The first weekend of December here in Stoke on Trent was far from sunny… it was bitterly cold, icy and foggy with the residue of the previous week’s snow but after the panic and worry about missing the Contemporary Craft Shopping Experience due to the weather conditions, we got there ok!!
Sunday 5th December 2010 saw an early start as we were out of bed, car packed and ready to leave by 5:30am for the drive to Warwickshire Exhibition Centre. This is the first time we have attended this event so nerves were setting in and we really didn’t know what to expect but off we went and once we were out of Staffordshire there was no sign of snow or ice, just a foggy wintery day.
We were met in the car park at the venue by the lovely Claire of Lady Luck Jewellery who organised this event… before we arrived we knew there had been extensive advertising and lots of work gone into this event so to finally meet the ‘face behind the name’ was lovely, we were instantly made to feel welcome and more relaxed.
We unloaded the car and were very surprised (in a good way) to find out that the venue supplied trolleys for moving our stock, which saved us from carrying all of the boxes of stock – we’ve been talking about purchasing a trolley for a while but haven’t got around to it yet. Seeing how much difference the trolley made has made us more determined to find one suitable for taking in the car with us!!
Claire showed us to our allocated space and we had everything set up in plenty of time which gave us a chance to browse other stalls and chat with fellow crafters/stallholders who we know from the Crafts Forum, Folksy and Twitter. It was lovely to finally meet the people we have been chatting to online for years but never met in person. After lots of chattering and looking round it we had our morning coffee and it was time for the event to open.
The event was very well attended with people spending lots of time browsing the various stalls, all of which were handcrafted goods of high quality – this event is very strictly handmade, allowing no bought in or mass produced stock. There were some visitors who stayed for most of the day, stopping to chat and complimenting our products, browsing and chatting before returning to purchase. It was a lovely atmosphere and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.
There was a very wide variety of crafts on display at this event, lots of very talented people and some gorgeous gift ideas. Everyone was so friendly and happy to talk about their products, how things are made and generally spend time with customers which is something which isn’t always seen at events.
The photographs here show only a small selection of the stalls which were at the Contemporary Craft Shopping Experience – there were over 100 stalls present.
As you can see there was a huge choice for anyone looking to do a spot of shopping, whether for Christmas gifts or to treat themselves. There really was something for everyone.
There was also a lovely gentleman at this event with two baby Alpacas… well eighteen month old boys – I spent ages chatting to him about his own herd of Alpacas, the history of the animals, the breeding and where they are in the wild. He was a very knowledgeable man who was happy to share his knowledge on their beautiful animals.
How cute are these?
All in all we had a fabulous day. We met lots of crafters we have only ever spoken to via the internet, met other card crafters who asked us to stay in contact to share ideas and advice and met lots of lovely customers. This was our biggest event to date and as such our sales figures were reflected in this.
At the end of the day Claire came round to talk to us all, thanking us for attending and asking for our feedback, as she had throughout the day and it definitely made us feel more welcome and settled knowing that if we had any problems we only had to speak to Claire as she was always on hand and willing to help in any way she could.
We have already asked to put our names down for the 2011 event and look forward to seeing you all there!!
Huge thanks has to go to Claire of Lady Luck Jewellery who organised this event and put in so much work to make it the success which we all enjoyed!! Thank you Claire, we look forward to seeing you again soon!!
Love Laura and Gordon xxx