Wow. Spring Fair is one epic trade show. I think there was something like 2,600 exhibitors across 15 exhibition halls – I'd figured I might have my work cut out for me. And I was right!
So what were my 'ins'? (good stuff that went on inside)
1. Well I had the pleasure of spending five days with some of the most loveliest fellow exhibitors I could've had the fortune to meet. The dapper Allistair from Hole in my Pocket, the fabulous Bex of BexyBoo Designs, the glamorous Jasmine of Jasmine Burgess Crafts, the lovely Louise of Louise & Lygo and the marvellous Megan of Megan Claire...I could go on all day as there were so many more wonderfully friendly folk that I loved chatting with, so to you all, thank you, you're awesome and you were the highlights of my week :)
2. I also started the week attempting being frugal by bringing in my own lunches, but I was eventually lured to the Hall 6 food walk that was full of yummy street vendor outlets, selling the most DELISH food. Seriously, so SO good. Nice work NEC.
3. Seeing the wealth of talent and ideas out there was also pretty special for me. I get a real kick out of seeing where other company's studios decide to take their creative direction each season and I was unashamedly fan-girl-ing a number of inspiring brands that were exhibiting! What was perhaps even more fab was being overwhelmingly flattered to meet some of the lovely folk that have been following me on my journey :) (in a non-creepy way), thank you so much...to know my work and blog posts have been inspiring (and of interest!) to you is a lovely feeling indeed.
And my 'outs'...(good stuff that went on outside)
1. We're super-delighted to be adding a plethora of fabulous new stockists to our books across the UK and Ireland (and yes, I know we still haven't given you a list of where we're currently stocked but I'm still trying to decide on a cute way of displaying them on the site!).
2. Among these fabulous new stockists are some super-exciting leads that I boringly can't talk about right now, (boooo), but rest assured you'll be the first to know about them here (yay)!
3. This may sound trivial and ridiculous to most, but given that I'm a perfectionist/control freak, it was a huge deal that this was my first UK trade show that I didn't drive over from Ireland to, with stock and stand items in-transit. I made the [what I felt was a] huge decision of shipping a pallet of my products and stand paraphenalia over to the UK, and flew myself and my dashing Sales Director husband David over separately. Terrifying. Not of flying, but of relinquishing control. Thankfully, it all worked like a dream and no disasters ensued. Moral of the story: take the risk, lose the fear.
And finally my upside-downs (not-so-good stuff)
1. I'd had an amazing Autumn Fair. I was pretty much always busy/talking to someone, I acquired some fantastic stockists and leads, and inevitably struggled to not have expectations for Spring Fair. Now don't get me wrong, Spring Fair was amazing in so many ways, but footfall was certainly not one of them. Perhaps it was do with the severe weather warnings, perhaps it's just a side-effect of the enormity of the show, but seeing some other exhibitors take their stands down a good few hours before the show was over was not so good.
2. Something that comes part and parcel of an event this huge is the congestion that follows (which is bizarre with the footfall issues we had). However many thousands of people all heading for the same destination during rush hour was a little comical! But I have to be honest, getting in and out of the NEC tested even my bubbliest of spirits. Thank feck for the M6 toll!
3. Worst of all – I'm getting old. There's not many folk that will say their body enjoyed five days on its feet, and my knees certainly agree with that sentiment. After starting Spring Fair bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and nimble-kneed, I left with a strained back, stiff tendons and the seized knee joints of a 70 year old. Must step up my yoga practice! :)
Now I don't want to end this on a negative note though, because despite my upside-downs, the ins and outs were so damn cool. And I've come away armed with so much more knowledge, contacts and experience than ever before. So was it worth it? 100%.
When you work for yourself, the amount of times that you will question '...is it worth it?' is actually quite laughable. But I've learned, for me, that whatever the challenge, hurdle or risk, it always is xo
Photography by the beyootiful and amazing Amy-Rose Photography