Been there,done it and got the proverbial T-shirt! Country Living is over with for another year.
It was a fabulous show and I am really pleased with the overall results.
Country Living is always a great show to do. It is organized to the nth degree, the whole thing is beautifully set out (apart from the amazing 'Walking with dinosaurs' exhibition, this is the most expensive set up at the SECC in Scotland) with design, comfort and of course festivities in mind.
I always dread the setting up for this fair. The hassles, the dragging of stock and props from car park to stand and all the dodging about to get to your own pitch carrying way too much every time. Well, let me tell you dear reader, the Fair Fairy must have been on my case on set up day.
Not only was it not raining (I arrived at 11am and got everything into the halls before the heavens opened and stayed that way over the next four days) but I managed to park right outside the doors and joy of joys I found an abandoned trolley (this is a serious coup) and was able to empty the jeep in only 5 trips instead of the anticipated 12.
I painted the stand in Laura Ashley raspberry (real blood red and so much better than having to use the livingroom curtains!) and it matched the carpet and trim so thoughtfully provided by the organizers. My corner was very festive and colourful but easy for people to get in and out of and see everything.
All my little display ideas, from the heart stamped price tags to red painted baskets, really worked. For once I was really pleased with the set up.
It really is worth putting in the extra effort on your stand. Not only do you get nice comments from passers-by, it really does improve your sales. This whole fair is so professional and slick, you really have to make a big effort if you want to be noticed.
I haven't taken pix of other stands (sorry, thats why I am boring you to death with all these views of mine) as I just didn't have time to wander about at this fair. I was kept consistently busy with a steady stream of customers throughout the show.I think our entire village must have found their way to the SECC at some point over the weekend. I caught up with friends from far and wide, even a girl from school days came up to say hello. That is something I really love about this fair, the friendliness. Not just the way people are wandering around in awe at the fabulous displays and love to come up and chat to you and tell you how much they are enjoying their day out. No, it is the comradely of the stand holders I love. Some you see from one fair to the next, rather like some colourful and mad gypsy caravan moving around the country, others you only see at Country Living, and although you only see these guys once per year, you really pick up where you left off and step right back into your friendship again.
As I have said, there are some lovely people at these fairs. People who want to be friendly, chat and maybe buy your work. You don't even mind the endless questions from would be stand holders who want to know everything (I will gladly tell them who the organizers are and how to apply, a rough idea of costs etc, however I draw the line when they ask where I got this and that and even how I make the stuff. As for those who whipped out a camera to take snaps of my work – forget it) however, there are also the mean minded scum bags who come just to rip you off and steal your stuff. I had some hearts stolen yesterday and the woman was so horrible she scared me rigid. She was threatening and downright nasty, and although I knew damn well she had stolen the stuff she knew I would be too much of a wimp to do anything about it. Those are the people that ruin it for others. It
may only be a cheap little heart that they have nicked off the stand, but I had to make that and why should they just take what they want. I would rather give it away than have them do that. There you go, had my wee rant…..
So apart from the shop lifters my only gripe for the weekend was the break-down. Couldn't get my car within 500yards of the hall so had to run backwards and forwards in the pitch dark and lashing rain. I fell over, have a cut knee and grazes all over my hands. Did I swear, shout and generally lose the plot. Yes you know me, did it in style!!Anyway Country Living is done for another year. It was great. It made up for the losses at Newcastle the other week. It was well worth all the effort.I now have to offload the car. Fill orders from the web site and make more stock for Hopetoun House this weekend.Life goes on………………..Thanks to readers who came up to say hi, I really appreciated it.