EtsyMCR visits the British Craft Trade Fair 2018

This April saw the British Craft Trade Fair set up for its three day event in Harrogate. This prestigious show, now in its 44th year, is a specialist event for artists and makers wishing to showcase their handmade products to a select group of retailers and galleries.

This year a number of EtsyMCR team members exhibited, some for the first time, others as established makers.

After having time to recover from the weekend, Charlotte Verity Jewellery Designer; Catherine (aka Swifty) of Swifty Bell DesignsSophie Cunningham Illustrator; and Kat Pearson Designs have taken a few moments to reflect on and share some of their experiences and advice with the rest of the team.

Charlotte Verity Jewellery at BCTF

Charlotte, our most experienced exhibitor, told us, “I’ve done this show for the last 8 years and the last 2 have been particularly quiet. I chose to exhibit at BCTF because it is a high quality show featuring UK made, handmade craft items from lots of different disciplines. The show has a good reputation and it’s a good way to meet new galleries and shops. I chose to do it expecting to get a few exhibitions, maybe some new shops, and hopefully a couple of trade orders.”

 

Swifty, who exhibited for the first time in 2017, had graduated to the Post-Newcomers area. “It’s been really good for me. Probably my most stressful time ever, especially in the run up!” Her reasons for choosing BCTF included first-hand experience of being told by retailers that they didn’t like being approached directly by makers, preferring to choose artists from trade fairs. Taking part in the event also enabled her to talk directly to shops and galleries to find out what they were looking for, and what sort of customers they have.

Both Kat and Sophie were Newcomers this year; both a blessing and a curse if all the advice and comments from experienced exhibitors were to be believed! The Newcomers Area is for first-time trade show exhibitors, who may not necessarily be new businesses, and was made up of a good mix of artists and makers at various stages of their careers.

Kat Pearson Designs’ Stand

Kat and Sophie found their first Trade Fair experience ‘a little disappointing, and an expensive experience’, however Kat added that it was “a huge learning opportunity”.

 

Kat and Sophie opted to try BCTF this year to develop the Wholesale side of their businesses, in a hope to cut down on the number of markets they needed to do. Sophie got off to a good start with an order in the very first hour! All Newcomers are warned not to expect sales at the event, but to chase up leads afterwards. One buyer even commented that, “Newcomers is the first area buyers visit and the last place they buy”. Not exactly reassuring, but made Sophie’s sale even more of a triumph!

 

Emma Darbyshire, team member and owner of Wilton Street Craft Co., went along for a visit and said, “It was worth visiting if you’re thinking of doing the fair, to see if it’s a good fit. Lots of the makers were approached and willing to chat freely about their experience and their learning points.”

Sophie Cunningham Illustrator’s Stand

And finally… Would they do it again? “Overall, the show was too quiet, not enough visitors, “said Charlotte, something many other makers agreed with. “Possibly won’t be back next year,’ said Kat, ‘but never say never. If I’m honest I wasn’t really ready for the step up to professional level but it was a great place to learn what I need to do next, I met some fantastic people and I would certainly consider going back as a visitor next year.”

 

We asked Sophie, Kat, Charlotte and Swifty for their Top Tips for exhibiting at BCTF and other trade fairs:

  • Make sure of your pricing, that it is consistent and that it is clearly marked on your price lists.
  • Have clear, consistent branding on your stand.
  • If possible, have some lower priced items, as these might encourage initial sales with first-time buyers.
  • Don’t expect to make your money back at the event and do chase up any leads as sales often occur after the event.
  • Don’t be put off by buyers ignoring your stand! They know what they want, and with so many stands they can’t afford to get distracted.
  • Be prepared! However long you think it will take to getall your products, pricing, catalogues etc. sorted, double it (“at least!” says Kat).
  • Only take your best work, and remember, Less is More. Don’t overwhelm your stand. Think carefully about what your key items are and make them the focus.
  • Take buyers’ details and make a note of what they’re interested in, so you can personalise any follow-up communication you have with them. And even if they don’t stop, many have their names/shops on their badges. There’s nothing wrong with making a note of them to research them further, with a view to contacting them in the future.
  • Plan your stand; they’re smaller than you think, and invest in ‘S’ hooks to hang work, as nothing sticks well to the walls.
  • Consider applying to put larger work in the Exhibition Area, as this can attract buyers to your stand.

Find out more about British Craft Trade Fair, and how to take part in future shows at www.bctf.co.uk

Thanks to contributors Sophie, Charlotte, Kat, Swifty and Emma for their help writing this article.

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Etsy Made Local 2017

Etsy Made Local returned to Manchester, bigger and better for 2017!

Etsy Made Local: Manchester came back home to People’s History Museum from Friday 1st – Sunday 3rd , brought to you by the Etsy Manchester team.  Visitors who attended over the weekend found unique, personalised, one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts in a beautiful location from artisans and designer-makers who put their heart and soul into everything they make.  There were even more sellers than in 2016 and more visitors attended, too.  We had a fabulous weekend!

 

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Etsy: Made Local – Christmas 2016

The table cloths are now stored away, the festive music has fallen silent for now and the Etsy Made Local extravaganza has, for 2016 at least, become a treasured memory. But we’ll be back in 2017 for more…bigger, better and shinier than ever!

And that’s a wrap, people!

In December 2016, the Etsy Manchester Team hosted our first ever Etsy Made Local Christmas market. After months of planning, numerous team meetings and hundreds of social media posts, we opened the doors to People’s History Museum’s beautiful Engine Hall on the morning of Thursday 1st December and held our breath as we hoped for lots of visitors and sales for all our lovely stall holders.

We didn’t have to wait very long! Straight away there were visitors popping in to take a look around, stopping to look at each stall, having a chat and buying gifts, before heading off to explore the museum exhibitions.

On Thursday evening, People’s History Museum held their annual Winter Warmer event. Manchester’s SHE Choir entertained shoppers, museum visitors and the Etsy Manchester team with their heavenly singing.

Over the course of the four days, there were some sellers who were with us for two days, and some stayed for all four. On Saturday morning, we were joined by several new faces who set up their stalls for the weekend. We had a very busy Saturday and Sunday, as many determined shoppers arrived looking for those perfect gifts. Emily Dean from Etsy’s UK team came to visit us on Saturday and chatted to everyone, as well as picking out her favourite items.

Over the weekend there were also workshops run by members of the team. Visitors popped upstairs to make their own enamelled keyrings and felt Christmas tree decorations with Ruth and Laima.

After four days of hard work, our sellers packed down and headed home for a well-deserved rest! Thanks to everyone who took part, helped out, visited, and supported us in the weeks and months leading up to our first ever Christmas market.

Peace out, y’all!

Our heartfelt thanks to all who participates and helped arrange this fantastic event, from the incredibly accommodating and helpful People’s History museum staff, the SHE Choir, the energetic and highly creative sellers and, finally, all the wonderful shoppers, who let their festive curiosity get the better of them and came along to see us.

Take a look at a few highlights from the weekend! 

 

 

 

 

 

Manchester’s SheChoir entertained visitors at the Winter Warmer night!

 

Visitors took part in festive craft workshops too.

 

 

 

Creative Wedding Fair at The Whitworth Gallery

On 30th of April 2016, Etsy Manchester – in association with the Whitworth gallery – launched its inaugural creative wedding fair in Manchester! An event for people who want a wedding that is as unique as they are!

On (11am – 4pm) Etsy Manchester, in association with the Whitworth gallery, brought the Creative Wedding Fair to Manchester!

An alternative wedding show

The wedding show was for the alternative and quirky, for those that value handmade integrity and local craftsmanship. An event for people who think outside of the ‘big corporation’ box and want a wedding that is as unique as they are!

The Whitworth gallery, exterior front view
Exterior front view of The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester.

Held in the stunning Whitworth Art Gallery on the , The Creative Wedding Fair showcased the best handmade, individual and personalised wedding-related products and services. Organised by Etsy Manchester, which represents more than one thousand sellers, The Creative Wedding Fair was all about human relationships and interactions which shape and enrich the big day. Entry was free and 35 individual sellers – coupled with the ambiance of a lovely live band – helped to make a magical event.

Keep your eyes open for this event in 2017!

Pictures from the day