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COVERSTORY


Small stand, big plans “


Small stand, big plans


Making sure everyone’s heard of your company is an issue facing many new greetings card publishers so exhibiting at a trade show is often the next step, here Janine George of Dilys Treacle Treasures explains the process.


AFTER months of hard work and stressing out, I offi cially launched my company to the greetings card industry at PG Live in London.


I’d decided to book a stand just before Christmas, and the weeks and months since have been a whirlwind of planning and preparation – I still have a day job and booked over three weeks off work purely to spend on getting organised. No holiday for me this year! I never imagined how much work would be involved in the run up to a big show like this. It was so time- consuming and, as it was my fi rst fair, I wasn’t really sure what I was doing!


I had to start everything from scratch with regards to designing my stand and sorting out extra bits and pieces like business cards and badges…it feels like quite an achievement to have made it through to the other side! I had my entire catalogue of designs re-printed with a specialist greetings card printer and spent ages researching different boards. I also started designing a new collection of dog cards a few weeks before the show, which created extra stress! Even sorting out little things like travel and accommodation have seemed like a massive task. It’s been one of the most expensive ventures I’ve ever taken on. When it was fi nally time to set off for London, thankfully my other half Rob came with me, as I’d never have been able to carry everything on my own. Even with both of us it was a bit of a struggle on the bus and train. We left Sheffi eld early and arrived at St Pancras


around lunchtime. We walked from the station because we couldn’t face taking the cases on the Tube. It wasn’t far, but seemed like 20 miles with the luggage in tow! My stand was upstairs in the Springboard area – down in the main hall is where you fi nd all the big companies, and some of their stands are HUGE!


● Looking good - Janine on the fi nished stand


We were one of the fi rst exhibitors to arrive which was good as we had lots of space to spread out. I’d advise an early arrival to anybody. Once everyone starts turning up it’s easy to get distracted, you fi nd yourself chatting and standing about!


● The adventure starts here - from Kings Cross with all the bags (right) it was straight to the stand to set up lots of new stockists.


My stand was the smallest – 1x2m – but still cost me a small fortune. We eventually managed to locate it. We’d arrived so early none of the name signs were up, which made it a bit tricky to fi nd! We had about four hours and managed to get the majority of the set-up done. Then we set off back to Kings Cross to fi nd our B&B. The place we stayed was very nice and, most important, did a good breakfast too. The second day of set up was much busier. I was glad we’d got most of it done the day before as it meant we didn’t need to rush. In fact we spent most of the time chatting to other exhibitors. There were lots of people at the show who I chat to on Twitter or Facebook but had never met in real life before!


Next day was show time and I woke up feeling really nervous! I made a few changes to my stand mid-morning, moving the table so people could view the cards more easily. It was strange seeing people come to look at my card designs. They’ve been so long in the making. The main thing I noticed was that everyone wanted to touch them. Some people even thought the actual cards were hand stitched, as opposed to prints. I had to keep pointing out the original artworks in the frames above! One of my favourite moments was when the man


from Scribbler said he really liked my cat cards. All the buyers have such a huge number of stands to get round that it’s lovely when somebody stops to chat. One of the main things I realised was that visitors were


doing more looking and window shopping, than order writing. I was disappointed to start with because, like most fi rst timers, I had wild ideas of numerous orders and


All opinions expressed in Your Shout are the personal views of the named writer. We can’t promise to print everything we receive – especially not if it could land anyone in a libel court! – but we will read through everything submitted for consideration. If you have something to say please email your thoughts to tracey@lemapublishing.co.uk


I can now see that buyers for any shop, whether a national chain or small independent, want to see everything on offer before committing to new orders. And with brand new suppliers like myself, I imagine they want to do a bit of background research too.


So I handed out samples, took details and chatted to lots of people. Fingers crossed, interest and orders will trickle in over the weeks and months to come. I was lucky to get advice from various visitors – it’s


good to receive feedback and constructive criticism. I had buyers give their honest opinions on everything from the design of my stand to the colour of the envelopes. Everyone is so busy that any time they spend with you is a bonus, and anything they have to say is really worth taking on board. It’s all part of the learning process and, without exhibiting, you’d never get the same honest feedback and be able to move things forward. After an extremely tiring day there was just time for a few drinks at the after-show party, before crashing at the B&B.


The second day involved a bit of a morning mad dash, checking out of the B&B and dragging all our cases back up Pentonville Rd during rush hour, which wasn’t much fun! Think we arrived looking a bit bedraggled and fl ustered and I felt like I was burning up! However, things soon looked up as I was the very


lucky recipient of a Golden Ticket from Retas Award winner Lynn Tait – I was so excited the rest of the afternoon passed in a bit of a whirl!


One of the nicest things was meeting my fellow exhibitors and getting a better look at their work. We made some really good friends. When the show fi nished, taking everything down was much quicker than putting it up, all you could hear was the sound of Velcro being ripped from walls! Then it was straight back to the station. I slept most of the way home and gave myself the rest of the week off. Now I’m back at the day job, and planning the future


of Dilys Treacle Treasures! http://dilystreacle.wordpress.com/ www.dilystreacletreasures.co.uk


www.greetingstoday.co.uk 45 ”


YOUR


SHOUT


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