Poor Simon. Last Monday he woke up at 6:55am to hear ‘I’ve had an idea’. Some 2am thinking and inspiration from other yarn folk had led to the thought that The Loveliest Yarn Company needed a stand at The Knitting and Stitching Show. Since then, it’s been one of the best and busiest weeks of my life. It’s been full of ‘Doing things’ which I love. It has also been a week of ‘Learning things’ so I thought I’d take a few minutes to share them with you all.
1. Large, exhibition style S-hooks are like unicorn tails
Similar to the ones that you hang utensils on from a rail (unless you are like me and use a large mayo jar), these magical items are used for suspending things from exhibition stand shells. Could I find them, could I heck! I was saved by Wendy Ward of MYI who I don't know but found when I saw she had exactly what I was looking for on her stand last year. I emailed and she emailed me straight back for which I am very grateful. Wickes, the only hardware store in the country that I hadn’t been in!
Definitely not an S-Hook! I had bought these in desperation but it's Wickes here I come!
2. Screw Fix is like Argos
An Argos filled with men being men who looked at me like I had just landed when I squeezed myself into the packed waiting area. I thought it was a shop where I could ease myself in and see if I could find what I wanted but no. The helper asked me if I needed help 5 times while I desperately tried not to look out of place while scanning the catalogue for hooks/s-hooks/clamps. In the end I just had to leave, my brain actually stopped working from being stared at and asked if I needed help.
3. A logo'ed ink stamp is great. Trying to stamp 500 bags with a logo’ed ink stamp is less great.
Rustic, perhaps. Practical, not at all. Sorry if you get a bag from ‘The oveliest arn Compan\’ … ok, those ones didn’t make the cut but there might be a few that snuck in. Next time stickers, definitely stickers!
This didn't make the cut!
4. An optimised Strategy for Van Packing is required
30 minutes unloading time definitely focuses the mind. I’m proud of my brain for thinking about this. I can’t take any credit because the following just literally popped into my brain ‘You need to pack the van so you don’t have to unload everything, just what you need and leave the rest in a logical order for restocking’. Honestly, I have no idea where that thought came from. I think it must be subliminally included in the Exhibitors Guide written by the events company running The Knitting and Stitching Show!
Honestly, there is a plan here!
5. The logistics of running a show this big are astonishing
I am proud of my Sunday chicken roast, it’s pleasing when everything is timed to all be ready together. I’m now also pleased with my van loading plan but I am awed by the detail provided by the Event Company! Everything from the velcro compatibility of the shells to the exact unload slots and many other things have been thought of. The show is in the planning for a while and they are well practised but I was so impressed with the ease with which it was possible for a completely green show attendee like myself to read the guides, follow their checklists and feel comfortable with what needed to be done.
6. There are lots of options when it comes to a stand
I have been to many shows as an attendee and I’d thought about stands but some of the options hadn’t occurred to me. There are lots of options for ‘Space Only’, Shells, furniture, lighting, phone lines etc. There is even an option to have a special distribution company move stock from your warehouse and restock your stand for you at night. It’s awesome to get to be there with companies who need this. Not quite for us just yet, perhaps next year ; )
7. You can get a lot of stuff very quickly from the internet
Ok, so I know this but since starting out it is amazing, particularly business to business, what you can buy. I’m most pleased with the two gorgeous table cloths that arrived this morning from XLDisplays who are based in Peterborough. Truth be told, I can't believe I own these!
Ready for a good ironing!
8. You can write all the lists you want but you will forget something until the last minute
Yesterday at 4pm I thought ‘I need some clothes to wear for a 5 day trip to London’ … I can’t promise that I won’t wear the same pair of jeans twice.
9. Shop Samples need to be corralled much earlier
I think about my shop samples more as demonstrators than samples as I believe it’s not just how yarn feels when you knit it but how it wears but I should really leave some items alone – cold washing my beloved Cara last night was less than ideal.
But in better news, my Filey gloves now have buttons!
10. Sixteen socks for a display was a great idea but a tall order
The idea to make a little sock in each of the Coop Knits Sock Yeah yarn was a good one – if it had been a few months ago! One thing about knitting so many socks though, is that it has been a great way to improve my sock technique … I would definitely recommend it. Once you have turned 6 heels in quick succession, you definitely improve! : )
Progress so far!
There are of course things I did know. I am very fortunate to have great people in my life. Family, friends, customers and suppliers have been amazing. No one said ‘Perhaps it’s a little bit last minute’, everyone said ‘What can we do to help’. From my mother cancelling her plans to fly over and do the show with me to the rush order with extra show kit that I received from West Yorkshire Spinners in less than 24 hours, the support and help has been amazing.
Now, I have a van to pick up and pack up so I better hush up … and you’d never know, I might fit another sock in!
Hope to see you there (Stand C28... not that I haven't mentioned it about 50 times recently!) or if not, don’t worry, I have kept back some of The Life in The Long Grass for a shop update as soon as the show finishes x.