two smaller tables tagged onto the side. You have to be carefull not to encroach on your neighbours pitch, and to leave enough room to squeeze up the sides when you want to talk to a customer at the front. It's always a good idea to take more than enough equipment with you so you can build according to the space you have. I only ever buy the smallest pitch size, sometimes if you are lucky and your neighbour doesn't turn up, you are asked to fill the gap, because gaps look unsightly. So your extra table will come in handy, I like extra free space.

You usually buy space by the frontage at a craft fair in a hotel or hall, you will only be allowed six foot, so it is a tight squeeze. My tables are a tad too long for this, so I try and get there early and shuffle all the tables in the row along a few inches so I can get mine in. Cheeky I know, but it has to be done. You sometimes see people with just one six foot table, not enough space to display all their stock, they sit behind it knitting or reading. I always double up on the depth, sometimes not leaving enough room at the back for a chair so I have to spend the whole day standing. This is the sacrifice you have to make if you want to maximise your sales area.

It is important to build height into it, there is nothing more boring than a flat display with a bed sheet for a table cover. I have got two, two meter lengths of timber with three coathooks on each of them. I clamp these to the back of the table with the big metal clips they use on market stalls. The hooks are facing the front, these support three cross bars. Then I hang anything on there with plastic clips, my bags are ideal for this. I pack the stock into those collapsible plastic crates, as these are ideal for elevating the display, put three of them upside down at the back of the table and cover with a cloth.

I've just found another photo of a stand I built at a cat show in 2004, it's a good example of using height and elevation. Thanks to Vince Hogan of Our Dogs magazine for taking the photo. You can just see one of the timbers behind me, I clipped them to the back of some plastic drawers I carry stock around in, which are against the back wall. You are not allowed to put anything on the wall itself, in case of dammage. Lightweight teeshirts are also ideal to hang on this, as well as the bags. On the table I have a wooden display unit I built out of wood, and covered it in red velvet. It's like a mini staircase, ideal for putting smaller items on, here I have mugs and ornaments on it.

I digress, the day at Winterton went very well, we talked to lots of people and gave out a lot of leaflets. We are hoping a lot of them will visit the Scrapstore in the next few weeks. By 4pm the crowds were thinning out a bit, but a sudden downpour brought them all back into the marquee again, sometimes the rain is a blessing at a show, provided it doesn't last too long and send them all home.

By 5pm were were packing up, and next Sunday we are doing it all again, at Jerry Green, a local dog rescue centre open day. I have booked more space for that one because it was a cheaper price. I know a lot of people from doing these shows selling my cats, so it's great to do them again and say hello to everyone.

1 comment:

  1. I know what you mean Ilona... I met loads of people at our carnival who I used to see regularly when I did the soap stall round the craft fair circuit. Its great to catch up and see how well they are doing. I learned all my lessons on stall building the hard way... I could have done with a tutorial like this years ago!

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