Wednesday, 18 April 2012

BCTF 2012

So hello again. I'm back from Harrogate, where I have been taking part in the British Craft Trade Fair 2012 at the Great Yorkshire Showground. I survived, nothing horrible happened, and all of my wildest nightmare did not come true! In fact, quite the opposite, it was brilliant....

We set off on Saturday morning, caravan in tow, packed to the rafters with my products and to say I was feeling nervous has to be the understatement of the year. In fact, my first thoughts as I woke up were 'Let's just not bother, I'd much rather stay at home, in my all time 'Comfort Zone' in front of the fire with a cup of tea and piece of cake!'

But we did set off on time and we arrived at the grounds by about 10am and I went off to register and get my passes, feeling slightly sick and very stressed. As you know this was the first trade fair I had ever done, and I was filled with self-doubt, feeling I shouldn't really have been there, I didn't know enough to do it, and all the rest of those negative little voices in my head... you know what I mean?

Setting up the stand was a feat of engineering, the shell scheme was quite light weight, the panels very thin, all held together by aluminium posts as you can see from the photos. Our aim was to cover the inside of the booth with wall-paper and thick black material I had found a few weeks earlier. As you can't drill into the shell, double-sided sticky velcro was the order of the day and we managed to get it all done within a few hours. We had a planned to hang all of the framed pieces with fishing wire, but this snapped on the first attempt and a very friendly lady gave me some white cord, which did save the day. The kindness of strangers eh? Once the print browser was in place I was beginning to feel a wee bit better, until the black material started to fall down and I had images in my head of it all going hideously wrong!

These pictures just go to show what you can achieve with a bit of will, determination and miles of double sided velcro!! I was pleased enough by the end of set-up day to be able to pop into Harrogate with my sister for a meal and a glass of wine and felt a tiny bit more relaxed.

All of my feelings of anxiety and nerves seemed to disappear on Day 1 as the buyers flooded through the doors. I don't quite know what happened but I suddenly seemed to get a grip of myself, realising that all of the Newcomers were feeling the same as me and that it was quite normal. The morning got off to a flying start with three orders from Galleries in the first hour. We had hit the ground running, my sis and I made the perfect team.

The show has been a fantastic experience. I have met so many friendly people, new stockists, and new friends. The atmosphere was buzzing, and I loved every minute of it. My confidence has grown and I now know I can take myself seriously as a designer-maker, I can sell my work and sell myself and I feel so much more positive about the future of my creative business. I'll post about some of the great and talented makers I met over the next few weeks but I'll just sign off now by saying what an enjoyable experience my first trade fair has been, I hope there will be many more. I didn't ever realise that I could find it so comfortable OUTSIDE of my comfort zone.

Thanks to all who stopped by a Stand N63, thanks for those who placed orders and those who expressed an interest in my work and thanks to all of my lovely neighbours for making BCTF 2012 such an enjoyable experience, you know who you are, and I'll be in touch with you all soon.


  1. Sounds like you did a great job Sue, well done for realising lots of people were feeling the same - must have been nerve wracking, I'm really glad it went well! Thanks for sharing. Rachel :)

  2. You really are an inspiration Sue, thanks for sharing :)


    1. Dawn that really means a lot, thank you! Just trying to pass on things I'm learning along the way! Had such a blast, it's really fired me up!!

  3. Your stall looks stunning!
    I'm thinking of doing it next year so thank you for sharing your up and downs
    I'll get plenty of velcro in stock ;)
    Jax x

  4. This is so wonderful to read about. I remember you posting three years ago (?) about thinking one day you could be doing this, and wow! Just look at you, you've done it! Fantastic! You are inspiring. x

  5. So good to meet you at the BCTF. Glad you had a great time and thanks for the supportive chats!
    Look forward to seeing you next year, if not before. xx

  6. thanks everyone for these lovely comments, it has made my day to read them, and to even think that I could inspire one person to do something like this makes it all worthwhile. I have surprised myself, didnt think I could do it!!

  7. Lovely read, inspiring ... oh, and I like your illustrations too :)).


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