All the fun of the fair

There’s nothing like a deadline to drive you to action, and the offer of a free stall at a spring fair did just that for me a couple of weeks ago. It turns out that in my day job, I work alongside some pretty talented and creative people. In recognition of this, our company hold a Spring fair and a Christmas fair every year in our High Wycombe office so that these talented people can showcase what they do and maybe even sell some stuff. Good eh?

With 2 weeks to prepare, I had to decide what I was going to offer for sale. Clearly I have a lot of chairs hanging around the house, so taking them was a given, but bearing in mind the fair was taking place 2 weeks from pay day and my stall mates were likely to be selling cards and cupcakes, I figured it might also be good to take something a little more recession friendly.

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These certainly put the ‘Husqvarna Viking’ to the test, but despite breaking 5 needles (I’m thinking of wearing safety goggles to do sewing) she did me proud and I had 5 pairs of cushions to sell alongside my chairs. I’ve invested in a button covering machine too, so needless to say I was keen to use it!

So the day of the fair arrived and I’m frantically stuffing the car full of furniture and cushions (in a scene that closely resembled a world record attempt) ready for my 2 hour drive south. I was all set up ready for the 4pm kick off and even bagged a spot near the chocolate machine to keep my stamina up when the crowds arrived. Either that or I was going to coerce my chocolate deprived office colleagues to buy something before they could ‘vend’. One thing that I really enjoyed at this stage was seeing the majority of the things that I have produced all in one place for the first time

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The fair was a bit of a mixed bag. Being a Friday, most people escaped by the back door once the bell rang at the end of the day, so the expected crowds never really materialised. That said, all was not lost – this turned out to be a great opportunity for some market research.

It was really interesting to see which pieces people gravitated toward and the kind of comments they received. The footstool from my last course was the most talked about piece, followed by the tall ships chair and the cowgirls drop-in seat, and I was pretty pleased with that. These are my favourite pieces too which makes me a little more confident in trusting my eye for what works. it was also really nice to be able to show people what I’ve been doing with my Fridays away from work and be ‘Jon the Upholsterer’ not ‘Jon the person in the corner of the office’.

But did I sell anything? Well, 6 cushions sold, 5 more ordered, 2 photos taken of the ships chair to help people ponder its purchase, an enquiry about the re-cover of 12 dining chairs, lots of questions about footstool options and I’m almost out of business cards. I think that was time well spent.

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