On the Coronation weekend 5th - 7th May 2023 we took Enamelhappy to the Campervan Campout at Ardingly's South of England show ground, I thought I would tell you all about my experience.
Through my instagram account I realised that lots of my customers were campervan, caravan or motorhome owners, so I'd been looking out for this kind of event for a while. It was also important to me that it wasn't too far away, although we do plan to travel for events (eventually of course) Our youngest son is still 13 and I don't want to drag him to events all the time, if they are not too far we can get a balance. On this occasion my husband was able to join me, as we drove a van there and back each day (this was so tiring even though only 45 mins from our home, so we may decide to stay onsite.) My son tagged along on the Saturday but took the chance to leave early as was a little bored as it was pouring with rain too, so didn't really fancy looking around so left when my elder daughter and mum came to visit, another nice reason to be local.
Talking of the rain, that actually worked in our favour on the Saturday regarding sales as our trade stand was situated undercover in the 'Makers Market."
On the Friday I had wondered if we were in the right place as most of the stalls around us were food or alcohol related, it felt like the organisers were not sure where to put me! I wondered whether I was better placed in the "Shopping Village" along with Campervan accessories and other general items. But when Saturday came, the heavens opened and the Coronation was put on a large screen for all to see just opposite our area I knew we were in the right place!
I had also thought about if it would affect the event being the Coronation weekend too (obviously they didn't know that when the date was set) but as far as I could see it only added to the mood and energy of the weekend in a positive way, I do not know if it affected ticket sales for the actual weekend but I suspect there were fewer day visitors on the Saturday what with all the heavy rain, but at least we had the campers there and we were able to provide some shelter where we were and they needn't be stuck in their tiny portable homes in the horrid weather.
I absolutely LOVED doing this event, there here we so many smiling people happy to see us at this event it was so lovely! I met lots of my instagram followers and felt like we were old friends, It was so nice to meet so many people that have supported my business and continue to do so, from the start even. Hubby and I could have chatted all day about all things campervan too - we are planning on getting one in the not to distant future.
We met lots of other wonderful trade stand owners too, who shared valuable advice with us, suggesting future events for us to try and we linked up on our socials too.
As for sales I had my best sales ever at an event at the campout on the Saturday - my yellow whistling kettle shone on the stand and people were noticing it from a distance and dashing over, I did feel rather proud I must say. My tea towels sold really well over the weekend, and people loved my camper pin badge too.
I was surprised at the amount of people who asked if my bunting was for sale, I think i'd be mad not to consider getting some made for selling in the near future. I also discovered that due to the lack of space, customers were interested in smaller sized stove kettles, or ones where the handle folds down is also a consideration and mentioned. Beautiful blankets were also discussed and these are now very much on my radar. As well as our kettles coming in more colours of course! - Oooo and bowls!'
What I've learned and tips....
1. Before you book an event really think about if they are your customer demographic, but also bear in mind its also about trial and error. I plan to book this event each year now as its convenient and is only going to get better ( this years campout was the first one to be held in the south for Warner group)
2. Try and be as organised as you possibly can ahead of the event. I made sure I had lots of stock all checked, priced and ready to go, but I was still doing this the night before which I wont do again - ask for help if you can. It works best if you can price items individually I have learnt (rather than a price list) they want to be able to check quickly and sometimes feel awkward asking.
3. Don't be afraid to ask if you are unhappy about the position of your stand at an event - I decided to stay put and not say anything as by I knew we expected heavy rain on the Saturday and the coronation was being shown opposite us also undercover. However, I would have definitely asked if I wasn't happy - go with your gut.
4. Listen to your customers (and other traders) and maybe even take notes for new product ideas or event suggestions.
5. Enjoy it!
Maybe we will see you at an event sometime soon!
Booked for the rest 2023 so far :
Independent Worthing Market Sun 4th June - South Farm Road, Worthing
Carry on Crafting 8th-9th July - Ardingly South of England Showground
John Lewis Chichester Store Pop Up - 27th-30th July
Independent Worthing Market Sun 6th August - South Farm Road, Worthing
Big Feastival 25th-27th August - Kingham in the Cotswolds
Rare Brands Christmas Market - 16th-18th - The Goodwood Estate
National Trust Makers Market 2nd-3rd December - Petworth House