Last weekend I exhibited at The Bristol Artisan at the Arnolfini. Anyone who’s been following my blog or Instagram will probably know I was very excited for it as well as a little nervous about setting up my first professional trade-show style stand. With Top Drawer booked for September it was the ideal opportunity for a practice run and I’m so grateful for the experience if only just for that. It was a lot of hard work and a pretty stressful set-up but I’m so pleased with how the stand ended up looking in the end and so pleased to have received lots of lovely comments about it too.
I made all of my shelving using reclaimed wood from Bristol Wood Recycling Project – a fantastic discovery in itself. The guys there were very helpful and you can borrow their saws and workbenches once you’ve purchased the wood which was super handy. The wood had to be sanded down and waxed so it was quite a bit of work but I felt that using recycled materials with a natural finish was only right to fit my brand’s ethical focus.
I also managed to find a gorgeous little set of vintage drawers from Rhubarb Jumble which was perfect as a place to discreetly tidy away extra stock and packaging materials. I wanted to evoke the feeling of a colourful and eclectic living space as best I could so also used a wooden chair and ladder shelving for my display and added a vase of eucalyptus leaves and a little vintage jug for pens on top of my drawers. I think this worked well to create a feeling of home without being cluttered.
I also added a rail to hang all of my tea towels so the full designs could be seen. This is something I wish I could do at every market as it really helps for customers to get to see the full designs and worked really well. I had planned to get an amazing laser cut sign made but had some issues with timing and so had to give it a miss this time. Considering everything else went to plan, I think I did pretty well. I was so caught up thinking about putting it all up the night before that I barely slept!
The event itself went really well. It was so so lovely to meet a few people I’ve spoken to on Instagram in real life and incredibly flattering to hear that what I do encourages others. The show looked amazing, the quality of work was really high and every single stand was so well put together. Lots of people came along, especially on the Saturday and I hope to have made lots of new Sky Siouki fans who will be ordering online in future. For anyone thinking of attending Designer/Makers‘ next The Bristol Artisan event I would say to expect more of a consumer led event rather than trade and so it’s good idea to have a broad range of products available for sale. Unfortunately I felt that the Arnolfini didn’t do a lot to help promote it which was quite disappointing but thankfully the Designers/Makers team had worked hard to get lots of people through the door. I felt like the event had a lot of potential but whether the organisers are willing to take on feedback in order to improve for next time remains to be seen.
This Sunday I’ll be selling at The Frome Independent so catch me there for all your stone coaster and bird based tea towel requirements! I’ll be near the top of Catherine Hill.