Thursday, 26 April 2012

BCTF - what worked for me - part 3

This is the third part of my post-BCTF analysis, looking at the things that worked really well for me and sharing some of the little nuggets of new-found knowledge I've picked up along the way. Today I'm looking at promotional literature and information for your buyers.

Promotional Info

Ok, you definitely need business cards, I think that goes without saying, something small and compact with your basic contact info and web address that people can easily pick up and take. You can find business card deals really easily and can even design your own online, and also a lot of the national companies do great offers (but watch out for hidden extras). Personally I sought the help of the designers at The Design Engine, just to help me out with basic design, they gave me advice on card weight, finish, layout etc as I wanted to have be consistent with all of my promotional material.

I also ordered postcards in four designs and had them printed in a similar style to my business cards. The four designs I chose were also the designs of my tea towel range, so I could also use them as gift tags, or sell them later in packs of 4.

I think you need to tell your buyers a little bit about yourself in your promotional info. They may not have time to stop and listen to your life story, and may be on a whistle stop tour of the show, gathering info to take away and digest at their leisure. An easy to handle pack with contact details on every form is an ideal way for them to take with them. I included a product specification sheet with images and descriptions of my products, terms of business, order form, SOR agreement, a small bio on the inside page and I also popped my postage costs and a postcard and business cards inside. They seemed to go down very well indeed, and I even got a comment from one buyer saying it was the easiest order form she had ever had to fill in!! I suppose when you are thinking about what kind of information to give them, you really need to put yourself in their shoes, and think about what you would want to know about someone if you were buying from them.

As a Newcomer, I had been warned that buyers may not want to buy from me straight away, and would prefer to see me there a few years before placing orders. I decided to have easy access to a list of my current stockists, to try to demonstrate the kind of galleries and outlets I currently work with. You need buyers to have confidence that you are 'for real' and not just a 'flash in the pan' new business who will have folded by next year. I also have a list of current stockists on my blog.

You might also want to display your prices somewhere on your stand , as not everyone will want to ask, or may not feel comfortable asking or may not have time. A lot of my customers were on a whistle-stop tour of the fair so the more accessiable information was the better. I had a small list on mountbaord which I velcro-ed to the wall just above my prints, so it was at eye level and easy for buyers to see. There was also a price list on my order form and product spec list.

I hope this has been of some help, these blog posts do seem to be going down well. If anyone has any questions about anything to do with my first trade fair and how it went, please feel free to get in touch via email or leave a comment on here and I'll try my best to answer.


  1. Some really useful info! Thanks Sue for writing about your experience.
    Did you display the trade and retail price?
    PS. Can't remember whether I said but the stand looked wonderful, well done on first trade stand ;)

    1. Yes I displayed both trade and RRP, I doubled up but not sure if this is the correct way of going about it?

    2. As a buyer I prefer to see both trade and rrps as some products may not be able to take the standard gallery mark ups. Seeing them both confirms to me what mark up would work and also, having your rrps on is a good thing to do if someone wants to stock you on sale or return as they can easily work backwards from that figure to get your trade price. Just my opinion obviously, though I think if everything is clear it shouldn't matter which way round you do things

  2. Hi Sue
    A great series of posts. I think your strategies worked well. I can remember lot's of great work from the fair, but there are a handful of stalls that I can still visualise - and it's the ones with a smaller range of items clearly set out. Your posts have also made me curious about the rest of your work - so I'm off to have a look now!

    1. Hi Janet, thanks for that. I've really enjoyed writing them too. It's been good to break it all down, and look at the processes we went through from beginning to end, especially as it was such a positive experience.

  3. Hi Sue - loving your posts - I wish I had read something like this before I went to BCTF the first time. I was so nervous!!!
    I definitely think price lists are a MUST. Buyers often want to just take price lists from people they're interested in stocking and go away somewhere quieter where they can think about what they want to order. I put thumbnail images next to my descriptions of items and prices as there's so many amazing things at BCTF that it must be impossible to remember what everything looked like!

    Sue your stand looked fab - I remember walking past when you weren't there and it made me stop and look X

    1. Hi Helen, great to hear from you, and thanks for your loevly comments about the blog posts. Seems like they are going down well and they are definitely what I wish I'd been able to read before hand!


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