Good afternoon gang. I understand it has been a while since the fair, but I wanted to take the opportunity to write about my experience as it was my first time attending such an event, never mind exhibiting at one! As you may have already seen from my 'Setting Up' post, which you can read here, actually preparing for such an event can be quite the challenge, but believe me, it is totally worth it. Situated across the entirety of Alexandra Palace in London, this show features so many amazingly creative and talented businesses, and I was utterly thrilled to join them this year. Having been an avid reader of the magazine for years, I knew their show wouldn't disappoint.
Thankfully, I was positioned directly opposite the champagne bar (this was not a mistake), and I was able to fully enjoy their offerings each day. As always, I would like to start this blog post with mentioning the food, and other consumables, as I was pleasantly surprised to find some lovely vegan goodies. What with being vegan myself, you never know with events like this whether or not you're going to be able to sustain yourself easily. However, with the lovely Emily Crisps in abundance, and the stand selling vegan flapjacks bigger than a brick, I was pretty much set! Oh, and let's not forget the waffle stand ... basically, it's a good job I was stood up for 8 hours every day, because I needed to burn the calories!!
As for the fair itself, I was completely blown away with how lovely everyone was who took the time to visit my stand and I. When it's your first time exhibiting at an event like this, you find that you have to take each day as it comes, but you lovely lot absolutely made my week! It is actually really interesting to see which days are busier, and what pieces or products you happen to be exhibiting do well. I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by some amazing businesses who had all exhibited at the fair before, so they were able to impart some of their wisdom on me as well. It's quite surreal as you end up effectively working, and becoming neighbours with people, in my case, that you have never met before. For someone who is introverted like me, this can seem like a bit of a nightmare, but my street of stands were without a doubt the nicest people I could have wished for. It's so nice when you get a lovely community of creatives, it makes the week that much more fun.
Now, onto some real talk for a moment. As you will know by now, I obviously had an amazing week at the fair. However, if I could give one word of warning, it would be to bring your comfy shoes. My god. I don't know if it's because I'm used to painting on my studio floor all day, but standing up for 8 hours every day, for four days, killed me. Now, if you work in retail or a restaurant etc, you'll have probably already clicked away, or plucked your tiny violin out from thin air. Nevertheless, my stand did not have any seating, and I was stood still chatting away for the majority of the week. It's the stillness that my feet are cursing me for, but when your stand is 1.5m x 1.5m there isn't much room for movement! So, ladies and gents, you obviously want to look the part for the occasion, but do what I did and wear some killer outfits, but accompanied with comfy ass shoes.
Speaking of killer outfits, I was blown away with how many of you who attended the fair came up to me to ask me where said dresses where from. As always, they were from the wonderful Cabbages & Roses. A shop which has forever stolen my heart. I am slowly but surely making it so that my entire wardrobe contains nothing but the beautiful makings of Christina Strutt.
Lastly, this show will forever hold a special place in my heart for me thanks to my amazing win of the 'Best Stand Design' award. Words cannot describe how thrilled I was to receive the recognition for all the hard work and effort that I put into creating my stand. I will be talking more about the award in an upcoming post, but for now I just want to say a huge thank you to Country Living and Catherine Gee for presenting me with said award, and a bottle of prosecco (which of course was shared with the my lovely stand neighbours).
If I haven't convinced you that this show is the place to be, then stay tuned and watch the highlights video below where you will see my stand in action!
I can't wait to do it all again next year!
This one is for all the businesses thinking about exhibiting next year. Don't think, just do it!