Monday, 18 April 2016

The British Craft Trade Fair 2016

We did it! It's been a stressful, busy and exhausting few months but our first trade fair is complete! Hooray!

What a learning experience it's been.

We arrived on the Saturday morning in beautiful sunshine to set up at The Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate and straight away saw some friendly and familiar faces including Jo Dewar, Katie Pruden and Paula of The Arter. There was a great atmosphere in the exhibition hall, with everyone helping each other out when they realised they were missing something or needed help with their display. 


We were really pleased with how the stand looked for our first one and have come away with lots of ambitious ideas for the next one!

I was so nervous on the first official day of the show but soon relaxed into it. Being at a trade show is so different to showing your work at a retail event as buyers have a very clear idea of what they are looking for so tend to do a quick sweep of the hall rather than stop and look at all of the stands. With hundreds of talented makers on show I don't blame them though! Every time I walked to the cafe I spotted a new maker I hadn't seen before. It was great to chat to lots of galleries and shop owners interested in stocking my work and I have lots of following up to do over the next few weeks.

We had some fantastic neighbours in the Newcomers' Gallery.

The lovely Ben from The Owlery is a product based printmaker and artist who works with lino and screen print media to create textiles, ceramics and printed products. My favourites are his badger cushions.

Helen The Perky Painter was great fun and definitely lives up to her name! She produces quirky colourful paintings and digital illustrations and is also inspired by British wildlife and the countryside. I love her fruit/animal puns- Sam and I were chuckling about 'Pandapple' long after the show.

Flo Candles are natural soy candles with pure essential oils and no added chemicals. They smell incredible and we really enjoyed chatting to Emma about their philosophy of keeping the quality of their materials as high as possible. My favourite scents were 'Uplifting' and 'Embrace'.

The super talented Meghan of Meghan Downs Ceramics was the well-deserving winner of the Best Newcomer Award. It was great to see the look of pure surprise on her face as the award was announced! Keep an eye out for her in future issues of Craft & Design Magazine.

Unfortunately I don't have a photo of Stacey's stand but you should also check out Stacey Moore Art. She creates gorgeous coloured pencil wildlife drawings and we came away having ordered one of her beautiful stag cushions.

I'd been in touch via Twitter with Scarlett Willow Designs before the show so it was great to meet her in person and see her stunning jewellery. She's also from Worcestershire so it was good to see another person from the Shire whilst up north!

Check out my Facebook page to see more photos from the show.

By the end of the show my head was buzzing with ideas and my notebook full of business cards and email addresses from interested buyers. Thank you so much to all of the lovely artists and buyers we met for making it such a fantastic first show! And most of all thank you to Sam for putting so much on hold for me in the run up to the show, building my stand, driving the terrifyingly large car, being at the show every day, bringing me vast quantities of cake and ice cream and being a wonderful support, always with a smile.

After the show we had a few days of well-earned relaxation time. After visiting the must-see Betty's tea room we stayed at a spa hotel in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside and topped it all off with a visit to beautiful Chatsworth.

Now to get back to work!