Wednesday, 9 October 2013

The other side of the table

So, Presents Galore in Kelso is history (until next year). My very first fair and Sheila and I thoroughly enjoyed it even though we both agree that it is hard work.

The first evening, Monday, the fair was open from 6.00 - 8.00 PM and included wine and canap├ęs. The hall was open for stallholders as from 1.00 PM to build up their stalls. As Sheila and I had never done anything like this before, it was very interesting to see how the professionals went about it. When you go to a fair, you do not really notice what the stands look like. At least I don't, I just look at what is for sale! Ours, in comparison, was therefore quite simple.

Here is the picture of the first evening:

I must admit, that at the end of the evening, I was a bit disappointed. Okay, we sold 1 bag, 1 necklace, 1 pair of earrings and 1 bag insert but it was to people we knew and I was not sure if they would have bought these items if they had not known us.

Susan, the organizer of the fair, told us that quite often, people who do well on the evening do not do so well the next day and the other way around. Still we went home feeling satisfied.

Sheila and I both had the same experience during the night and early morning. Thinking about how to make the stand more attractive. We had noticed, that most stands had lighting in one way or the other which, especially in the evening, made the stalls stand out more. In addition, there was something not quite right in the way we had our wares on the table. Sheila came up with some simple but clever ideas. The next morning she brought some fairy lights with her and started rearranging the table and Astrid our dress dummy.

The fairy lights were draped at the front of the table, Astrid got a more striking bag, the bag organizers which I had put behind the lid of the box with the earrings, were displayed in a way that people could see them and the bags on the table were grouped by colors (see picture below).

The table certainly looked more attractive and all in all we did not do too badly, considering the amount of other bags that were for sale. We were very pleased with the day.

I also learned that in the borders people prefer different bags. I noticed that most went for the double shoulder strap bucket bag.  Most of the people I sold bags to in Switzerland, like to carry them across their body and the bag should have a zip pocket on the outside at the back of the bag. I must also admit that those who told me this had experienced bag and purse snatching but I suppose things are still more safe in the Scottish borders . 

Something that I also enjoyed, was talking to other stallholders - their experiences, which other ways they used to sell  their wares, what other fairs they go to, when they have time to makes their products, etc. It was also very interesting to find out that for stallholders who came from further away, accommodation was found in privat homes. We found out that the Merope Pease ( who had a stall near ours was going to spend the night at a farm next door to where we live, so Sheila suggested she leaves her car at the fair and comes with us.

All in all, the atmosphere at the fair was very warm and welcoming and there was plenty to eat and coffee and tea to drink. At the end of the day we kept being offered food that was not sold! Really yummie!

Something else I had not thought of: it is very easy to spend the money you take in (or more) by looking at other stands and buying things you don't really need.  In quiet times, you wander off and have a taste here and there and have to remind yourself that the fudge will only make you fat (it was delicious, though), that you like your own salad sauce and that you do not really want that bottle of lovely gin with strawberries! 

I only bought a hat, a cashmere pullover and a beautiful hand blown perfume bottle from Jane Charles (!

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