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Big Plunge Off the Deep end!

Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 2:06 pm
by Fillionous
Ok I'm looking for help / advice... and probably being told I am a compleat idiot and biting off far too much...

Let's start at the beginning...
A while back I started trading as 'Shieldmaiden' doing banners, shields, plaques and other unique hereldic based things. (
I had/have a steady flow of business through my web page and word of mouth. I then got asked to do a bit of tradeing through the re-enactment Soc I am part of... fine... so I join NMTF (historic traders branch) to cover the insurance side of things and continued to potter along. It is all really low key. Basically just a bit of trade within the Soc.
I mean, the money is very useful, it keeps my mind occupied and I can fit it round looking after my daughter (currently 10 months old) The long(er) term plan is to slowly build up as I get more time (ie Tadpole goes to school), do the odd fayre and earn enough to give me money enough to be at least partly indipendant from my husbands wage (ie not having to ask him for money to keep my car on the road or buy him his brithday presant... that kind of thing).

With this in mind I got offered (an took up) a pitch at Rockingham. Now this is going to be my first formal trading show. And certianally the biggest thing I have done so far with Shieldmaiden. I have suitable tent and awning, the kit, the things to show the MoPs / Re-enactors / Customers and thought all was going well...

Up to the point where I realised I am going to have to do this solo... Well unless you count Tadpole...
Gentleman is elsewhere... work related.

Now I am not sure how I am going to juggle the logistics of baby care, pitching and striking, selling/demoing... feeding myself...etc.etc.

Suddenly I feel very out of my depth... yet I know it should be posible to work something out.. I think it is going to be a good event and I want to do it...

So here I am asking for thoughts...
Yeah I know.. I'm crazy!

Be bright, be bold

Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 2:41 pm
by guthrie
A silly question- do you have any friends?
Or, more to the point, do you have any friends going to Rockingham?
With some help from friends everything becomes much easier.

Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 9:05 pm
by dragonskie2000
It is possible on your own - lot easier with help though.

I used to do large craft fairs on my own (selling pottery - not re-enactment stuff though). That required large shelving units to be moved as well as boxes and boxes of stock. Didn't have a tent to contend with as the fairs were in covered marquees. But I did have a very active toddler.

If you are stuck on your own (and it's also helpfull anyhow), plan the order in which to do things (practice too if possible to make sure you can manage). When it comes to the actuall selling try and have as much as possible pre-done (your lunch) or put in an order with one of the food suppliers in the morning so you can get it quickly. Have a "back in five minutes" notice done up. Being organized is essential - and it looks professional. Never leave your cash box in full view, nor keep lots of money in it (depending on how much you sell things at about £25 in change) - but you'll know that one. Keep notes, cheques etc on your person in a waist/bum bag. Never trust your money to anyone else no matter how nice/reliable they may seem (no, never had a bad experience, but know someone who has)

Never had a problem with the sproglett, but then I had an obedience dog too - people did comment on how well sproglett could do a send away and remote commands.....

But I really do suggest you try and find some help. You will be less exhausted and more inclined to do another fair if the first one goes well.

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 4:04 pm
by Fillionous
Thanks for the thoughts...

I have groveled to my parents and they are now looking after Tadpole for the long weekend...

So it is just me and my nerves I have to cope with now... So thanks for letting me rant and vent here.

All being well I should make it on site for Friday lunch time - the plan being that that will give me plenty of time to sort out, set up and relax into it all before the madness starts... be that the Duke's evening plans or the (posible) rush of customers...

Hope eveyone has a good one...

Be bright, be bold

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 4:22 pm
by Skevmeister

Wishing you good luck on your first outing


Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 4:30 pm
by Eric the well read
Fillionous wrote: I have groveled to my parents and they are now looking after Tadpole for the long weekend..
The long chat your mum had with seamsmistress might also have helped.....

Good Luck


Posted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 4:34 pm
by Hinny Annie
Good luck, will look out for you. If you are trading anywhere near us we will keep supplied with coffee.

see you soon

Posted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 9:08 pm
by Black Letter
Best of luck - we had our first event at Tewkesbury 06 and I remember the feeling of nerves!

Great idea to get there early, and give your self plenty of time to set up - it's amazing how time flies between waking on Saturday morning and trading opening......!

Try and have a dry run with any 'unknowns' - e.g. stock displays, new kit, etc, and as you are on your own, have snacks, water, flasks of coffee, etc. to hand. Normally traders around you will help out with loo breaks, etc. We are also at Rockingham, so like Hinny Annie, will try and look out for you.

Hope you have a great event!

Posted: Mon May 14, 2007 10:28 am
by Fillionous
Thanks to everyone who helped me out over the weekend... Esspecally all those who apeared from nowhere when my awning decided to go for a trip across the market... ('Twas a bit windy like on that corner... actually it was a bit windy everywhere...)

It was good to put some more faces to names and go mouse spotting. Great also to see a bunch of other groups and soc's doing thier thing... the after hours was esspecally fine...

I cannot say it was a fantastic profit making weekend, but it was interesting to see how things work and I might try again some time, with a few tweeks to get things better. (For a start a couple of side pannals for that awning.)

I've now been home for a week or so... the dinning room and spare bedroom are still just a pile of kit, and Tadpole is being a fuss pot... so prehaps it is a good thing I did not get over loaded with orders... :P (Well I have to look on the bright side.)

So thanks again and good to see you all!

Be bright, be bold