Monday, 5 September 2011

Harrogate Wool Weekend

I'm back folks! I had a whale of a time in Harrogate and have so much blog fodder that there will probably be several blogs over the next week or too about my fair experience! As you know me and my mother decided to share a stall at the Harrogate Show Ground British Wool Weekend event. We packed far too much stuff into the car and set off early Friday morning to get to the fair and set up!

We took our time getting there as Mum had just been to enrole for her degree course starting soon and was a little bit shell shocked from it all (she'll be studying fine art at Scarborough College) and got there after lunchtime and set up. The stall looked fab and we were very happy with our display, it was lovely and bright and jolly and we thought it stood out in the dingy hall! We tucked everything away for the night and headed off to stay at my Grandad's house for the night.
The next morning we were filled with enthusiasm after some early sales and lots of squeeeeees and positive comments but after the initial rush things died down and we started to wonder where all the people were! We got our needles out and started demonstrating and lots of people asked us where they could buy the needles and equipment to do it themselves! Looking around we realised that it was more a supplies fair then a gifty kind of fair... had we made kits to sell we would have sold loads!

By mid afternoon the fair was so quiet that it was mostly just stall holders wondering around and chatting so we got a coffee and discussed tactics for Sunday, we decided that we had to make every customer count, everyone who looked at our stall needed to leave with a postcard with a discount code on it or at least with a business card tucked in their pocket and a good experience to make them remember us! We practised on the few customers who were left for the rest of the day... one of us demonstrating while the other chatted away. (here's where all those years of dead end retail jobs came in handy!)
Sunday was better and a bit busier... people seemed to be staying much longer and walking around several times, we had one lovely lady and her daughter come back 3 times and eventually buy one of my mum's pictures. We gave out at least 100 cards and leaflets and kept up our chatting with customers all day... we talked to some lovely people who really wanted to buy things but couldn't think of a good enough reason and made sure they took our cards and knew about our online shops and had discount codes tucked in their pockets!

Financially the fair wasn't so great for us in the end but we made some good contacts in some of the other stall holders and had a lot of mother daughter quality time together which was nice! I'm not sure I would do it again but I might try other venues in the future... I think it was just the wrong venue for us. I'm looking forward to seeing if there is any comeback from all the leaflets we gave out too... we hope people will remember us when they start buying their Christmas presents! 
We both learned alot this weekend and now know what we will do if we get an opportunity to do a fair again... a good time was had by all!


Anonymous said...

The stand looks absolutely amazing!!! Fantastic set-up. I think Sept is tough for peeps financially because they've just spent a fortune having the kids off for Summer, and then new uniforms etc for them going back to school... I really think you will see the benefits of contacts made and cards distributed when it gets to Christmas shopping time... x

Pili said...

The stand looked amazing! I would have gone crazy for it! I just hope people will come back for Christmas shopping time!

At least now you have some good stock for the online shops for sure!

Heather Leavers said...

Your stall looks great, I love the nests and birdcages, really effective. I'm glad you were able to turn the situation around and use the contacts. Here's hoping it pays off soon.

Lizzie said...

Wow, well done you, for turning things round and making sure you got the best out of it that you could!
Glad you made some sales - it would've been nice to hear you'd sold almost everything, but still... It must have been good experience for next time and I am just so impressed by how you sorted out cards with discount codes and spent all day talking to people.

Your stall was gorgeous! I hope you get lots of people buying for Christmas presents in November/December!

Sara's Texture Crafts said...

I love the stall... really nice layout and great product!

I'm sure those cards given out will mean follow-on sales, especially with Christmas coming.

Sara x

JewelsK said...

Your stand looked fantastic - really interesting and full of colourful gorgeousness! Sympathies from me - I've been in that situation but the other way round - turned up ready to sell my supplies at fairs where people were expecting to buy finished goods! Sounds as though you and your Mum enjoyed yourselves anyway, and got some positive things from it - onwards and upwards! :)
All the best, Julie

Dotty said...

The stand looks fabulous- professional, inviting and fun. I bet you will get sales as a result of handing out cards, especially as having seen your work, they will remember it:)