Posted by Paul Hargreaves on
I am writing this the Friday at the end of a show week, so feeling more exhausted than a usual Friday - I must be getting old
All in all though the show was a major success both generally and for Cotswold Fayre. I haven’t seen the visitor numbers yet, but there was more of a buzz than last year and our stand certainly seemed busier than 2011. It certainly helped that many of our key suppliers were also at the show and working in partnership with us to get their products in front of the retailer’s eyes.
Every year after the show we have retailers say to us, “Oh we were at the show but couldn’t find your stand”, and this despite being in the same place for the last 6 years, so this year we decided to do something about it and bought a 2m diameter Cotswold Fayre balloon complete with 30 metres of cord. We felt that 30 metres might be a little too high so cut it down to around 8-10 metres above the stand. However, despite there being at least 50 metres of clearance up to the Olympia glass ceiling, we were told that the balloon could only be 4.5 metres from the ground! Rules is rules - and no-one could actually tell us why! Hence the campaign on Twitter to “Let the Cotswold Fayre balloon fly!”
I thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the Business Mentoring and saw some very interesting and keen young (and older) entrepreneurs wanting advice at the very early stages of their food businesses. It is good to “give something back” and we are thinking of other ways we might be able to do this in the coming year. I also enjoyed being given the opportunity to present on “Innovation in Food”, and have had some good feedback - one person thinking of changing their business model as a result! Generally the seminars seemed very popular, and there was standing room only at the back for many of them.
One of the challenges we have at this show is being bombarded by potential new suppliers trying to sell their products to us on our stand, which we have paid for to be able to sell, not be sold to! So, this year, a new strategy! We had a “meet the buyer” session each day for an hour at the end of the day, and were able to politely remove people from the stand with a leaflet in about 30 seconds inviting them to this event every day. Over the 3 days we saw 70 potential new suppliers, which was quite overwhelming! In fact, can I apologise here to those who had stands near the Small Business Forum as we got in your way, I’m afraid, particularly on Monday evening!
So all in all, a good show, that is until around 6:30-7:00pm on the evening during clear-up when I realised that my bag containing laptop and camera had been stolen from our locked storage area. Someone - we suspect an electrician - had kicked the panel down and removed the bag. Anyone seeing any suspicious behaviour around that time, please let me know. Meanwhile have a good weekend, whilst I try and get my life back together!