Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The joys of outside trading!

I have done several outside events this summer and they have proved very successful. However, I can honestly say the fair I did recently should have put me off outside trading for life! The event was the Burnham Market annual Street Fair. The preparation for this type of event is extensive as you not only have all the products to make, label, package etc. and the physical aspect of loading your vehicle with a gazebo, stock, tables, chairs- and if there is any space left the odd person!

My daughter and I set our alarms for some ungodly time as the journey was at least an hour and we had to allow at least two hours to set up (this may seem a long time but I can assure you it is not). Upon arrival I realised that our pitch was on a slope so not a great start to the day. Nevertheless we eventually found some level ground (now eating into our allocation of two hours set up). After trying to arrange our stand to accommodate the new layout we just managed to put the last label on, as the first customers started to arrive. I find my heart beats several times quicker until everything is in place, still the gazebo looked fantastic with our new range of bunting and we were all set to trade.

The morning was great with a steady flow of customers and a little drizzle (not a problem with my waterproof gazebo). We then noticed a change in the weather with the wind starting to build, Lottie- my daughter, positioned herself such that she could hold onto the sides of the gazebo to stop them blowing in. All was going well until I think the equivalent of “Hurricane Katrina” arrived which resulted in her hanging off the side of the gazebo to stop it trying to take off! As you can imagine things became a little fraught and after what seemed the longest afternoon ever it was time to dismantle our stand. At this point the heavens opened and we were sent a flash flood! All the stock had to remain under the gazebo or it would have been damaged. There is an art to loading our car and the gazebo HAS to go in first! - Luck was certainly not on our side! After a traumatic time loading the car we eventually set off for home, tired, wet, dirty and you would have thought grumpy. NOT AT ALL! I have to say for all the problems we encountered it was a lovely fair filled with fun and laughter. I would not swap trading outside, it brings you in contact with your customers and we always meet some lovely people and our fellow traders bring camaraderie to all the events. We look forward to doing lots more outside trading again next year but this time with some weights for the gazebo and a huge umbrella for the staff!