Excluding and banning traders

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Post by frances »

My view of places that do not wish to accomodate me (polite term) is that it is such a shame - for them. They miss the opportunity of having me there looking good, the Mops and re-enactors miss the opportunity of seeing, if not buying, my unique goods, many of which I make myself, and all of which are one-offs. The children miss the opportunity of patting and cuddling the doggie, especially when there are loud bangy noises, and anyone that wants to chat about how to improve/make their costumes misses out on that opportunity. Such a pity. Me? I get a lie-in that weekend.

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Post by Tuppence »

Let me just add that I have absolutely no problem with traders who choose to wear costume for any reason, (whether because they're wearing they're product, or because they like to add to the atmosphere).

What I resent is the implication (sometimes more than that) that because I choose to dress in modern clothes, my costumes are bad.
"Dressing" my stall is very important and I see myself as part of the overall effect. In my opinion, if you are reliant on customers who do not know you or the quality of your goods/research, you are selling yourself as well as your goods.
Have you asked yourself what a potential customer (who does not know you or the excellent quality of your goods) thinks about a trader who does not use their own product.
I take considerably more care in presentation than most of my competitors.

I'm not selling myself - I'm selling clothes.
Fortunately, my work speaks for itself - my customers don't need to see me in the costume, because the quality is blatantly obvious when they look at a piece (or so I'm told), and my research is obvious by the pile of books on the table at any given time.

I'm also lucky enough to be able to operate by reputation and recommendation.

The fact that historical clothing is cumbersome, and when I measure people it is extrememly physical, and I spend a good amount of time tripping over skirts if in kit, also plays a large part in my choice against costume where possible.

Besides, what makes you think that me being in modern clothes means that I'm not wearing my "product"?
On the other hand if you are in civvies you can become your own "crowd" and thus attract people to your stall by "feigning" interest. A customer browsing your stall gives passers by an indication that they can do the same and that there might be someting interesting there.
Good marketing perhaps, but quite dishonest, and unlikely that I'd do it.
That said, I don't really have to, as the friends dropping by for a chat normally cover that area!! :lol:
My personal take on this one is that by agreeing with an organiser to take a pitch at their event as a Historic Trader, you are implicitly agreeing to be part of that event, and to provide that event with extra colour and spectacle.
I'm not, (unless a requirement, as stated above), I'm agreeing to turn up and sell stuff.
To be honest, if the organiser wants me for me in kit, and not for my work, then they can pay me as a demonstrator.
And yes, the Battle of Tewkesbury was in the middle of the 15th century. But the Fayre is advertised as generic "Mediaeval" . OK it's important to keep battle dress accurate (it seems that the wearing of woad has finally been outlawed), but the rest of the show is not exactly Living History, is it?
Which is a fine attitude to have, given the poor organisers keep trying to make the event more C15th, and seem to keep hitting brick walls. (Admittedly the hippy fest down the road don't help...)

As I said, I have no problem at all with traders who choose to, or like to work in kit - but just because I prefer not to, doesn't mean my work is substandard, or that I don't care about it (if I didn't care I wouldn't work for 60 hours striaght to get something finished).
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Post by Drachelis »

I do think that thre is a debate for traders to be in costume when in a specifically "authentic traders" pitch - althoug I have no problem with folk who do not wear kit.

When we do the authentic trader thing we are part of the show - when we are at a multi period show its nice to have different eras to wear. For me wearing kit also shows that big ladies can look good too and I do make large sizes.

I get Ming to dress up cos he looks pretty and seems to attact the ladies in :shock:

I agree with Elsie that dressing a stall is very important, if it looks good with a display and space to browse then it is more inviting to the punter - I am often found looking at the stall after set up and seeing what it looks like from both approaches and full on. I tend to have a "wow factor" outfit at the front - but find that I sell off the dress models because folk can see what the garment looks like.

It is a bit difficult mesuring up in a posh frock - in a tent - so I tend to wear simple things - I do prefer kirtle and surcoat to a houppelande with a turban wrap than a bonnet.

I also tend to work on garments on the stall folk can then see exactly how the garment is made ( it also means that I don't loose too much sewing time.

It takes time to build a business and reputation which Tuppence evidently has - she is going to get clients no matter what she wears. Me - this only being my second season of trading, dressing my stall is of paramount importance . the rep is building though and it is so nice to see so many clients coming back for repeat business.

Pete I think you look very dashing in your houppes .

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Post by Martin Cowley »

(Admittedly the hippy fest down the road don't help...)
ooh soz i have to point out that the hippys were there first if i remember my history correctly,and that the medieval came after so as the markets were kept seperate lets leave em alone,i was put in that area and moved saturday night,maybe 10% of reenactors went down that end at all but the mops loved it,and to be honest they enjoy looking round that area than the aufenti bit,no digs or owt just saying that there is room for both so lets not diss the "hippys" that started it eh :D
only just caught this thread,i have to admit to being a lil un-aufenti this season,top half medieval shirt,bottom half utilikilt,plain black with a sporon,its a military one and im always telling mops its regimental,its the 1st Foot n Mouth Brigade from the peasants revolt,then i show them the big pewter peasents revolt badge (when adam delved and eve span blah blah),my reasoning is a im mostly behind a stall so bottom is invisible,in hot weather you cant beat a kilt and the ladies treat me like a piece of meat :D (hope suzi dont read this section )
there are now few events i put brai's n hoe's on but if i had to as a stipulation to trading there i would do it if only for the organisers piece of mind,but if its not nesesary i wont,as for tuppence dressing in civvys how could it be a problem ? she would look like a MOP and therefore be invisible to other MOPs :D

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Post by Tuppence »

I know, the hippies were there before us - wasn't dissing them (though there was one particular costume stall that I would diss if I had the slightest idea who it was :wink:

have to admit on the rep thing - it's still a touch unnerving when I'm talking to someone and they have heard of me.

my main problem with the frocks is that when I do a full measure I spend a fair bit of it on my knees, and have nearly tripped headlong into the customer more than once! (one of the reasons I now tend to wear fifties stuff at the market.)

plus, as I said, I don't really have C15th kit (well ok I do but it's huge with silly sleeves and can't work in it) - and what would it say for my research etc if I was in Norman at a C15th show??
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Post by Lord High Everything Esle »

I see the traders as part of the show and certainly the organisers do as well or they would be charging us £100 per day and more, like at many craft fairs. I certainly try to give value for money in my goods and in my "presence". I have a number of entertaining stories to tell and amusing ways to re-direct mischievous children without being rude. It's all part of visiting a historic market. I can however appreciate how it might be different where you might only sell a small number of large value items to re-enactors only.

I do however take Debs point about working wear. If you need to bend down a lot you need workwear that is suitable to the job. Again, that's why we dont wear rings because we might catch them on things. (Bad advert for the rings, maybe)
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Post by Tuppence »

Have to admit that I'm in the small number, high value, public really only get in the way :wink: category (although many of them are very interested, and I always answer their questions and talk to them nicely, I fortunately don't need to sell to them).

I also forgot the other reason I don't wear kit - I just don't have the time to make it, I'm so busy doing stuff for other people!

The only reason my norman dress is new (about three years old) is that my other one shrank (shh don't tell anyone I washed it :shock: ) - the underdress is now in its 11th season and a bit raggedy. Decidedly not a good advert :D

Same goes for Nige - poor bloke - last weekend he had to put the stall up, cos i was sewing, he had to wear split hosen, cos I hadn't had time to make him new joined hosen, and then had to buy braies from Jackie, cos I didn't get a chance to finish his.....

My kit comes somewhere down at the bottom of the scale ( the fifties stuff is original).
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Post by Nigel »

bloody good braes though

But when soaked through with 60 million gallons of water they fall down :D At least thats my excuse for my inpromtu flash at Conisborough this weekend durn the tropical storm that hit
Last edited by Nigel on Mon Jul 24, 2006 8:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Deb »

I agree dressing the part does help the image of the market, but tend to go for simple garb, shift and kirtle to be able to work.
Tuppence is so very very right - measuring someone while your in kit is a nightmare, my worst one is stepping on the back of my kirtle when standing up.
also the time to make your own kit is a valid point, I actually made myself find the time to make a new kirtle this year and I'm so glad I did now I don't spend all of my time lobster red from the heat


dressing up

Post by preprice2 »

Having read with interest all comments so far may I say that I just like dressing up.


Post by Saphire2 »

Just an observation after following this very interesting thread.

If fairs/markets have limited room for stalls, and they have the same stalls/people each time, how does the new guy get a chance............

I am not a trader/marketer etc.

I wondered if maybe to solve room problems if this is a the case:

A) you have someone sell on your behalf on their stall,
B) buddy up with another stall holder.

If an explanation was never given as to why they were refused to trade, then I can understand the frustration, especially if they have traded there for years........

People skills...................

I love the markets/fairs and I think that some of the gear on sale is absolutely top notch.........

The variety, the periods they cover are fascinating, especially if you are re-enacting one period to see what other periods have........ I find it truly amazing, and a lot of dedication and hard work goes into it....

I take my hat off to all.

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Post by Saphire »

Saphire 2 is Saphire had a problem posting seems ok now.........
So did it as a guest................

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Post by gregory23b »

"If fairs/markets have limited room for stalls, and they have the same stalls/people each time, how does the new guy get a chance............"

That depends on who is running the market, without any names the process ranges from deselecting existing traders to lotterying traders that have similar goods, neither are nice of you are either evicted or not drawn, but they are sure mechanisms for new stuff to come on line. Also it is down to the new guy to do a bit of elbow waggling, it is as much a sales job to the organiser as it is to the public, if you can convince the organiser your stuff is better, unique etc then that helps, merely saying for example one is a costumier without any qualification as to what period etc then you are up against some numerous competition, likewise with woodwork or ceramics, I could easily see a seller of fine reproduction 18thc china and that would not impact at all on the other potters I can think of.
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