Monday, 12 May 2014

Staying the course

Stacks of linen sheets, destined to become curtains, loose covers, bed covers, valances. A view of some of my stock, all clean, sorted and labelled with size, condition, and price.
          I wrote earlier about some hints I had picked up from a well-known exhibitor on how to attract the buyers to your stand at any fair or exhibition. This made me think about the end of a Fair, when you may be in a hurry to get away at the earliest moment, daylight may be fading,  traffic revving up and an urgent need for a meal and sit-down after a long day. I have to admit this is a real temptation, but as a small fair organiser, I must say that the rustling of tissue paper, the sliding of piles into boxes, is a real put-off for any late visitor to a fair.  As most are aware, you may actually have an unwritten contract to stay open until the official time of closing and most buyers will turn away if there is a flurry of packing and stands are being broken up. You are also in danger of losing some very good last minute sales - twice I have had this experience - once at a small and fairly unsuccessful fair at Olympia (not the big international one) all the stalls had packed up and I stood my ground until closing time and just 5 minutes later, in rushed a frantic lady decorator who said she had to furnish a show flat by the next day,  customers waiting, everything had run late and she had an empty van at the exit door!  Wow!  She bought all my folding French garden furniture, some Regency bamboo stuff and various decorative pieces and ornaments which I helped her to pack up, and I went home with a featherweight load and a full purse.
    Another time I was at the Little Chelsea Fair and had a rather poor two-day result, when at the last minute, a prosperous City Gent dashed up to me and asked me to find a special house gift for a Texas millionaire 'who has everything' . I was able to say 'not quite everything, because he will not have this very rare and special steel collar piece for the leading cow in the great transhumance, yearly procession of cows from the plains up into the high pastures in Provence' - it was a fantastic old piece of 18c. metalwork with medallions and chains and a wonderful treasure for an American Ranch owner!  And a final coup for two of my dealer friends, who had already packed their vehicles at a fair in Bradford, when a late, known good buyer arrived just after closing time and they had to unpack, and all their furniture all went to two properties that the good lady had to furnish in a hurry. You never know!

1 comment:

  1. that is so true, I think a dealer should not start packing until closing time that was announced.
    I set up at a show this last February hours posted was 10am-2pm and at 12:30 dealers were packing up and people were still coming in at 1:30 pm and complaining to me about dealers leaving.
    I did suggest to the organizer next year everyone must keep booths open till 2pm , it was an indoor sale