So it’s event season again, yippee! This is where as artists/designers we get to start taking our work out to the world rather than hiding in our workshops. I love talking to people so for me this is a wonderful part of my job but for some people trade shows and selling events can be scary things. I just thought I’d share how I get myself prepared for a trade event because you never know, it might help calm a few nerves elsewhere!
The main difference stock wise between a trade show and a selling event is that you only need one of each piece of work for a trade event as you take orders on your stand rather than actually sell work to people. So believe it or not, for a 2 x 1m stand I will only need to take two of these boxes with me.
When I say only two boxes that doesn’t include the actual stand furniture! Which also needs to travel with me.
I’m quite often on my own when I’m setting up a stand so I need furniture that I can lift and position without help. You also need space for hiding your order forms, pens, staplers, handbag etc at these events so look for furniture that has storage as well. I use converted butchers blocks. They have wheels which makes moving them easy and once I’ve added sides onto them also have loads of storage underneath. Plus, they are much cheaper to buy than a side table. Use your imagination when sourcing furniture, it’s what you make a living from so don’t be afraid to try something different! I’ll blog again after the trade show so you can see the difference when they are set up.
I like to add lots of texture and height to my stands without having to lug big pieces of furniture around, so I always keep my eyes open for little props that I can use. This year I found the most amazing wooden trees that a garden centre were using for display. Luckily I managed to get them to sell them on to me 🙂
Once you have all your furniture, try to find somewhere to mark out your space and have a practice run at setting the stand up. I only have a small house but am very fortunate that my family let me take over one of the rooms the week before to plan. This means moving drums, toys, TVs etc but I pay a lot of money for the trade stands so for the sake of a bit of disruption it’s worth it. There’s no point paying all that money and then not being prepared to try and make it back and some!
I hope this gives you a little insight into the run up to a trade show. In this case I’m preparing for BCTF which takes place 7-9 April 2013 at Harrogate, Great Yorkshire Showground. This is a trade only event, but if you are thinking of showing your work you can get tickets as a potential exhibitor. It’s well worth a look around before you commit and is a fantastic day out and source of inspiration. I’ll be on stand 284 come and say hello if you do visit.