Setting Up Shop

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This is how I have spent my time over the summer – “Setting up Shop”. Firstly with 6 other textile companies from the Borders at the Highland Show then I attended the Rolling Hills Music Festival in Melrose and spent a week at the West End Craft and Design Fair in Edinburgh as part of the Borders Textile Trio. This weekend I turned my Dining Room into a “pop up shop” and opened my Studio to the Public as part of Crossing Borders Art Trail. Grace from GraceInk took part in my shop and gave some Fantastic Printing Demonstrations with Mhiaaaaaaaaaari the sheep advertising our venue.

We think we had about 150 visitors over the weekend and we had good sales and a few commissions. It has been lovely meeting so many interesting people, those on the Art Trail, people who just spotted the sign and my friends who are always great at supporting any events I put on. We even had visitors from America and Italy.

Great fun, but a lot of work turning my dining room into a shop in a couple of days. It did look fab but the rest of my house was just stuffed with furniture and things. My children have done reasonably well in coping too. It was certainly less stressful with them all out at school on the Friday. But that is reality and I like that. Especially their welcoming KEEP OUT signs on their bedroom doors. Thank goodness to friends who have taken them out for a few hours just to break up the day.

I think the easy part is making the stock for an event and the hard parts are pricing, packing, travelling, carrying and building your shop, (you should try parking on Lothian Road!!) The loveliest part is meeting people, sales and orders (this gives you a fantastic buzz and makes up for much time spent on your own across the year) but the worst part is taking down, carrying and packing away. Packing the car then unpacking again when you get home – oh yes and the paperwork. So, muscles are obligatory and so is a degree in finding every inch of space in packing a car. I have only done a few events this year but some people are out selling every weekend and making all week. I am lucky enough to work in textiles and not glass or pottery where more precision packing is required. I even met a lady who was sleeping in her arch for the three weeks within the venue – a graveyard. It certainly isn’t glamorous or an easy life.

So what will I be doing for the rest of this year? I have some orders and commissions to work on and a few local craft events. I also have the dreaded paperwork to do and need to prepare myself for The Scottish Trade Fair in Glasgow at the end of January. My new twisty scarves need a name and I think a new style of bag and corsage is required too. Grace and I are planning to run our first workshop together. Hopefully we will put this on just before Christmas. So if you fancy a go at printing and sewing a small gift for Christmas, just let me know……….!

I will leave you with a comment from a visitor over the weekend. “Is this shop always open?” and when I explained it was just for the weekend she then asked if it was “by appointment only the rest of the year”. So feeling very exclusive now and loved the little shop but I am afraid it is all back to normal now.

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