Case Study:

This January Emergents/XpoNorth Crafts, Fashion and Textiles supported a group of Highlands and Islands Makers to visit Scotland’s Trade Fair Spring in Glasgow. Read a report from Becky Pritchard, The Silly Sheep Crafts and Croft about her time at the event.

Becky Pritchard, The Silly Sheep Crafts and Croft
Go & See Report, Scotland’s Trade Fair Spring,
SECC, Glasgow, 22 – 24 January 2017

The Silly Sheep is in it’s infancy, I have been sewing gifts and bags with Harris Tweed and going to local craft fairs for a while on and off, however I am now getting up and running properly and am trying to focus more on products from our sheep and croft. We have had two batches of yarn back from the mill now and I am currently dyeing, knitting and designing kits.

I wanted to visit the show to see whether I felt that this was a route I should take with my products and  was really interested to see how the atmosphere and attendance would differ at a trade show.

I have been to various shows at the SECC in the past, Country Living, Hobbycrafts etc and in the past when we lived south of the border  at the NEC and in London but always as a customer and all retail shows. They are always very busy and everyone wants to chat to you. I was surprised by the lack of crowds at the show and at the attitude of quite a lot of the sellers. A lot of stands asked what you did and even if they had no one else to talk to, would ignore you if they thought you weren’t going to order anything.

On a more positive note I went just hoping to get ideas for exhibiting in the  future, however as I wandered around, I started spotting ideas for items that I could add to my website once it is up and running. Little sheepy mugs etc that could add value to web orders. When I explained what I had in mind, sellers were happy to give me brochures & prices, it is interesting to see the difference between wholesale and retail prices, especially some of the well known mug companies.

I spent time talking to several packaging companies, they were all tucked away in the food & drink section, but had products that would cross over very well for knitting kits etc. They were all very helpful & happy to give samples either on the day or afterwards and I came away with several ideas that hadn’t occurred to me until I was looking at the displays.

I don’t think that trade shows are the way forward for my business as I like talking to customers, telling the story behind the product and getting feedback.  However I gained so much from it that I wasn’t expecting it was a very worthwhile trip.

Becky Pritchard, January 2017