I havn’t blogged for a while as my life has been rather manic. My last blog was back at the start of April and I was just off to a craft trade show in Harrogate (UK), with all the doom and gloom about the economy a fair amount of shops and galleries turned up and placed orders. It’s always good when you get repeat orders from outlets that you have sold to in the past but even better when you pick up some new ones and even better still if it’s a gallery that you really wanted to get in to.
After returning from Harrogate it was straight into wedding mode – not mine!! but my youngest daughter. Being a man with a van means you are in demand for everything that doesn’t fit in a hatch back. The wedding was great and everyone had a good time.
A couple of weeks later and I was off to my first retail show over the early bank holiday, I do around 12 – 14 shows a year and they vary from small & large craft fairs to potters fairs and as mentioned trade shows. This first show was what I call a mixed show, some craft, some tat and some entertainment. I won’t mention the show by name but it’s one that attracted too many blokes dressed in vests with a burger in one hand and a pint in the other. Luckily I knew it would be a bit like this so I had a spring clearout of seconds and discontinued stock which went down well.
Two days after this I was at another craft fair at Hatfield, Herts (UK) this was compleatly different with high quality crafts and fairly high visitor numbers, although I was told they usually get more. These are tough times and even if the punters have got money the merchants of doom have their influence. I sold fairly well and sold some of my new designs which is always a bonus.
A week after the craft fair as part of Craft and Design month I hosted a workshop demo at my place for the Kent Potters association. Most potters will sympathize with me that when you host an event in your workplace it takes one day to do the demo but three days to clean & tidy the workshop; added to this that my workshop is down the garden that also had to be sorted too. Hopefully they all had a good time and added to their ceramic journey.
Whilst all the above was going on I became a finalist in the Craft and Design awards. Just to get you in the picture Craft & Design magazine have a web site called selected which features around 1100 crafts people – see www.craftmaker.co.uk Between January and March you get people to vote for you, those with the votes go forward to a judge in each catagory, one gets gold two get silver then there are three joint finalists. Phil Rogers, a very high profile potter won the gold. Take a look at the site and see what you think. I was happy to be in the running but next year I’m going for gold!!!
Perhaps the tip should be don’t spread yourself too thinly but some times opportunities come all at once and you have to grab them when they are there and make the most of them.
One tip – at a craft fair most people want to look at every stall before they buy, unless its a cheap item, so early on make sure you chat to everyone who shows the slightest interest the with a bit of luck they will remember you and come back – how do they find you at a large show? – give them a business card and write the position or marquee number you are in on the back.
David Melville www.potteryman.co.uk
ps off to Potfest Scotland next