Tuesday, 16 April 2013


Well I'm finally going to write about BCTF :) For those not in the know it stands for British Craft Trade  Fair and is, as you may have sussed from the title, a trade fair for handmade goods. Which is excellent as buyers know exactly what they are coming to look at and that your lead times will be longer than bought in tat as everything is handmade :) It's based in Harrogate at the show ground where the Yorkshire Show is held so the signposting is already very good to get you there - the organisers also have a free bus that goes between the show ground and the train station!

I was in the newcomers section (hence the N before the stand number) so I got a 2x1 metre stand and that included a strip light just behind the yellow sign. It worked really well and the stand was bright enough - the overhead lights worked well too!

This is what my stand looked like. The main draw was the cabinet :) I could have easily sold it at least 20 times over as loads of people liked it. It was very handy in that it encouraged people to stop and then I could chat and explain that I had started my display with the cabinet and it grew from there. It also worked really well with my work and lots of visitors commented on that. I'm also glad I left the gap to the side as it enabled me to have somewhere to stand while people were looking without feeling I was hovering over them or ignoring them by standing out in the aisle. Next time though I need a seat although Helen Markham (who was my next door neighbour) loaned out her stool to the people around her so we each had a chance to sit down for a bit! I also pinched the seats belonging to Rebecca from  Girl With Beads and Mel from Spring Lark!

People were drawn to the chickens as they walked past and only then, if they stepped into the stand, did they look at the other items like gift tags and envelopes. I had an idea for the gift tags that didn't work out at all so the mini suitcase (quickly grabbed from Anya's shelf!) was a last minute idea. Next time it will certainly be something to work on.

I was really pleased with how my stall looked and I felt it really worked well with my items :) So how did it go sales wise? Well I got an order just as we'd finished packing everything up on the Tuesday and it was a sizeable order. I also have several leads to follow up this week so all in all it was worth it. I've rebooked for next year (!) and as silly as it sounds, buyers want to see you coming back again (and out of the newcomers section) so they can be confident that you are still going as a business and won't be as easily phased by huge orders and that they can rely on you! I was talking to someone whose wife runs a gift shop and she never looks round the newcomers section on principle as she has been stung by people before panicking as they had lots of orders and then the company folded!

So all in all it was worth it for giving out cards and being seen and the order was a bonus :) Hopefully some of my follow up emails will yield results too! If you have any questions about BCTF or are thinking about it next year then do ask questions in the comments and I will answer as best I can!

P.S. Some other newcomers got thousands of pounds or orders and some got none so my experience isn't representative of everyone!


veronica said...

So glad it went well for you. I had a ticket to come but I was on holiday. Love your cabinet- I'm not surprised people wanted one!

Dolly Cool Clare said...

Really glad that it went well for you - big shows are daunting but it seems you took it all in your stride!:)