Friday, 31 July 2009

Markets are the Future

I haven't traded at a market for a few years now and, as I now organise arts fairs at work, I thought I'd better get some practice in, selling my own stuff.
Markets and fairs are a great marketing opportunity, a way to meet your customers, test trade your goods and gauge public interest. They can either be really well attended with lots of buyers or spectacularly dismal, like the Great British Weather.

Last weekend I showed my stuff at The Royal Arcade, Keighley as part of a small but select group of crafts people. I was surprised at how well I did, particularly as the footfall wasn't brilliant. We were very lucky with the weather and, although we were competing with a big event at Cliffe Castle, Louise of Blue Ginger worked hard to bring the public into the arcade.

So there I am, writing to artists who take part in our Arts Markets about how to set out an eye catching display but not actually taking my own advice! This display looks a bit jungly although I'm quite pleased with my hand written labels.

There's definitely room for improvement when it comes to display and I'll have another shot at it tomorrow at the Craft Fair in Cavendish Court, Keighley to celebrate Yorkshire Day. I'm booked to do the Saltaire Arts Trail Maker's Fair in September so, by the time that comes around, I should be more experienced at display.

Inside Royal Arcade, Keighley. For more images visit Flickr.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

The Great British Summer

Am I the only person in the UK NOT complaining about the hot weather? I know it's humid, I know it's sticky but, come on guys, it doesn't happen here too often! Remember last year?

In celebration of the good weather I decided to treat my front garden to some furniture and I have been looking out for two fold up metal chairs and a table. So I was pleased to see this set in B & Q and, even better, reduced by 30%. I didn't know that just SEEING it was going to be the easy part.
I then tried to buy it.
But I couldn't buy it because it wasn't in stock and there was a possiblity that it was discontinued. But I couldn't buy the display furniture because it might not be discontinued. But I couldn't expect anyone to call me and tell me if it was either discontinued or not because "we don't do that". When I pointed out that it was probably illegal to advertise something that was no longer for sale I was told "hey, I only work here 2 days a week".
So I paid for the item (that might be discontinued) because that way I could guarantee that someone would eventually call me - or so I thought.
Nobody called.
I called them. "Yes, the computer says it's in stock".
So I go to B & Q. The computer says No. But I can come in on Wednesday because it will be there.
I call on Wednesday. "The computer says it's in stock but I'll check the warehouse and call you".
Nobody called.
I call the next day. "The computer says it's in stock but I'll check the warehouse and call you".
Somebody called.
"I can't see it but someone will call you tomorrow".
Nobody called.
I called. "The computer says it's in stock but I'll...."
Stop! Do not say you will check the warehouse and then call me back. BECAUSE NOBODY CALLS! I want to speak to the manager.
"I AM the manager". (In the words of my daughter - oh crap!)
Please help me, please, please, please because I am trapped in Goundhog Day. The next day someone calls. The furniture is here - come in and collect! Hoorah! I get there, I sign for it, someone brings it on a trolley, the trolley is too heavy for me to manouver to my car. Nobody offers to help. I struggle out of the door, ramming stationery objects and another customer kindly helps me to get it into the car.
So here it is. Rant over - here are a couple more pictures of the front garden