The first spring fair I ever did was 3 years ago. I turned up wide eyed with a smile on my face and a fresh eagerness to fill my order sheets with lots of custom. What I didn’t realise was that the only day I was doing was the final day. The very quiet, very slow, slightly soul destroying Thursday (you all know what I mean). I soon realised, not only was it harder then I thought to turn an enquiry into a sale, but to coax people out of the aisles and on to the stand was a much tougher feat then I ever imagined. I felt like a failure, dejected and sad. I vowed to come back with a vengeance given the opportunity.. and I got it, one year later.
Last year was a new beginning. We changed our location to a corner aisle, we had a brand new stand, less green, and more in keeping with the feel and atmosphere of our company and boy, what a difference it made. David, our new Wholesale Manager, brought a renewed energy to the mix and that hopeful feeling started to return. Apparently the first two days are always the busiest but compared to my very quiet Thursday of the previous year, I couldn’t believe the difference. People were freely wandering on to the stand and sales started trickling in. By the end of the first day, my feet ached, my jaw ached, my back ached but the feeling of achievement I felt far surpassed those. By the end of the week, I was exhausted, packing up the stand seemed to take forever and I was glad to be leaving Birmingham for home. A few days later, the results of the figures came through and we’d improved our sales drastically from the year previously. All the feet ache was worth it and I felt that fire in my belly coming back.
Autumn fair came and went. The figures came back more positive then spring and we were finally seeing a steady rise in sales after the dip caused by the recession. Fair Trade was on the rise again and we wanted front row seats.
Spring Fair 2015 was a big fair for us. As I’m sure most of you are aware, our dear friends Windhorse have decided to cease trading. It was a complete shock to me, I couldn’t believe it when Jeremy told me. Upon hearing that we’re going to be taking over what producers of theirs we can, the information was a little easier to bear. Windhorse has always been a great seller along side our own stock for more years then I dare think, a total loss would be scary and it turns out a lot of you felt the same.
David and I spent a lot of time this trade show talking to Windhorse customers wanting to understand what was going on and I hope we successfully assured you that everything will be okay. Orders have been placed for stock already and hopefully, they’ll be in stock sooner then we predicted. In the mean time, I was blown away by everyone’s positive attitude. A lot of people I spoke to were eager and excited to try something different and start stocking some Shared Earth goods for the first time. For those of you who did, how are they working out for you? For our amazing existing customers, how is the new stock working out for you? Great? Thought so!
I think my favourite part of the trade show is getting to talk to you guys. To see what different ideas and businesses people have. To hear what sells and what doesn’t. To get feedback and advice about how to improve what we do to make it even better because that’s what matters most to us.. You.
Jen (Retail Manager)