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Mandy SambrookBears
Posts: 15

I need some advice and know you're just the Gals for the job!

As bear sales have been slow via the shops recently I took the plunge and booked a stand at the British Bear Fair in Hove in December.   The thing is I havn't done a fair before so don't know how many bears I will need to put on a good show.  Also, and more worrying I don't as yet have any bears ready to sell!  Any advice or comments would be gratefuly received. 

Beary best wishes.

rufnut Rufnut Teddy's
Victoria Australia
Posts: 2,725

Hi Mandy, I am doing an Artist Show this weekend, my first one. I am so excited and very looking forward to it.   I know your predicament, I have been working my backside off, to finish things as well with the same fears, not enough stock.  I will have about 8 mohair bears, a few gollies and about 5 to 6 needlefelted items. Luckily mine is only for about 5 to 6 hours.

Have you got any bears that you can put on Display only, that will not be for Sale, that may help to fill your table, also some bear accessories, such as clothes, hats, beaded accessories,  Bear magazines, kits, bear supplies.   Not sure whether that would suit your show.   Good Luck bear_happy

Amanda Pandy Potter Bears
Staffordshire, UK
Posts: 1,864

I haven't done one for years but I think good display is the key element. I used old leather suitcases which were great for transporting them and then used them to get the different levels on your table.
You will need a nice coloured very large tablecloth I had a black and burgundy one that covered the front and sides. I bought metres of material to make mine.
Lighting if you can Clip on spot lights and maybe an extension lead.
Bags and business cards and perhaps flyers.
And of course bears. I used to have no less than 10 and no more than say 20. I do think getting your stand to 'stand' out is key. Don't get too stressed about not having enough bears. If you have to start 'churning' them out it will drive you crazy and it can show in your bears. Better to do a few good ones than lots of OK ones. I am sure others will have loads more tips and don't get too stressed!

Mandy SambrookBears
Posts: 15

Thank you Karen and Amanda for your advice.  I will certainly give it lots of thought.  I agree that quality rather than quantity is what's needed.  Thanks again. 

Beary best wishes.

Chico, California
Posts: 9,939

Shelli Retired Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

Hi Mandy,

I'm not expert as I've only done one show and attended a handful.  I make bears in the 14-20" range usually, and that's what I took to my show.  I ended up with about seven or eight pieces but I filled in the 8 foot table with framed and collaged photos of my work, a scrapbook of adopted bears, a copy of my one published magazine piece, my award ribbon and my nominated skunk piece (Not for Sale!), a guest book for people to join my mailing list, and some pretty faux flowers in pots. 

There are, I think, other considerations when it comes to how many bears to take.  If your bears sell for $500 each, you will probably sell less, so the need to take a lot isn't a part of things.  If your bears sell for $25 each, you will probably sell them all, so to keep from having an empty table or being sold out in five minutes, you should probably stock well up.

I'm sure it also matters how long the show is; one day vs. three days, for example.  Is it a huge show, like Expo, which gets hoards of visitors (even when it's not as "good" as past years?)  Or is it a tiny show, and not just for bears?

I'm getting that "trial and error" are probably the best indicators of how to prep for a show.  I had the great good fortune of having met Donna Mettling at a Doll & Bear show before my Nevada City one, and we corresponded via email, and she helped me enormously to quell anxiety and fill in some blanks.  If you can find someone who's been there who's willing to answer questions (does the promoter provide credit card services for merchants?  will snacks be available at the show so you don't have to be away from your table for long? etc.), then use that person well.

Good luck, and hope this helped.

rufnut Rufnut Teddy's
Victoria Australia
Posts: 2,725

Mandy, just wanted to point something out, my Show was on Saturday, I had sufficient stock to supply, don't panic if you don't have enough, just make sure the quality is there, and your display is up at eye level.  Take a brag book of pictures of your work that you may have already sold, or any display pieces that may not be for sale.

I had plenty of interest but not many buyers unfortunately,  it was important to me that people chatted and took one of my business cards and contact outlets for future interest.   Mainly to get my name out there especially in our local area.

Its funny alot of people were interested in the Gollies more than anything, which surprised me.  And my award winner from a previous show, so if you have something like that to display make sure you take it along.
You will get some conversation and interest happening. I probably could have sold him a million times over. :rolleyes:

Another final thing, were the children with sticky hands, were annoying  bear_angry
I think Shelli had a suggestion to avoid this somewhere from memory. Some sort of bucket.   Also if you don't want people to pick up your pieces, place a note for them to ask permission.

I also did a demo of needlefelting, which amazed many people and got some chatting as well.  So I raise some interest for a workshop at a later date.

Good Luck hope it all goes well.   You'll learn a lot.  ;)

Make sure you send us a post and let us know how it all went too.

Delartful Bears Delartful Bears
Posts: 3,518

I am so sorry to hear that you didn't sell terribly many creations Karen - however it sounds like it was a worthwhile experience, and you got a lot of interest - which will be so worthwhile for you in the future!

Thankyou for sharing your experience with all of us!

rufnut Rufnut Teddy's
Victoria Australia
Posts: 2,725

Thanks Danni, the networking was very worthwhile.:D

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