Last weekend I had a stand at CycleFest Edinburgh at the Corn Exchange.
I had spent the past month or so preparing for the weekend, making plenty of stock and getting my display ready. I had no idea what to expect, how much to make, what would sell or how many people would be there. I had put a lot of thought into how and what to display my products on, I wanted everything looking professional and I really didn't want to look like I was selling at a craft fair.
I set up on the Friday afternoon, I knew exactly how and where I was going to put everything, I had Libby's photos printed to display on the walls and I felt ready for the weekend. When I arrived however, I discovered that my space was in a different place and it was much bigger than I expected, too big really - I didn't know what size of stand to have and as I was setting it all up I started to feel very nervous, I was showing along side a lot of big brands and I felt completely out of my depth, I thought that my display looked swamped by the size of space I had. Thankfully I had a lot of friends giving me encouragement and support and I posted a photo of my display on Facebook to gauge everyone's reactions, they were all so positive and it really gave me a boost.
The whole event was a really good experience, I enjoyed the weekend and thankfully had some sales, plenty of people showed a lot of interest in my products. I had hoped it would have been busier and I'm not sure if it was because of the sunny weather, the location or that not enough people knew about the event but all of that was out of my control, it was the first CycleFest in Edinburgh and I don't think the organisers even knew how it would go.
I think if CycleFest had been advertised as a niche exhibition for the serious cyclist who was looking for a unique item and had there been more designers and independent brands displaying their products then maybe more people would have come. There are a few bike shows down south, Bespoked Bristol and Spin London for example, that are dedicated to bringing new products to the public, unfortunately there aren't any shows in Scotland that compare.
I came out of the weekend feeling really positive though and I know what to do the next time- I would definitely have a smaller stand, more info on my products explaining exactly what they are and maybe no bikes on display, I definitely have a lot to think about, I needed to start somewhere and last weekend really helped. I made some contacts and met some great designers including Alex from Findra, and David from Route clothing, both of whom gave me some good advice.
I'd like to give a big thank you to Becki and Nikki who helped me over the weekend, kept me company and sane - you were great!
Now to start on my new designs...