11 Nov 2013

Sometimes your life appears to run along on a theme, when meetings or events that happen seem to recur as if to serve as a reminder to you, and this week has been just so. When as a litle girl I would sit at the back of the church and listen to the Vicar deliver his sermon, he would talk about the hustle and bustle of everyday life, with a little reminder causing you to stop and think about your actions and interactions with others. With the news headlines this week being about Rememberance and commemorating all those whose lives have been lost in conflict the scene was set.

Earlier in the week, out of the blue I visited an old friend from thirty years ago reminiscing, hearing her achievments and the sadder news of her husband who  had died of illness. Next was a visit to a relative, robbed of his personality and suffering with the dreadful Alzheimer’s disease and then a visit to a wonderful old lady who had supported me as a child in care and who is now facing a big operation, which is terrifying for her. I  look forward to her recovery from this.

So when the opportunity to attend a Fashion event for Charity and have a stall for my product presented itself it seemed a good thing to do. My advice for sellers considering attending these types of events would be,

1) do your research well www.stallfinder.com is a great website with all such events in your area.
2) dont travel too far as it adds to your costs.
3) research how many visitors the event expects and how it has done historically. If you can, visit the venue and ask for a good stand position.
3) think about your product and who your customer is? would you be better at school fairs where people go looking for a small inexpensive gift? Or would you be better targetting Ladies days or evenings where people to go to relax, enjoy the occasion, and maybe buy gifts or a treat for themselves to something they wouldn’t find elsewhere?
4) when setting up your stall consider how best to display your product and have a test run. I have found it is worth investing in a good black cloth for display as your product stands out.
5) make clear signs of what you are selling, the price and show the customer how they will receive your product ie gift wrapped? or give them a choice.
6) take some food and drink with you then you are not tempted to spend whilst you are there.
7) consider taking a friend with you, it can be a long day and it is good for your moral especially in the beginning.
8) interact with people,try to relax, be friendly and make sure you have business cards to give out, as these could be potential future customers.
9) always look and be professional, this is your shop window.
10) before the event tell people you will be attending on all your social media websites, ask other businees attending to like and share your posts, check to see if there is a local social website and post to that and help to promote the event beforehand.
11) some fair organisers will ask for a raffle prize, but is a nice touch to donate one anyway.

The interaction with other stallholders at the fairs is sometimes more valuable than the money that you make. The information you give and recieve is invaluable, make sure you speak to the other stall holders, I came away with a new social media avenue and a diferent way of using Linked In.

On Twitter there is a 70:20:10 rule 70% of the time sharing information, re-tweeting, establishing relationships, 20% engaging and interacting and 10% to promote and well, sell!
It seems to me that we could apply this rule in life too. 70% living and getting on with the everyday tasks, 20% interacting, remembering and giving something back and 10% yay!, relaxing, taking some reward or just pleasing ouselves. Maybe business rules and life rules are the same after all?

The fair I attended this week was a success, the venue was lovely it was well attended, the stand position was good and it was an enjoyable occasion to be part of.  Raising valuable funds for St Catherine’s and Rainbow House here in Lancashire and from a business point of view enough sales, contacts made, information traded, hopefully new customers for the future and a little glass of wine to finish the evening on!  70:20:10 need I say more?

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