I recently posted on a facebook group about my day as a supplier at lace fairs and fibre events.
I thought I'd share that with you.
Although my spare room has all my supplies in it, I don't bring them all to a show (but apparently I should because I've been told off a couple of times for not bringing that one thing a person was looking for - I do mail order!).
A day show means 40 minutes to bring the supplies down and pack the car. This is the 6 large crates, 3 ft high wicker basket, one big bag of table cloths, numerous bags of things I wanted to try but haven't thought of putting in the right crates yet, lunch, drinks for the day, cash box, mini wifi, card machine, tool box (with tools, glue and more fittings than you can dream of (but not the one that person was looking for - I do mail order!)), wooden crates to display things on, small roll up table to put cash box on, box of sweets, trolley, bungy cords (we all remember the great pin fiasco of Haydock 2017). Oh and my tablets and extra toilet roll (they always run out). If it's a fair where you don't get any tables then I have to hire a van (the day before because you can only get it after 8am and have to take hte monday off to return it) and add to the menagerie tables and if I'm doing that then my big display board because why not but of course I'll forget that one fitting that you wanted (I do mail order!)
I have to drive to the venue, fight to get anywhere within 2 miles of the main door for unloading and now move all the things that my husband has played tertris with to get into the van, back out of the van and to my table area. Wrestle the kingsize sheets that I use for cloths, put each of the boxes infront of my stall where I intend to unpack and now arrange it all where it should go. If you give me 30 mins I'll set up in 30 mins ... give me the day before and it can take me upto 7 hours! I will find that I've lost all the price tickets and have to write new ones out. Even though I took a photo of the venue last year after set up I will find that I cannot get it all on the tables again in exactly the same space and the same layout.
20 minutes before it's due to open, there will be people trying to get in as I go back to the car for the last check that I've not left anything. They will be moaning that they want to come in and as I look back at my table I will see stuff all over the floor waiting to be sorted back and put under the table.
Then the doors open. There will be the person who tells me their whole life story and buys nothing. There will be the person who grabs my etymology pins for honiton throwing money at me as they run past. There will the person who picks up 25 spools of cord and wants 0.5m of each and the one who wants the one fitting I didn't bring and should have (I do mail order!) and berates me for not bringing it. The person who haggles over the £4.50 scissors and the person who pays £50 for a pay with argument. Then there is always the person who comes up to me to tell me that the needle threader they bought from me two years ago is still going strong and they never need to buy another (thanks!).
By about 2pm I realise I haven't eaten or drunk anything and I have to make the decision - if I drink I will need the toilet and there may be a rush on of emergency scissor buying (the baby bow scissors are rather nice) so do I pass out from dehydration or give in and have a drink? Decision, decisions.
By 4pm it's time to pack it away - do I throw everything in roughly the right box and run or do I pack it away nicely but take and hour and be the last one there.
For this, I have the pleasure of paying for my table which may be donating a raffle prize, all the away upto £500 for a big two day show. I daren't check how much I've taken (a lady does not count her money in public) but I'm hoping it's covered the stock sold and the petrol and the table if nothing else. Having played tetris and got it all back in the car I go find the organisers and thank them for letting me have the space and ask if I can be considered for next year. then drive home.
After Fibre East I returned home with everything and I mean everything covered in grit from being in a marquee in the playground. I had to carefully take each box apart and clean it. It took a week of every spare moment to do this as I have a day job.
When I get home I am so tired I can't string two words together.
Why do I do this? Because I make lace and I want good quality haberdashery so I went out and sourced it and sell it. My braiding kits make me the money because I put them together myself, that allow me to buy in the haberdashery items and keep them at a low price so they are affordable.