So, yesterday was my very first wedding fayre as an exhibitor. I attended a few fayres as a bride to be but I have never before exhibited at anything so I was very nervous but also excited! I am used to doing training and presentations as I had to do them in my job as a claims advisor so I am used to speaking to people but it is different when it is your own business and a new venture. The fayre was held at Rutland House in Doncaster. This is a brand new wedding venue that can be exclusively hired for your big day.
The event was organised and arranged by Apple Blossom Events. This is a company run by two lovely ladies both called Sarah. Apple Blossom provides chair covers and sashes as well as other decorative items for your wedding ceremony or reception.
I began preparing for the wedding fayre a few weeks ago. I wanted to make sure that I had a good variety of stock so I ordered some fascinators and bags from my suppliers. I also wanted to make sure plenty of brides to be would attend the event and so tried to promote it on my Facebook and Twitter pages and on my website on my new news and events page. I also decided to attend a course run by Success Doncaster about how to exhibit effectively. I devised order forms, stock lists and a form for people to sign up to my mailing list. I also made sure that I had the correct items needed to be able to display my products – a mannequin head, jewellery busts, a tiara stand, a tablecloth and a mirror were all essential items I needed. I managed to source most of the things I needed on eBay and the mirror was borrowed from a friend. I did struggle to find a tablecloth that would be large enough so instead bought a king-size white flat sheet which did the job perfectly, although why I stood for ages and ironed it I have no idea because by the time we got to the fayre it was pretty creased despite it being non-iron!! I also decided that I wanted something eye catching that would draw people in and make them remember me. So, as well as a bowl of sweets to entice the brides to be I also commissioned an artist friend of one of my brothers to make me ‘Rapunzel’s Tower’. I was so pleased with the result! The tower is quite gothic with a sort of dark Tim Burton type style. The attention to detail however is amazing. Every brick and flower was individually hand- made, even the tree has a face and there is a beautiful red rose placed at the door. Kit Prosser, the artist who made the tower for me did an amazing job and is a very talented young man. The tower did do the job and attracted interest and the children in particular seemed to love it.
The hardest decision to make was deciding what stock to take with me. I have so many pretty things that I wanted to share with everyone but on a 5ft x 2ft table you are very limited for space. I felt that I wanted to showcase everything I sell too so decided to take a small selection from each category – fascinators, jewellery, tiaras, bags, headbands, children’s headbands, clips and fairy wings and wands. I also had a box of spare stock with me just in case people wanted to see other things.
The next difficult decision to make was deciding what to wear. I appreciate that this is a major decision for any woman for most occasions but I really wasn’t sure what people wore to these things. I wanted to be smart so jeans were out but I also wanted to be approachable so didn’t want to be too formal in a suit. I also wanted to be feminine, girly and pretty as this is what Rapunzel’s Tower is all about. So I decided to go with a black and red poppy dress and black tights. Flat shoes were a must as I felt I would be standing for a lot of the day. I also decided to wear a red and black bow in my hair which can be bought from my shop and I also curled my hair with my amazing curling wand that I got at Christmas.
We got up bright and early at 7am and set off at 8.30am, arriving at the venue at 9am. This gave us an hour to set up. I had practised my display on my living room floor a couple of days before so I knew where I wanted everything to go. My hubby came with me to help bless him! We set up, put the empty boxes back in the car, had a walk around to see what other traders were doing and had a cuppa and we were all set!!
I was so nervous about chatting to people but once I got into the swing of it I realised that I was able to give people advice about what hair accessories would match their dress and offer to find them the right accessory for their needs. My mum, brother and his girlfriend also came down to support me which I really appreciated. It is nice to see a familiar face at these things.
We were in a room with some fab exhibitors who I have to mention:
The first is Jo Bennett – a very talented photographer based in Leeds who has some great wedding packages at very reasonable prices and is a really lovely lady.
The second is Randyman productions – a fab DJ and very fun guy who kept us entertained all day with his tunes. He is also based in Leeds and is willing to play any type of music you require at your reception.
The third is Bridal Designs – A bridal shop based in Doncaster who held two fashion shows during the fayre and showcased their lovely dresses and made me feel like I’d love to get married all over again!
So, a fun day was had by all and I am very much looking forward to my next fayre on the 11th of March at the Glasshouse, Kirk Sandall, Doncaster. Doing my first fayre taught me a lot about myself and what I am capable of in business, despite suffering from M.E. It also showed us what we were doing right and what we could do better next time. There are already things I will do differently for my next wedding fayre. I am going to make sure that all my items are individually priced rather than looking at price sheets and I am going to take a folder with photos of my other items in case I don’t have the things people want with me. I also need to encourage more people to sign up to my mailing list. My first fayre however was a positive and enjoyable experience. I hope it leads to lots of new orders but if not it was a good experience to learn from. I have to say that by the end of the day I was exhausted and in pain as the M.E. had well and truly kicked in and I am suffering today, so I am going to take a week to recuperate before preparing for the next fayre!
If anyone came to see us yesterday and needs any more info please do not hesitate to contact me.