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Posted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:43 pm
by Hinny Annie
We run a business and because its a historic business we have different criteria than say car booters and general market traders.

We have been to many new markets in England and Europe and expect the same things from all organisers. Due to the nature of our business (traditional archery) we sell mainly to re-enactors so we expect re-enactors at the event, we also sell childrens plastic bows and arrows to mops and organisers have to accept that we sell them, there has only ever been one organiser who has taken exception to us selling them and we now dont go to his market.

We have never expected to be paid to to trade and indeed have been peed off on more that one occassion when traders have pretended to be demonstrators and have done nothing else that talk about what they sell, (people who know me know, I can talk a glass eye to sleep about archey) proper demonstrators are a different kettle of fish altogether, and we were at the market that Kate was at in May when we were all museum exhibits and all we sold were the orders people came to pick up.

Send us a list of your events and if we have a weekend free we would be more than willing to attend

Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 8:42 am
by Martin
That is chickenshit
nope Ive heard about this one to, and wasn't it a ready cooked one from Tescos ? (really) :roll: , that's the sort of stunt that undermines the real professional demonstrator IMHO, I can see a fair difference betwixt someone selling items that will only be purchased by reenactors who should receive some form of payment for a good display that keeps the public occupied between shopping and watching the battle, I was waiting to talk to Jim the Pot at Kelmarsh this year and jeeeez that man can talk the hind legs of a donkey when it comes to make pots/ tiles and most things made form sticky dirt and the Mops loved it, they were riveted.
But if your talking about an item with a view to selling that specific item to the MOP your talking to then that's different, you are selling that item to that person, Jim wasn't aiming to sell an Aquamanil (sp?) but was talking about it nonetheless, hope that makes sense :)

Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:30 am
by lucy the tudor
Exactly! It can't count as sales pitch to show a member of the public a barber surgeons shroud needle, copy of the Mary Rose one, and explain its use- not many of them will be sewing shrouds for burial at sea.
Like all these things, it is a matter of balance.
Really we aren't asking for payment in the main, just being treated fairly. If we choose to demonstrate as a part of what we do that is our look out, and I have rarely been asked to do so, but have been thanked by organizers who have seen it happening, and were appreciative- that was actually enough to make it feel worth doing, that and the MOPs being nice and interested.
We all know the events which are good to go to.
If you go to an event run by Mr Bruce or Mr De Bono you will be met by someone who is detailed to help you find your pitch, they will seem pleased to see you, the atmosphere and attitude make all the difference . Little things count, then we come back.

Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:31 am
by The Iron Dwarf
Little things count
and some of us short people are literate as well as numerate ; )

Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 1:09 pm
by lucy the tudor
Wot, like readers digest compact classics?
Lucy :wink:

Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 5:09 pm
by gregory23b
"hope that makes sense "

Maybe the play on words was lost??

Jonex were talking about someone being paid to do that, it was a chicken, I said it was chickenshit.....geddit? eh? gedit? er, no, never mind ;-)

Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 6:35 pm
by greenland_and_game
gregory23b wrote:"hope that makes sense "

Maybe the play on words was lost??

Jonex were talking about someone being paid to do that, it was a chicken, I said it was chickenshit.....geddit? eh? gedit? er, no, never mind ;-)
Yeah we got it.

Talking of trading and demonstrating, had any thoughts about Tewkes?


Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 7:32 pm
by gregory23b
I knew you would, Cowley though.........;-)

Not likely, due to new job and term times, but I will have a thunk, trading will be slimmer than ever for me this year due to work, but I would lik to keep my hand in so to speak.

Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 7:51 pm
by greenland_and_game
Bloody HobbyCrafter :wink: :D :shock: :lol:

if you build it, they will come

Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 8:20 pm
by timbobarnacle
my advice, medieval events, when it comes to attracting traders to a new event, is that you need to actually go out and meet them, go to markets and take time to speak to them, and build a relationship.
find out who does what, where they live, and if it is feasible for them to travel to the event. Also, choose the product to suit your event

Traders are small businessmen/women who have to balance travel costs, pitch fees, and time out when they could be at home making more stock, or time to run a house if they are part time.
In the summer, there is a great choice of events some weekends, and it can come down to which is the closest or which one you will be sure of getting sales - ie the right audience. Norfolk is a problem location wise - so your major selling point may be yourself.

So, hospitality to the fore, keep in touch with the traders, keep them updated with correct timings etc, and be there to welcome them when they arrive, whatever the time, as the plan is bound to have changed when you get on site to set up.

Example, Shugborough Conquest event 2007, (NOT the Norman Group) the organisers all left site at 5pm - need I say more.
Mind you, Hinnie Annie was a devil in skirts that weekend :D

Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:14 pm
by frances
Now meeting and greeting - I had not thought of that. I have been to events where the organiser has not turned up. Just sent someone along with a scribbled map and we had to sort it out ourselves.

One I remember vividly was a very wet one organised by a very large national organisation that has head offices in London. Noone could understand the map, it rained setting up, at the event and packing down. Only four of us turned up and one got so fed up that he went away, had lunch, came back, still no organiser, so he turned round and went home again. Not even a thank you letter afterwards for being there for the MOPs.

One I went to and spent an hour queueing to get in, as the security search was very thorough, and when I found the right area the labels on the ground were a completely different sequence to that on my ticket. It took another two hours to find the organisers hut, hidden away behind some buildings elsewhere on the site, with no indication it was them - I just went into every building and asked - but noone there could help. So that was three hours setting-up time wasted. I was not allowed to park or camp on this site - so had to come in by train every day. When I needed to restock I had to get a train, collect the van, drive back in, restock, drive back - all after 7.00pm.

Then there are events where you are allocated a space too small for the tent. Sometimes I have worked round this by slotting myself in sideways. At one very large event I was eventually put in the back row, next door to a portable photocopier .. and into the teeth of the end of a hurricane. Two tent poles snapped. Almost noone found me, yet I had the same expenses as if I had been anywhere else.

I arrived at one event to find that the organisers had gone out for the evening for a meal, and the doors leading to the site were locked. I could not unload anything. I managed to get in and some nice person let me sleep in their trading tent. Of course I was not ready the next morning when the site opened to the public. And who looks bad??

Then many of us will have attended the event that was rainy, so the organisers told the MOPs that the ground was too wet and sent them away. This was the day after I had come home to swop stock, and found that I had been burgled. I had 3 hours sleep, but still got there and unpacked and was ready on time. But no MOPs - the organiser was turning them away at the door but had not thought to tell the traders. And I still had to pay for the B&B that I had booked and had not used.

Then there are the ones with appalling access. Up lots of steps, gravel paths so deep that the trolley wheels sink into the gravel up to their axles; unloading 100 yards way from the tent position.

How about those where the place to put the van and caravan is 15 minutes walk away from the trading area. One I did not go to again had not allocated enough trader parking nearby - it took me 2 hours to get back to my trading tent (including a row with the campsite organiser who would not let me in as I was not a 're-enactor'). Once back I found that I had been burgled in my absence.

Talking about burglaries - there was one where there was site security, but only for those in the crafts marquee. I had my own tent and was burgled twice in the week at night as the marquee organiser told the guards not to go outside to check my tent as it was not their job. I was not allowed to park my caravan anywhere nearby, although the funfair people were.

At one event I was told to go and park the caravan with the others, but not told where they were. So I looked around, found another caravan and parked next to them - only to be told after the event was open that I was in the wrong place and I had to move the caravan there and then.

Or the organiser who told me to put my caravan in the security area with the others - but when I got there is ws so full I could not get in. So I stayed outside the security area. It was locked at night and I had no access to the loos.

Loos - loos that are only open when the MOPs are there. How many times I have had to make do during the night when permanent loos are locked as normal, even though I am nearby.

Talking of facilities - one organiser was asked where the water point was, and the organiser did not know. Luckily I overheard the conversation and, having been to the site in the past, knew exactly where it was. I later heard that person telling someone else, so eventually we all got to know.

I think my theme might be organisers who like the idea of running an event but ........

Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:25 pm
by The Iron Dwarf
as someone above stated that we should all be self sufficeint (sp) and employ staff if they are needed to maybe look after your stall whilst you try to find non existent toilets or to stay with your stall at night as the site security wont do a thing to prevent it being robbed whilst you go back for more stock or to carry stuff from the nearest public car park because the staff wont let you in to set up or camp near where you trade from.

( personally I would rather the organisers did a bit more in most cases and I would also help my neibours if they needed it and ask them for help if I needed it, that is unless of course they were people who had stated that we should all do everything for ourselves and not need or offer help to others but that we should instead employ staff to do it ).

Im relatively new here and so far have had few problems with events unlike some who have been here longer.
most events I have been to the organisers have been helpfull and have given me the info I needed and have come by to check everything is ok at times.

I have been to many other types of events where there have been major problems like one with no security and just inside the M25 where in the trading area where most were staying in tents people were driving around at night very fast with no lights on their cars who were obviously very drunk and caused several accidents ( due to luck mostly it was just damaged cars, a couple of wrecked stalls and other property damage but it could have very easily been quite a few deaths )

Posted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 6:26 pm
by Tod
I can only speak for myself but agree with some of the sensible stuff above. For me to go to Norfolk and trade at an event where I will sell to re-enactors but not much to the public would be pointless. The re-enactors will only spend their left over beer money unless they know a specific trader is going. I mostly sell shoes and so the chances of me covering costs and making a decent profit is unlikely. Plus I need a lot of re-enactors to be there.
As for the organiser supplying food and drink, unloading or loading my van, looking after my stand whilst I go for a loo break or just about any thing else other than telling me where every thing is, you have got to be having a laugh. I organised motor cycle shows for 8 years all over the country. The traders were self sufficient and required nothing more than a plot, place to park, the loo and public to sell to. If they got all of that they were happy. One thing I found and so have tried not to be is that some traders are a pain in a**e. My team spent more time putting traders back into their plots after they spilt over, closing down dodgy food traders, getting suspect items removed, and getting traders with a guest list as long as your arm to get some of their “helpers” to cough up an entrance fee than any other job.
I intend to trade at about 10 sites next year and all of them show potential for sales. If I make a loss and it is the organisers fault I will not go back with out a large incentive, if I make a loss due to weather or me selling the wrong stuff it’s my problem.
Trading is a risk but either you take it or leave it, what ever it is your decision and you need to think long and hard about what you do and where you go to do it.

Posted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 2:21 am
by frances
Any event organiser is entitled to have anyone they choose to trade, and to exclude people if they do not fit in with the concept of the event. Fine if this is made clear beforehand.

However I am talking about organisers who say one thing beforehand, and when it comes to the event it is different. If there is only half an hour to pack up, they should say so beforehand, and then I would not have gone. If you cannot find someone to help pack, or load, then do not make the offer. Don't accept my deposit and keep it for 9 months, then send it back two weeks before the event with a sorry note on a compliments slip. If I say beforehand that I would like to stay until Monday to pack up, then don't suddenly tell me on Sunday night that I have to leave, or lock the loos up as soon as the public have gone.

Of course there are difficult traders, just like there are difficult organisers. We are all human. But there are so many obvious hiccups that can be avoided. All potential organisers have to do is put themselves in someone elses shoes, and not just think of the potential money rolling in.

Posted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:56 am
by greenland_and_game

If things are so bad, why don't you give up?


Posted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 12:54 pm
by lucy the tudor
I think we need to remember we are all fluffy people and love each other very, very much... :?
As soon as money is mentioned people get sensitive, understandably so.
This was meant to be a thread about how to get people to support new events, I admit I also did the " what not to do " option, which was not helpful.
It is becoming a moaning about bad events thread, and as such is meaning we are all thinking grumpy thoughts at the end of a hard season.
Medievalevents- we all like the fact you were interested in how to encourage us, and will come to your do's if they are likely to earn us enough to make it worth our while, or be fun.
The rest of us need to breathe a bit, we do it partly for money, though it will not make most of us rich. Partly for the fun and reenacting bits, and seeing friends at the weekend.
I have already offended someone I had no wish to, and I can hear other people getting their backs up as we proceed...
Pollyanna the Tudor

Posted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:16 pm
by Tod
lucy the tudor wrote: The rest of us need to breathe a bit, we do it partly for money, though it will not make most of us rich. Partly for the fun and reenacting bits, and
I trade for two main reasons. One to make money and two to maintain an almost dead trade and show people that we can still make things as well as our ancestors.
My re-enacting is seperate as I don't consider showing a people a (period) skill as re-enacting.
Fun? We're British we're not meant to have fun.

Posted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 5:00 pm
by lucy the tudor

Posted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 8:19 pm
by Hraefn
G&G quoth "Jorge, There are also those traders that get paid demo fees for roasting a chicken. That's ridiculous"

But getting paid to roast a chicken AND getting paid to eat it , now thats a good gig :D Though a bit of beef is preferable to fowl.

Posted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:45 pm
by frances
Oh gosh, have I offended you. OOoops. Not my intention at all, I assure you. I was only giving a list of problems that can easily be solved with a bit of thought. No names or dates or places given. Also the likelihood is that if I am having these types of problems, then so are others.

I have had really good events too, in terms of lovely MOPs, excellent oranisers, wonderful weather, helpful traders, gorgeous venues and pretty good loos too.

As you will have gathered I am now disabled and unable to put up my tent or carry goods anymore. Under the Disability Discrimination Act people are obliged to make a 'reasonable adjustment' for people with disabilities, and I have done exactly this for myself. I gave up being a trader.

Posted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:52 pm
by frances

Lots of stock still left, if anyone wants to take a look. :wink:

Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 11:59 am
by Kate Tiler
I'm sorry for wingeing too - it's not often I winge, I'm usually the bouncy, smiley one, talking the hind legs off donkeys and hugging everyone.

I'm just tired, events & stresses of the past two years have accumulated and I think I just need a break.

Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 12:34 pm
by greenland_and_game

Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:04 pm
by Annie the Pedlar
Poor Kate - you are low :(

OK ...... I was one of the people Kate helped and encouraged.
I'm a tad bipolar, was a stressed out teacher, and looking for a way of coping with life.
Being self employed means I'm poorer moneywise but richer in that I enjoy what I do and I can control my work and self induced stress.


You have given me fun and life so whatever you decide to do next you have done your bit of spreading hapiness and making the world a better place. Time to think of number one!

I've got people copying me too, and I think I have to admit I've nicked other peoples' ideas (but having said that most people share in a spirit of friendship). Anyway I hope, and fingers crossed, I think it's true, that the copyists tend to fall by the wayside because they come to realise that it's a mug's game and if it's money they are trying to make, there are easier ways to do it. We do work all hours......
we are artists. If you had gone for a telemarketing job ask yourself what you would have done when you came home and I bet you would have been drawing, designing and making things. This arty thing is like a volcano. You can try and stifle it but it'll bubble through.

So Kate, you do need to give yourself some TLC.
Maybe this is a blip and you'll carry on (I hope so) or maybe you'll wind down a little, change direction, or try something completely new but what ever you do believe it is the right thing for you to do now. Get those positive vibes back. And don't regret anything you've done. You have been a force for good.

Now for trading. When I started I was a fair tart and went to any fair that was offered. A BIG THANKS TO MR SMITH AND MR LLOYD - They're a pair of gooduns - took pity on a poor pedlar and let me in for free (I didn't need a pitch) until I was on my feet and could afford to pay. I then had to have a serious moment and cost in the time and petrol and decided to stick with the fairs where I had made money and take a chance with local ones. And that's where I'm at now.

And on the subject of needing help - I've always found my fellow traders to be absolutely mega lovely helpful people. I do arrive alone and can't put my tent or stall up by myself. Thank heavens for tall people.
(And the diddy people who lend out their trollies :wink: )



Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:12 pm
by medievalevents
This really is getting out of hand guys!

I just wanted some additional advice to keep everyone happy, I didn't want anyone getting upset or stressed!

I understand and agree with allot of comments but not all, I personally try and ask stall holders to my events that I think will be successful, if its mainly MOPs i asked relevant demonstrators and stall holders.

Im sorry some of you have had a rough time with different events etc, but that's what having a business and being self employed is all about, sometimes you have loads of cash/work then you don't its all a risk. And of course as many of you have mentioned its about calculating those risks, I mean im not an idiot I understand you have to do everything you can to make a living as do I!

I think it would be very wise to stop this now!!! Thank you all for your very different ideas comments and experiences, I have taken them all in and I fully appreciate your knowledge and experience. Lets not row any more after all we are all trying to make a living, have fun and educate people!

Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:46 pm
by lucy the tudor
That's pretty much what I was trying for, Medievalevents.
Kate, so sorry you are having such a miserable time, I wasn't having a go about people moaning, just worried that everyone was getting a bit personal and upset, which is a shame.
Trading is usually great fun, lousy money, hard work, cold/too hot, odd in a number of ways, but creative and fascinating in good company and fun.
Sorry Tod!
Let's all go and have some cocoa and toast...

Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:00 pm
by Kate Tiler
Medieval events - you aren't stressing or upsetting me, it's just my own over-reaction because of everything else that I'm dealing with at the moment, and I'm sorry for making you think that I'm having a row with you.

Thanks AnnieP & Lucy. Think I'd better do what I need to do when I get stuck in a rut like this, which is use the computer less!

PS I'm off to the farm to feed pigs - that'll put me straight!

Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 5:30 pm
by Marcus Woodhouse
And if its fossilised chicken sh** I'm buying it from G & G.

(You find your own.)

Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 9:24 pm
by Jackie Phillips
Big hugs to Kate, you're lovely and talented and everything that many of us wish we could be. Do what you want to and don't regret anything that has at sometime made you happy.

On the original subject, I started fewer years ago than it seems. I gave up an ordinary and frustrating job by going part time for a few months. I was lucky, outgoings were low and I needed only the spare room with my sewing machine and a sturdy table.

When I fell into historical costuming, I went to every fayre that would let me in and didn't charge a fortune, travelling all over the country every weekend, and by August I was nearly burnt out - you can't sew all week and go to fairs every weekend. So now I pick and choose, like everyone else. I go where the money is or I go where I know it will be fun. I make it a point of trying somewhere new (new for me) every year and every year it is a lottery of whether it will be good for me or not.

From my experience, what each trader needs is as different as the things they sell. Some need public, different buyers everywhere they go, they'll be the most adventurous in terms of trying new shows in my opinion, especially if the show doesn't clash with other established shows. Some primarily need reenactors and an established clientele, big shows where they are most likely to see the people who know them, will buy from them and introduce their friends. And then there are those who need a bit of both.

The number of new shows seems to be increasing, and yet the number of traders seems to be falling, or at least not growing so much. I don't know what the answer is except that if you get the reenactors and public to come, you'll have traders queueing to give you their pitch fee. It doesn't happen overnight, expecting a show to be huge in it's first years is unrealistic. Get who you can, treat them well, keep plugging it and eventually you may have a show that everyone wants to come to.

My twopenn'orth anyhow.


Posted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 3:12 am
by frances
A very level-headed comment Jackie.

Dear medievalevents - we are not getting at you, really. It is just traders do not have the chance to say what they feel to organisers. After all you have to get on with organisers else you will not be invited back, and the chance of you being able to pay the bills is gone.

I do not trade anymore, so it does not matter what I say now. I have also talked to organisers along the way, as I am not one to hide what I think. But I do know that other traders depend so much upon the organisers goodwill, that they have to hide what they really think.

Organising an event is by no means an easy job. I used to be an events organiser. And when I stopped it was like stopping banging my head against a brick wall. Wonderful.

But I do miss the excitement.