Getting stall holders for new events

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medievalevents
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Getting stall holders for new events

Postby medievalevents » Wed Nov 05, 2008 5:21 pm

Hello all you lovely stall holders!!

perhaps a simple question can be answered here for me, why are stall holders so un keen to try new events?????

As an event organiser myself I sometimes find it very frustrating when I offer excellent advertising, beautiful sites and facilities for all stall holders and never ever charge more then 20 quid a day for a pitch I can still find it difficult to get enough stall holders.

How is anyone expecting to get a new event up and running with the potential to turn it into a yearly event without the help from stall holders, what more does an organiser need to offer?????

Sorry about the whinge just interested??


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Postby sally » Wed Nov 05, 2008 7:51 pm

In my case I'd love to do more trading events, but there are only so many weekends I can take off the day job, I know I'm not the only one by a long shot who has to carefully balance expected return from a new event against the costs involved in taking time off, travel, restocking etc.



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Postby Pilsbury » Wed Nov 05, 2008 8:16 pm

Not been asked, PM me the details and if we are not booked up that weekend we will book with you



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Postby Pilsbury » Wed Nov 05, 2008 8:17 pm

Not been asked, PM me the details and if we are not booked up that weekend we will book with you



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Postby The Iron Dwarf » Wed Nov 05, 2008 8:46 pm

I go to trade at events with lots of re enacters as my stuff is mostly not for the MOPs so if your events have several hundred re enacters going I will be there, or if it is local and inexpensive and does not clash with other stuff and I have the stock.
it is pointless me going a couple of hundred miles round trip and paying more for the pitch than I would take in total.


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Postby medievalevents » Wed Nov 05, 2008 10:02 pm

I understand what you guys have said, but it obviously tricky for an organiser.
I'd love several hundred reinactor’s coming along to my events but if you don’t have the stall holders there not going to come, and allot of stall holders (Understandably.) don't want to come to an event without allot of people because they may not make the money that they have to spend out so its a really nasty circle.

As an example 2 of the events i am running next year are at a place I have been doing medieval weekends at and workshops for the past 2 years we have now increased to a medieval market, and luckily there's an on-site audience of 5000 people without the advertised members of public, even with that in mind I am finding it tricky to get stall holders and all im asking is 20 per day for a site with shower blocks amazing grounds, swimming pool, bars etc etc. :?

I do completely understand where the stall holders are coming from, i myself run a "Have a go Archery" stall and many weekends have not covered my costs. It would just be nice for some people to give new events a go every now and then because you might be surprised!! And i really appreciate any advice or comments!!


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Postby frances » Wed Nov 05, 2008 10:14 pm

It has always been my policy to support new events. As I offer a range of things, not just trading, I often manage to combine two or more activities to make it more effective.

However, I am now unable to attend events to trade without help with the carrying stuff around. And some event organisers have promised me help, but it has not appeared on the day, or they have been reluctant on the day. So I do not go to their events again.

I have always needed a lot of time to set up and pack up, and some venues are now not able to give me enough time, or object to me staying over on the Sunday night in my caravan.

Some venues will not take the dog. Other venues have proved a couple of times that they do not attract enough people to warrent the amount of effort involved.

Some organisers have been very rude to me, so I will not attend their events again. The occasional organiser just does not want me and my goods to be there because my goods or my tent are not authentic enough for them, or because other people object.

I am not naming names, and nothing personal, but being totally honest.



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Postby frances » Wed Nov 05, 2008 10:21 pm

Forgot to say -

Trading on its own is an expensive and risky business. Particularly so now with the economic and weather conditions.

Can you can find a way to make it less risky. Say, offer a fee or find some way to book people with a formal contract, or work with another local organiser of something so that whilest in the area two or more events are covered?



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hi

Postby medievalevents » Wed Nov 05, 2008 10:21 pm

Im very sorry to hear that and it does not seem like you have had much luck with some organisers.

In my opinion an organiser should do everything he can for the stall holders/entertainers as without them there is no event, and we wouldn’t make any money or have future events when possible I always allow the day before the event to set-up and the day after to pack away and try to offer each individual person assistance, i have found that I normally need to have 2 or 3 stewards/assistants with me to help and everything works fine!! I defence of organisers obviously sometimes its very hectic and there’s 20-30 people all needing help at once which can be difficult, so always get assistants!! :wink:


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Postby seamsmistress » Thu Nov 06, 2008 12:53 am

It seems to me that there is some truth in what you say. Traders tend to follow successful events, rather than be involved at their conception and the early days.

Could it be that the low pitch costs cause a degree of suspicion? As an example, I received an invite today to an event where the pitch size I'd need would cost £240ish and they were so proud of their expected audience of 1,000! [and we usually cut visitor no's down to a 1/3, because who can tell??]. Now, if they could only prove to me that all of those wanted what I sell, I'd probably take the risk. However, I've been party to many events which have cost a fortune where we've been very attractive to the public but where that public has no need of the services or products we were assured would be in demand. 'The carrier bag brigade'.

Which is why we focus on re-enactors and with an assurance of plenty of those, of course we'd be interested.

As Sally said, it's balancing getting time off work for those who are part-time in the industry, against the costs of vehicle hire, fuel, stocking up for the event, not to mention the feeling of valuable production time wasted if it all falls flat.

For what it's worth, I believe the old adage Build it and they will come. Concentrate on making each event a really spanking do from the re-enactors point of view, assign and spend a huge amount on marketing and publicity so they are not merely performing in front of each other and they will go home happy and wanting more - and demanding to know from their friends who trade why on earth they were'nt there and they'd better be next year - or else!

I've only been at it 10 years, there's others out there who have much more experience, but I'm sure they'd tell you about how hard it was in the early years of each major successful event on the annual calendar. All of them started small........



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Postby The Iron Dwarf » Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:35 am

most traders would sell mostly to the public so at a small event they have still got a reasonable sized customer base and I do try to support new events too ( like chatteris maybe 20 traders and 60 to 100 re enacters ) but that was not far or expensive, this weekend im doing derby ( another new event but at this time of year events are getting rare and it is indoors ).


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Postby G Cooley » Thu Nov 06, 2008 10:46 am

Can I turn the tables a little and ask why you want traders at the event?

I shall then be a little controversial and answer my own question. I suggest that an historical market is part of the entertainment. You would not expect a reenactment group to turn up without a fee to cover their costs yet you expect traders to pay a fee for attending your event.

The above comes across very blunt but it is not intended to be so. Can I suggest you need to ask why you want an historical market and then establish how you are going to meet your needs.

From a personal point of view we sell high value pewter ware and as such we will sell very few historical items to the public. In addition reenactors who buy will often save up and we will see them several times before they buy. We therefore have a range of historically inspired giftware to attract the public but even with this, due to the small percentage mark up, we need to sell quite alot to cover our costs for an event.

In addition we are reenactors first and traders second so we do not wish to trade at a large number of events. Hence we pick those events where we are almost guaranteed to sell enough to make it worth the effort.

We have recently been offered an event similar to the one you describe with the locals being affluent so that we stand a good chance of selling enough to make it worth while. But the market is located in the village square and we have been advised it would be sensible to pack away our stock on the Saturday night. Thats 2 hours Saturday morning setting up, 2 hours Saturday evening taking down and this is repeated on the Sunday. That makes for a very long weekend when we will be working on the Friday and the Monday. It will not be enjoyable so it will have to be profitable to make it worthwhile. Will we do it?

There are a large number of markets because they are part of the entertainment. If they are part of the entertainment try treating the traders as such and you may get a better response. Reenactors will only buy so much and if they want pewter they only have to come to the main winter markets, or ring us up, to find us.

Graham



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Postby lucy the tudor » Thu Nov 06, 2008 1:27 pm

Hmmm,
I would have to agree with other traders who have posted, there are many reasons we don't often jump at the offer of new events.
People new to organizing events will occasionally offer things which they then don't follow through. Sometimes that can be as simple as hot drinks if the event is likely to be cold, or food, which can make all the difference to comfort and expense. Even having to pay £5 a meal for a burger and a drink twice a day can eat into lean profits. If this has been offered and is not provided in a way it can be taken- not wishing to be harsh but at a do recently there was food and drink in another building but it was not able to be consumed at the place I was working, and the previous offer of someone to watch my stuff whilst I availed myself of it did not appear. If I wanted to eat or drink, or go to the loo I would have had to leave my stock in a room with no one else in it but public, and take a chance. One feels mean in complaining to the person, but hungry, thirsty and a bit uncomfortable for the do, and so probably will just wuss and not go back. It is not fair to assume all new people will do this, but it does make one tend to go for what you know.
Poor advertising is the scourge of many new do's. It is often promised but when you get there it is almost impossible to find the event, let alone the road signs and local posters you would hope for.
A friend of mine is being encouraged at this moment to go to an event as a demonstrator, as they are short of support , voluntarily, at his own traveling expense.They have been told there is nowhere secure for stuff overnight, they are expected to be working till half an hour before dark, the event will proceed no matter what the weather, and there will be a cafe and beer tent on site at which food may be purchased, or they are welcome to take their own!! ( I should hope so). On consulting the websites for the place it will be held, there is no sign of the event happening, so chances are it will end cold, wet and hungry in a field with no public, and a few other disgruntled reenactors and or craftsfolk and traders.
If one has kids at a do, and the other entertainment is poor, costs of feeding and entertaining them rise considerably- a playground such as at Bodelwyddan actually makes a massive difference to how the day goes off...
Your event with swimming pools etc does sound lovely, but we seem to be talking about a holiday/camping park here. How much we would sell to people who like that sort of a holiday is debatable, so then we have to look at the market, as has been stated, as part of the entertainment, and consider paying folk to demonstrate some of their craft, with the offer of being allowed to trade as a top up to a minimal fee for expenses. As historic traders we don't all have a large stock of suitable trinkets for the public, there are only so many people who can sell wooden swords and shields, and the profit margin is tight. People who go to camping parks often do so to keep the costs of their holiday down ( we did when camping was more of a treat for the kids than a necessity)
How much of our time we would be able to allocate to hanging out at the pool or bars, however lovely, is somewhat dependent on the trading and setting up time, and how much energy we have left after a hard day, and probably a long journey. It is surprisingly tiring being jolly all day, even to those of us with a basically sunny nature!

So what is the answer to getting us there-
Footfall of visitors, can't be guaranteed in bad weather, but telling us exactly what advertising you are planning is a good start, then following through and doing it.
Provision of free pitches/appearance fee for traders who are to demonstrate a bit, with a clear idea of how much trading/demonstrating is expected.
An idea of food availability and a discount or caterers vouchers to offset costs.
A location, so we can work out how far something is away, straight away, it is enticing and fun playing guess the venue, but it doesn't make us want to book, just to look.

Oh and of course, if you can arrange to have it when there is no other big event same weekend, or indeed very close to it within a month (MOP boredom thresholds are low)

Telling us roughly how many reenactors you expect is always helpful too.

I know we want a lot here, and it is hard to start events, but it is also hard to trade- we have to make this stuff, or buy it and stand the stock costs whilst it waits to sell, vehicles are getting more expensive to run.
Even as a person trying to make a whole living from different aspects of historical work, there are other aspects of life to fit it around trading- children who go to enough events already, and need to be bribed or beaten into submission, school work to fit around traveling etc. Other appearances at historic venues which use up valuable weekends. General exhaustion, and a huge choice of events to go to already.

I admire you for having a serious go at this, I sincerely hope you do well, i hope to come to some of your events next year, by asking the questions you seriously show the right attitude to getting it to work.

There is a living to be made in trading, there is a living to be made in organizing, but both are not for the faint hearted, or the workshy, and we need to work together if we are to succeed.
Lucy


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Postby The Iron Dwarf » Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:19 pm

all traders are different, all need different things from an event.
from reading Lucys post and others it would seem that a volunteer would be handy to give general assistance to some traders be it helping the less able with setting up etc or a loo break for traders on their own, this person could also do other things at the same time as long as there was a volunteer who the organisers know to be reliable and who was around to be called upon.
that would make a lot of things easier at events of all sizes.
also as stated by Lucy keeping traders informed of probable attendances and advertising would make more likley to go ( maybe you could give the traders flyers for your event so they can help with a little advertising at previous events as that would benefit them and you ).


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Well

Postby medievalevents » Thu Nov 06, 2008 5:09 pm

Well I guess thank you for some of your comments, I agree with some and think some are ridiculous however it has opened my eyes to a few things and I hope in future I can offer some of the requested things!

But please remember event organisers are not millionaires and most events DO NOT have big budgets to pay people to come and sell items, every market stall holder and car booter in England would be rubbing there hands with glee if they got paid to go and sell there wares, and without those traders a market, craft event or car boot would not be able to happen so surely its give and take! And sometimes taking a risk, as I said previously I also do have a go archery, sometimes ive made a fortune and sometimes I haven’t made enough to get home so I do understand the risk.

I believe I offer very good events at a very cheap price and I hope give as much support and assistance to all that attend, for which I believe they are very grateful, and I also appreciate everyone taking the time to give me there ideas/advice and will definitely bear it in mind with my many future events!!

Thank you all very, very much!!!! :wink:


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Re: Well

Postby Eric the well read » Thu Nov 06, 2008 5:35 pm

medievalevents wrote:Well I guess thank you for some of your comments, I agree with some and think some are ridiculous
But please remember event organisers are not millionaires and most events DO NOT have big budgets to pay people to come and sell items, every market stall holder and car booter in England would be rubbing there hands with glee if they got paid to go and sell there wares,


a) I'd love to know which are ridiculous.
b) No you'd not have car booters giggling with glee because we're talking about different things.
There are a number of traders who go out to display to the public with very little hope of sales because they're expert at what they do and are interesting to the public. They spend all day doing their best to make it interesting to the MOPS and they are employed to do so.


There's a bit of difference between someone selling plastic shields and swords........

Regards
Eric



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Postby medievalevents » Thu Nov 06, 2008 5:59 pm

Eric, I am quite aware that they are slightly different issues my point was that it is ridiculous to pay someone to sell something, you are completely correct that stall holders that offer entertainment and display a craft such as Jim the Pot, Black letter for example can charge a fee because they are offering additional forms of entertainment for the MOPS I have no argument at all with this. And there are allot of traders who do this and charge a fee because they are skilled enough to do so and do fantastic work, surely you can not be suggesting that every stall holder should charge a fee????
I wish I could guarantee every stall holder would take a fantastic amount of money and that the events would all be excellent but as you are aware that’s not at all possible. I don't have the funds either (Neither do allot of organisers.) to offer free food and drink to stall holders, I can however offer then well advertised events in nice locations with excellent facilities and as much assistance at my events as im physically able to do and I wish the people that hired me to do events had endless pockets so I could pay everyone to come along, but frankly that’s never ever going to happen!!!

I did not start this conversation with the idea of starting an argument or causing upset to any stall holders. My idea was completely the opposite, I wish to learn as much as possible for future events and try and do as much as I possibly can for you lovely stall holders. So please don’t take offence just because I don’t agree with you!!


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Postby Kate Tiler » Thu Nov 06, 2008 6:08 pm

Yes I'd like to know which are ridiculous too!

I demonstrate. I trade at a very few events - only LHF in March and November, last March I was invited & went to TORM and for family & personal reasons I can't attend this November. I also traded at an event this May which was at a new location, albeit a seasoned event with long established organisers & traders.

I offer a very specialist product and spend the vast majority of my time talking to people who have an interest, but no interest in buying. I also seem to spend a lot of time speaking to other people who are looking to set up in business & who want to pick my brains, or who currently re-enact as a hobby and are looking to give up the day job!

I trade in order to promote my business, my demonstration work and my work in schools.

At the LHF I sold 5 tiles on Saturday. I sold none Friday, none Sunday. My stall cost over £160, I travelled to & from the fair each day, about 3 hours drive, roughly £100 worth of diesel. I packed up alone, and was the last except Annie P of the 'small' traders to leave that end of the fair.

Last March I sold 2 tiles. At TORM I sold one... I'm not even going to dwell on how awful the other event in May was...

Can you understand why I demonstrate and don't trade very often?

(OT - Can you also understand why I get fed up reading other trader's moans & groans about how they are starving?!)


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Postby medievalevents » Thu Nov 06, 2008 6:23 pm

Once again please let me restate that i mean no offence to anyone, and maybe the phrase ridiculous was a bit harsh, I simply do not agree with paying someone to sell there stuff! If your a demonstrator that also happens to sell some items that’s a different issue!

And as I stated previously I have no problem with paying demonstrator stall holders and if/when I have a large enough budget to do so I do have those forms of entertainment, and can completely understand why some stall holders change to demonstrators. But surely you can understand that for an event to become bigger and bigger and bigger and the budget to increase to the point where an organiser can have a large enough budget to pay demonstrators they need help at the beginning and stall holders that are willing to take the risk of going to new events.

At present I am trying to get 3 weekends sorted for next year, I have most of the stall holders I require and I hope that they will grow every year, but it is very difficult to start new events without the support of the stall holders.

And to answer a previous question I have decided to add a medieval market to some of my events as an additional form of entertainment on top of the living history and archery encampments!

But please guys and girls I mean no offence to anyone at all, that was not the object of the thread, just advice and info was required!


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Postby The Iron Dwarf » Thu Nov 06, 2008 6:36 pm

I am not one of the traders who I think should get a fee but my wares are a bit specialised, at most events I go to I do sell a reasonable ammount.
I have been to very small events that are new and other events that are bigger and sometimes not covered fuel let alone pitch fees but that is my problem.
I will be a little choosey about events and go to the ones I think I will do well at but one thing that would encourage or discourage me would be the ammount of info avaliable from the organisers and wether it tallys with those who have been before, I know some organisers 'talk up' their events and I cant blame them really but it is good to get an idea of the facts too.
also the weather on the day can make a lot of difference but that is not your fault.
I recently went to a new land rover event which though it was much smaller than the one it replaced and the forecast was bad but had lots of buyers and sellers inspite of it being rather pisistent you could say, I will certainly be there again next time.
maybe after a few more events I will try one of yours.
the pitch fee to me is only a small part of the cost but I do always look at events that dont cost me too much to attend


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Postby mogey » Thu Nov 06, 2008 10:13 pm

Can I gatecrash this thread to offer what attracts me as a MOP regards stalls?

All my large re-enactment purchases for my daughter are thought about in advance, and in these cases I go to the event with the intention of buying them. One problem I have found with some events is the lack of information on the event website as to which traders are going. If I am after a specific item, I am unlikely to go unless I know that the relevant traders are there.

If I am going to an unknown event I try to support traders, especially those I know, but I am unlikely to spend very much at any one stall (and I suspect the same is true of people who are just going for a day out.). I tend to have a set amount I have set aside to spend for an event, including entrance fees – the more expensive it is to get in, the less the traders will get.

Chris



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Postby G Cooley » Fri Nov 07, 2008 5:23 pm

Having read the above I don't think medievalevents and I are that far apart.

There is broad agreement that a market contributes to an event and that demonstrators should be paid where possible. Also in order to attract traders you need to be clear about what you are providing and if you promise something make sure it is available.

I too would not normally expect a trader to be paid to attend an event. However, trading is hard work and can be harder than reenacting so if the event involves long travelling, is only one day, does not have good attendence ect.. there should not be that much surprise that traders are unwilling to commit to an event.

Equally if we do say we are going to an event we will do everything in our power to attend so as not to let the organiser down. There has to be some give and take.

Graham



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Postby frances » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:51 pm

You said "it does not seem like you have had much luck with some organisers".

I'm not sure that luck has much to do with it - except the weather!! Did I tell you the one about ... I booked an indoor stall with lighting, and was given an outdoor stall without lighting.

What about the recent well-known one where it rained a lot so MOPs would not get off the path into the puddles to view your stall, and when you asked for hay bales they said they had none. Wot - no wet weather plan? Then I talked on a later occcasion to the permanent traders on the site and was told about the row they had with the organisers a week prior to the event because their car park was completely filled with hay bales and there was nowhere to park?

Or the good venue that opened after refurbishment but put the wrong date on the advertisement and noone came? Or the one where two members of the public came all day and the young, fit, male organisers did not even stop to help me pack up, but buzzed off and left me without even a trolley. Or the one where the public were taken from entertainment to entertainment and then escorted off the premises without being given a chance to see the traders, located at the other end of the field.

Or the organisers who have come up to me and said that the place had to be cleared, with half an hour's notice, so that the next event could take place there.

So much of this type of thing has happened, that I think that current traders must be very wary of attending new events.

And about paying for traders. If you want traders who buy in stuff made elsewhere from a plastic gazebo, then maybe they should not be considered for payment. But most re-enactor traders are great specialists and experts in their fields. Like me they spend more time talking, advising and listening, than actual selling. They are part of the show. If organisers would like such people to attend, complete with good stand and authentic costume, then a fee should be budgetted into the event accounts.



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Postby greenland_and_game » Sat Nov 08, 2008 12:45 pm

In my experience, most events on the medieval/multi-period circuit are well organised, well attended, and INEXPENSIVE. The organisers have been on hand to answer questions and take appropriate actions when adverse situations have arisen.

Traders are business people, and should therefore be responsible for how they operate. They should NOT expect others to assist in the running of their business. It's their responsibility to ensure they can set up and take down their tent/stall in the allotted time as stated in the warning orders sent out prior to the event. It's their responsibility to have the appropriate staffing levels. It's their responsibility to provide food and drink for themselves. When I've been at an event by myself, I ask the stall holder next door to keep an eye when I need to go to the W.C. I make sure I've prepared something to eat and drink BEFORE the event starts.

It's our choice whether we attend a new event or not. Like all business decisions, it should be a calculated risk.

We already pay far less at medieval events than on other circuits. Try going to craft/country/steam events where the pitch fees run into hundreds of pounds per metre of frontage! Of course we're part of the entertainment, BUT WE'RE STILL SELLING THINGS! We ALL spend lots of time talking about our products: it's called a SALES PITCH!

You can't honestly expect to be paid to attend an event AND sell things!

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Postby lucy the tudor » Sun Nov 09, 2008 1:10 am

I still think it's a matter of balance between those who sell stuff they have made, and are demonstrating its use- eg drop spindles as a case in point, I make 'em, I spin with 'em for the MOPs amusement and edification, not that many MOPs are ever going to want to buy them, but lots want to have a go, and photograph their kids doing so. If I choose to sell the more commercial stuff that others do, then I would possibly make a better profit margin, if I had the money to invest in stock made by other people.
He asked for the ideal. I don't really expect to be fed as part of a normal medieval fayre set up, but if they did do it it would make us want to go to their event a little more than the next bloke's who wasn't helping in that way.
A lot of us are not up to the volume of sales needed to generate the fees for the craft fair or country fair market. We are a niche market, and as such an attraction as a medieval market feature to an event, in odd tents, wearing odd clothes. I do understand we can't expect a fee to sell our stuff, if that is all we are doing, or demonstrating stuff that MOPs are likely to have a use for. Or indeed if there a lot of reenactors at a do, we can sell to them and make a living...but if an event is mostly MOPs and we are part of the floor show, being treated as valuable in the little and inexpensive ways makes us feel more willing to try out a new venue, and return to it.
I do try to be self sufficient at do's, but am very grateful for help with tents and such, particularly when it is offered so generously as by Greenland and Game at Boddy- very efficient, and made my set up so much more pleasant.
Lucy


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Postby frances » Sun Nov 09, 2008 1:38 am

Dear F&B, you said "We ALL spend lots of time talking about our products: it's called a SALES PITCH"

I was not talking about sales pitch. I meant talking about the life and times of the event, telling people where the toilets are, what time the joust is, listening to their reminiscences for ages, giving advice on how to join a group, which other stall-holder can help them, advice on how to make things, clean things, why things were like they were in those days, being photographed for a school project, being interviewed for projects, for some historic periods revealing ones undergarments!! ... etc ...etc. Because of the sort of things that I used to sell, I was also used as resource by re-enactors who would pop over to borrow this or that in an emergency.

All of this goes on, and one has not sold anything or said a word about what one is selling. It is a natural part of you being there, in one place, whilst other people are always on the move and more difficult to stop and talk to.

I know that I am not the only peson who does this, and also not the only person who feels that they have been taken for granted by some organisers.

yes, traders and their tents are a lovely backdrop to the main arena events, and somewhere to shelter when it rains, or to get cool when it is too hot outside, or to shelter in the shade at the back of the tent to have a picnic, or to leave a heavy bag whilst they go round the other things, or a place to leave the rubbish rather than walk round with it all day, somewhere to ask for a plastic bag because they have done too much shopping, or a place to feed the baby in peace and quiet, or to calm a crying child when the bangy noises get a bit much, or to give a hot dog a drink of water, or even to amuse a child whilst the parent goes off to the beer tent or even to leave a child all day whilst the parent goes somewhere else.

I have enjoyed doing all these things, and believe that they are part of what one does to make the day an enjoyable experience. People then go off and say what a good event it is and how friendly and helpful traders are.

Very few organisers come over and thank one for doing all of this. Sad. A few words mean so much.



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Postby greenland_and_game » Sun Nov 09, 2008 3:32 am

frances wrote:
I was not talking about sales pitch. I meant talking about the life and times of the event, telling people where the toilets are, what time the joust is, listening to their reminiscences for ages, giving advice on how to join a group, which other stall-holder can help them, advice on how to make things, clean things, why things were like they were in those days, being photographed for a school project, being interviewed for projects, for some historic periods revealing ones undergarments!! ... etc ...etc. Because of the sort of things that I used to sell, I was also used as resource by re-enactors who would pop over to borrow this or that in an emergency.


Yes, and we all do. At every single event last year we talked to the public about all the things you've mentioned. Spent hours during the course of a weekend explaining the historic use of minerals in art and lapidary; pointed people to this group and that group; directed them to the W.C.'s (just so they didn't go behind the tent!); talked about our kit; given people the timetable of events; directed them to other traders...

...but we're doing this for a living. Other traders and re-enactors are fully aware of our need to get on with our job, just as we are sensitive to their need to do theirs. There's nothing we like more than having the banter and interaction throughout the day with our fellow traders and re-enactors. It's what makes this circuit fun.

We can spend an hour talking about a fossil that we probably won't even sell! We do it because we're interested, and we hope people go away having been entertained.

There are plenty of demonstrators on the circuit who do a brilliant job and have crowds around them while they're doing their demos. Of course they should be paid. We've thought about setting up a demonstration. We could grind up minerals for paint pigment and pass round the nice toxic arsenic and mercury laden rocks, but it's more lucrative for us not to do so; therefore we're quite happy to pay a pitch fee.

And what we expect for that pitch fee is: someone to be there when we arrive to direct us to our pitch, W.C's, a water point, a reference in case of emergency, and a visit by someone maybe twice during the weekend just to see how we are. That's it really. The organiser get on with her/his job and we get on with ours.

Again, how we conduct our business is our own affair. From the organisers point of view, she/he want to see a professional set-up with traders in decent appropriate period attire, selling items they deem fit for their event.

Alex


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Postby gregory23b » Sun Nov 09, 2008 5:33 pm

"Eric, I am quite aware that they are slightly different issues my point was that it is ridiculous to pay someone to sell something, you are completely correct that stall holders that offer entertainment and display a craft such as Jim the Pot, Black letter for example can charge a fee because they are offering additional forms of entertainment for the MOPS I have no argument at all with this. And there are allot of traders who do this and charge a fee because they are skilled enough to do so and do fantastic work, surely you can not be suggesting that every stall holder should charge a fee???? "


Well that depends on the deal, I have been to events as a seller and demonstrator, at open events and even museums.


" surely you can not be suggesting that every stall holder should charge a fee?"

Then your question needs rephrasing or your reasoning does.

As has been said above, you want traders at your events where by and large the public are not the ideal customers for many of us, (lots are great for public, eg G and G, etc) hence the lack of take up by people like Graham and me, for example. The logic is that if you want traders to boost the quality of your market because theyt sell unuals items or are dressed up then to some extent they are performing a function beyond merely using a pitch.

Not all traders are the same and many of us have done demos and selling at the same place, it depends on the requirements and arrangments of the venue, but it is far from ridiculous.


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Postby greenland_and_game » Sun Nov 09, 2008 7:08 pm

Jorge,

There are also those traders that get paid demo fees for roasting a chicken.

That's ridiculous :!:


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Postby gregory23b » Sun Nov 09, 2008 7:09 pm

That is chickenshit


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