Hello lovelies how are you all? I've been a bit off the radar as of late whilst I've been sweltering away in a very rare British summertime heatwave, buried alive under kilos of merino wool. I must tell you that knitting up a superking blanket with 7kgs of wool in a studio that doesn't seem to get lower than 25 degrees has been quite an experience indeed.
In any case, I've been beavering away over these hot days building up stock for my first market experience that was held yesterday in Cheltenham - but more on that later.
It's been a really informative week for me in ways that delve way beyond my chunky needles and into the stratosphere that is 'running a business.' Last week I was treated by a fellow and local Maker to a "Preparing to Sell" seminar hosted by the fine folks at The Contemporary Craft Festival. The day saw four industry experts share their tried and tested knowledge to a room of lovely Makers. Not only did I have a great day meeting some very talented people, but the lectures on PR, Press Releases, Pricing Your Craft and Preparing for Market Selling were particularly beneficial as I was about to 'set up shop' for the first time outside the cyber world.. The timing couldn't have been better to help build my confidence.
Market Day was yesterday 15th July and was hosted by Willow & Rose and held at the Cheltenham Town Hall. I learnt several things about setting up your market stall:
1) Do not go to a drinks party the evening before without already having your car (ahem cars) fully loaded with your swag.
2) Do not go to bed the night before without loading your car(s) with swag.
3) Do not wake up Market Day with only 90min to spare and think you can get yourself, husband, kids fed, dressed with needs met and THEN load your car no matter how simple it seems to just put all those bags/boxes into the boot.
4) Be prepared for your "stall vision" to not necessarily live up to your expectations. #rollwithit
5) When setting up your stall in 30 degree weather (indoors!) perhaps have a quick change of clothes prior to opening or at a minimum bring deodorant or perfume to freshen yourself up, and if you 'glow' as much as I do, a cosmetic powder compact would be most useful.
6) Surround yourself with friends, peers and a dedicated husband to boost you up when you fall down.
7) Refer to number 1 . Just don't drink the night before period!
Yes the day got off to a bit of a rocky start and I lost a bit of confidence but I have to tell you, the organisers of the Cotswold Market were just fabulous, as were my stall neighbours. The encouragement and support offered to me was incredible. When I arrived and saw the volume of my stock, size, weight, amount, etc. next to that single 6ft table, I just didn't know how it would physically work. But with the support of those behind me I was able to pull together something quite special in my opinion.
We had the super hot weather against us with footfall, but I can honestly say, over that 4 hour period, I didn't sit down once and never had more than 5 minutes wait between talking to another shopper. Everyone was quick to B-line over to the blankets and cushions to feel them and give them a good stroke. Everyone was gobsmacked when they saw my supersized custom made needles. I had amazing feedback and it really bolstered me. In the last hour I was able to sell 3 cushions. I was so excited to use my card reader for the first time. A big shout out to Sarah at Muddy Stilettos Gloucestershire for her support as well as my other buyers. So many cards were taken and everyone had a giggle at my marketing tag lines, "nothing comes between me and my Chunky" and "no one puts Chunky in the corner." I loved getting out there in the real world. I think I've got a market bug now!
This week I've learnt that it's really important to support each others businesses and to encourage one another. I witnessed on Sunday the truth to this. I've spoken to so many women in business and have been so impressed by their ethic, vision and drive. It's been a real inspiration and the feedback I've received has been so very encouraging.
In a country of 70 million and a planet of 7 billion, there is enough room for us all.
Thanks for reading guys and my continued appreciation for your support, kindness and love.