I have been looking for a chance to physically showcase and sell my products for some time now and the Manchester alternative and burlesque fair presented the perfect opportunity.
Trading at an event in the city I am based in seemed like the best option for my first stall. I’m already planning to attend clothes show live in Birmingham in December and as its quite a big event it would probably be helpful to have some experience with stalls before hand.
The most exciting part of the preparation was sorting out the stall layout and buying the fittings. I was actually slightly more prepared for this part than I realised as my dad had brought a variety of suitable items back from his various jobs over the years. These included clear perspex box-stands, head stands and a shop mannequin. The mannequin was originally in quite a state with all the paint chipping off etc. but thanks to my wonderful helpers it was painted mat white in time for the event. I also bought a room divider screen to hang underwear on and two sets of stairs for the accessories.
An other issue to deal with was packaging, especially for all the different accessories as they made up the majority of my stock for the event and included a few new varieties. I don’t put most of my accessories into packets as I feel that, firstly that they are tactile items (I have a lot of textured pieces with appliques, crystals, studs, a variety of frill trims and latexlace which people always like to touch) and secondly that most packets make the items look cheap. I also much prefer boxes which causes a whole different problem as custom boxes are expensive and the affordable ones that I have found only come in certain sizes and colours.
I already have postage boxes that I normally send orders out in but for a stall I decided bags would be more appropriate; so I bought some nice white ones that were available in a variety of sizes and could be easily be personalised by adding a logo sticker. I also have paper packets for smaller items and boxes for the small and large perspex jewellery. This of course left the medium sized jewellery which seems to just be an awkward size that they don’t do boxes in. Eventually, after taking inspiration from other items white attractive packing (yes I am one of these lame people who collect nice packaging) I decided on the kind of box I would like for the medium sized necklaces and other small items such as pasties and bow accessories. I managed to find some clear plastic boxes about the right size and made a pintable folding section for the inside, you can view the outcome below.
After everything was sorted out the event went pretty smoothly (apart from me stupidly forgetting all the flower accessories and my parents having to drive round with them), the Heresy and Heelz staff that were putting on the event were all really helpful and as Rik was sharing the stall with me I didn’t have to set everything up myself. Amber and Jay were also a great help, flyering, encouraging customers and manning the stall so I could have a break.
My camera had run out of battery so the following pictures have been stolen from Lou and Amber (http://www.feelingvague.blogspot.com/).
The event also featured burlesque performances and was a great place to socialise as well as shop. A lot of the people there had never heard of my label before so I would say it was good exposure and overall I had a great day. It was also good to catch up with fellow designers Annabelle (violaceous latex), Jo (Arcanum accessories) and Brig (Zhyon) we didn’t get time to chat much but I always enjoy the feeling of being surrounded by friendly creative individuals who are happy to co-exist and support each other.