Inkylinky by Liz Samways

After several years away, Liz Samways is back at Design@HEART this year, and we can’t wait to see her new jewellery and prints.

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I’m a Leeds-based jeweller and printmaker, working primarily in silver and copper which is etched & engraved using techniques commonly found in printmaking. My work is inspired by the landscape, as viewed on a flat plane through the train window and aerial views, and is influenced by English landscape painters, printmakers, & surface-pattern designers, as well as my background in garden design. I love the textures, mark-making and unpredictability of the printmaking techniques I use, which I also translate into my jewellery and metal pictures to make pieces which will never be identical.

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Where appropriate, I like to add colour using traditional materials – patination recipes, vitreous enamels, and sepia ink. Exploring the chemistry of these processes in itself provides inspiration which means life is never dull!

 

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How To Choose A Good Fair

For Artists and Makers

By Becky Moore, and with thanks to Alice Chandler and Jane Kay of Sunny Bank Mills Gallery, Anna Urwin of House of Bats and Shaun Vickers  for their contribution to this document.

I know it seems a long way off, but now is the time when stallholders are getting their Christmas fairs lined up.  Fairs are being advertised to stallholders and applications have to be sent in.  But how do stallholders know what is a good fair and what is a bad fair?

Last year, a number of people complained that they’d had stalls at fairs that were badly organised and publicised.  They were really fed up.  So a group of us – fair organisers and stall holders – got together to draw up some guidelines to help people avoid future disasters.

Organising a craft fair is a skill that not everyone has.  It takes a lot of work and dedication to get it just right, but even so, you can’t legislate against bad weather and you can’t force people to come to your event.  But the job of a fair organiser is to put the right stalls and products in front of the right customers.  That takes good curating, knowing your customer base, having a good venue, a marketing plan in place, and all the legalities such as insurance, policies on copyright, and so on, lined up.

The job of the stallholder is to spot not only which fairs are right for them, but also which fairs are well organised and professional.  It’s a tricky business.  And occasionally stallholders get stung.   People have asked “what can I do about it?”.  The answer is very little after the event.  But you can maximise your chances of choosing the good ones by knowing the right questions to ask.  The more people ask the questions, the more craft fair organisers will have to up their game and stop ripping people off.

This checklist has been put together by a team of fair organisers and experienced stallholders.  It is meant to guide you through the tricky process of spotting quality, well organised fairs to sell your goods at.  It won’t tell you which fairs will work for your products or artwork, but it will help you ask the right questions when deciding whether to apply.

Some fairs will have all these points on their websites or in their recruitment information.  If not, then we hope this checklist helps you ask the right questions. And you are allowed to ask!

Remember, fair organisers are selling a service to you.  You are their customer.  Make sure you are getting good value for money and good customer service.

****Download our PDF checklist here:  How To Choose A Good Fair ****

Choose the right fair for you:

Firstly, not all fair-failures are down to bad organising on the part of the fair.  Organisers of a well organised, good quality fair will have done everything they can within their means to make it a good event, and yet still you have a bad day. 

Very often, if you have a bad fair, it’s because you chose the wrong fair to do.  Don’t beat yourself up:  it takes experience to know which is the ‘right’ fair.  You have to have an idea of where your ideal customers are.  Even experienced stallholders sometimes pick the wrong fair.  The trick is to not do it twice!    Don’t throw you money away on fairs that don’t attract YOUR customers. 

Sometimes, no matter what the fair organisers do, however much hard work they put in and publicity they put out, the punters just don’t show up.  We can’t drag customers in against their will, and we can’t force them to spend their money.  And sometimes it’s the weather, and sometimes it’s the economy.  Retail is a tricky business.

The right fair for your products

  •  Does the fair only allow handmade/designed brands and products or are franchises and mass produced goods allowed?
  • If you decide to do a fair that isn’t just handmade, will your products be able to compete with franchises and mass produced goods on price/quality/appeal?
  • Is the fair part of a larger event with for instance children’s activities or live music, or a sporting event?
  • If you decide to do a fair that has other activities going on, will people be interested in buying handmade that day, or will they have spent up on donuts, candyfloss and rides? Does your product fit with the kind of event it is?
  • Do customers have to pay an entry fee or is it free entry?
    • There are pros and cons to both. If a fair has an entry fee, it can weed out the browsers and the “just came in to get out of the rain” people.  It can mean that you get people that are really keen to shop.  But it can also put people off, and you miss out on the casual/passing trade.  You have to judge whether the event has enough appeal for people to pay to enter.

 How to spot a well organised fair:

 Track record

  • What do other people say about it?
  • Was it well organised? Well marketed?
  • Was it well attended?
  • What kind of people attended?

Don’t go on the word of one person – ask around.  And remember that new fairs can’t have a track record, but you can get an idea of how well organised it is, by going through the rest of this checklist.

Good quality exhibitors/stalls

  • Are you asked for details about your work
  • Do you need to send photographs of your work
  • Do you need to send links to your website and social media
  • Are stalls allocated on a first come first serve basis or are they selected on quality and type of product?
  • Do they have rules about Copyrighted items? (Eg people who are using well known images on products)
  • Do you need to have Public Liability Insurance to sell at this fair?
  • Have they asked about legal compliancy for your particular product? (Eg CE marks for children’s toys and clothes, regulations for food, cosmetics etc)

What does this tell you?

  • If the answer to all these questions is yes, you know that the organisers are concerned with quality of the overall fair and individual stalls. They have given some thought to the brand and reputation of the fair itself.
    • PL Insurance – this means that the fair organisers are thinking about risk and responsibility, which is a good thing, and it might also mean they want to know how professional your business is.
  • If the answer to all these questions is no, then you can be sure that the organisers haven’t given much thought to the overall quality of the fair. You might get lucky and sell something, but chances are it’s not going to be great.

Marketing

  • Have the organisers stated what kind of marketing they do?
    • Most fairs require stallholders to do their bit to market it too. Have they stated what that is?
  • Are you able to tell from their previous events if they have done lots of marketing? (You can ask other people but you can also trawl their social media pages.)

Venue

  • Where is the venue?
  • Is it an event that people will travel to specially? Or does it rely on passing trade?
  • What is the demographic that is likely to visit? Is your ideal customer in that demographic?
  • What are the facilities at the venue?
    • Wifi/Toilets/Refreshments/Lighting/Heating? You might not need any of these, but a well organised fair should let you know ‘the lay of the land’.
    • Have the organisers told you how accessible the venue is (eg for wheelchair users, blue badge holders etc)
    • Have they told you whether it’s cold or damp?
    • Have they told you what the lighting is like?
  • Will the organisers be on hand for the duration of the fair to help with enquiries, sort problems and generally check all is well?

What does this tell you?

  • A well organised fair will have thought through all these issues from the perspective of the overall fair and from that of individual stallholders. They are interested in giving value for money to you the customer, and in the quality of their product, the fair as a whole.

Practical Arrangements

  • Have you been given a schedule for when information such as set up times, directions and so on, will be released?
  • Have you been given publicity materials?

Terms and Conditions:

Fair organisers should have set out their Terms and Conditions.   You are their customer, they are selling a service, and you need to know what you are getting.  Check that they have set T&Cs and that you are happy with the terms before handing over your money.

  • Does the fair have set Terms and Conditions?
  • What is included in your fee?
    • Table
    • Chair
    • Wifi
    • Access to a card machine
    • Any additional costs for provision of tables or lighting or processing your application
  • Do they state their cancellation/refund policy? Many fairs will allow a full refund if you cancel within a certain timeframe, but not if you cancel close to the event.  Is it clear what their policy is?
  • Do they say what is expected of you as a stallholder?
    • Setting up and packing up times?
    • Profanity etc – have they said whether and how you can display ‘adult’ themed products?
    • Display – have they any rules about how your display your products?
    • Do you have to give a percentage of your takings to the organiser? (sometimes this is in lieu of a fee – decide whether it offers Value For Money for you)
    • Are you required to donate stock – eg for a tombola? You should be told about this before hand, not just on the day, if it a condition of having a stall.
  • Copyright – does the fair have a policy on use of Copyrighted material?
    • Images such as Disney characters or graphics from comics or other work such as lyrics from songs are all copyrighted. Unless you have a license giving you express permission to use them in your products you are violating that copyright.   The owner of the copyright has the power to not only require you to stop trading, but also any event or store that is selling them.  A well organised fair should know this and have a policy on it.  (If you are unsure whether you are violating copyright, it is recommended you consult an Intellectual Property solicitor.)

And finally…

Think of fairs as a service like any other that you buy.  You wouldn’t go into a restaurant and hand over your money before knowing what you were going to get for your money.  The same should be true of fairs.  You need to choose the right fair for you and your work, and that is about knowing your business and your customers.  But you also need to make sure you are getting the service and the product you want.  The more people ask the questions, the more fairs will have to start offering a better product.

Download our PDF checklist here:

How To Choose A Good Fair

how to choose a good fair

Be Dispensable: the first rule of fair management

By Becky Moore

As some of you know, I’m not just a fair organiser, I’m also a designer-maker myself.  I think that gives me an insight into what our stallholders need and expect from fairs.  They’re looking for a well publicised, well organised, well attended platform from which to sell their products.  It sounds like an easy formula, but it isn’t, as anyone who’s organised a public event can testify.  It takes experience and planning, lists and calendars and more lists, and data bases, and systems, and schedules, and yes, more lists!  And on the day it takes a good deal of people skills, quick thinking, problem solving and negotiation to pull it off and keep everyone happy.

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I recently applied for a stall at a prestigious event.  The application process was a little shaky, mistakes were made at their end that led to a fair few very vocal complaints.  (Also I didn’t get in, but that’s the way these things go, you can’t always get what you want.)  I wrote to the organiser accepting her apology and thanking her for her hard work.  Mistakes happen.  It reminded me just how big a job organising an event is.  I love it, I really do, and I’m good at it.  But sometimes the unforeseen happens.  Sometimes things go wrong.  Sometimes events organisers even seem like they’re just fragile human beings!

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I’ve been doing this sort of thing since I was 16 – organising people and events.  I wasn’t terribly good at it back then, but the intervening 4 decades have taught me a thing or two, and now I think I’m ok at it.  Sometimes I worry too much and get in a flap, (my partner thinks I’m too nice to my stallholders, I think I’m good at customer relations!)  but generally things run smoothly.  Those (nearly) 40 years have taught me how to anticipate problems and head them off at the pass.

But so much of it relies on “me”.  If you run your own micro-business, you’ll know just how much stuff you do that no-one, that’s NO-ONE with capitals – can do.  It has to be you.  It’s all in your head, it’s all about your mind, your soul.  So what happens when you just can’t be there?  What happens when – as I did earlier this month – you trip and fall and smash your face into a tarmac road and end up in A&E with a fractured nose and a bust up lip requiring stitches and you can hardly talk and look like you’ve been in a brawl?  The day before an event?  Yikes!

Well, what I did, was lie on a gurney in A&E and issue instructions on how to run an event, with bullet points and a schedule,  to my son.  Now, he’s helped me set up fairs before, and he’s stood on stalls with me many times, and as one of the chefs at the venue, he knows the place well, but he’s not an event organiser.  He hasn’t got 38 years of experience of managing conferences and festivals and fairs  and shepherding humans.  But there I am, whimpering in pain, covered in blood, and  he’s all I’ve got.

Turns out that all I’ve got is a pretty damn good substitution.  Saturday morning comes and as I lie in bed munching on various forms of analgesic and drinking through a straw, I get messages from various stallholders telling me everything is set up properly and my son is doing a grand job.  Such a grand job in fact that I’m wondering whether I can get away with staying in bed on the mornings of every fair!  (Preferably without having to drink tea through a straw though).

Yoojoo's stall at Design@HEART

Obviously he couldn’t have done it without the help of the venue staff, one of whom is also my partner (full disclosure here!), and also without my impeccable planning.  It’s those 38 years.  See, even though Design@HEART is a micro-business that relies on, and is, essentially ME, and even though I’m … erm … a control freak, the first rule of good events management is “organise yourself out of a job”.  Never be indispensable.

 

 

 

Are you GDPR Compliant?

The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will be coming into force in just 8 weeks, so it’s time to get your house in order.  If you don’t know what GDPR is, here’s a quick overview, with some further reading and listening.

Please note this article does not constitute legal advice.  You are advised to do your own research, and seek independent legal advice on specific issues.

What is GDPR

GDPR is the new EU-wide legislation on Data Protection.  It will be enshrined in UK law too, so we will still have to abide by it after Brexit.

It ties up a lot of loose ends from previous Data Protection regulation and adds a lot of things in too.

If you are not compliant, you can be liable to massive (up to £20 million – yes you read that right, twenty million) fines.  But if you can show that you are working towards compliance this will count in your favour.

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How GDPR is likely to affect you:

This is NOT an exhaustive list, and does NOT represent legal advice.  But I want to give you a snap shot of the sort of things that are covered.

If you are already following current law, there’s not that much change in data protection.  But you must keep records  on how and where you collect data, (so make sure you know exactly where your lists are kept and how they are kept). People must have given informed consent for you to collect it and use it (no more opt-out boxes, opt-in boxes only) and people must be able to not only opt out of mailing lists but be permanently deleted from them.

  • This means that if you hold data – names, email addresses, postal addresses, phone numbers of customers or clients or potential customers, then you must have EXPRESS permission not only to use it, but what you can use it for.  (For example, I cannot use the Design@HEART mailing list to send out information about my own design business because you didn’t sign up for that).
  • You must check that you are only collecting data that you really need (if you never send anything by post  do you need a postal address for example)
  • You must know where all your data is held – whether it’s on a secure website, or in something like Mailchimp, or on your laptop, or in wads of paper under your bed.  If you have a legitimate reason for still needing and using it, it must be secured (locked away, encrypted etc), if not, then it needs shredding.
  • You must make sure that people who sign up to your mailing lists are told exactly how you will use their data, and they must have a straight forward opt-out option for leaving the mailing list.  At which point you have to remove them from the list, not just stop sending them things.
  • You must make sure that all the people on your mailing list have given permission to be on it.  If you are not using software such as Mailchimp, but just have a spreadsheet of your own, you need to contact everyone and ask them whether they want to be on it.  And remember to delete people who don’t.
  • Your Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions notices  (if you don’t have any, you must get them now) must expressly say how you intend to use people’s information.  This is the law now.  Once GDPR comes into force, you will need also to tell people in your Privacy Policy what you are collecting data for, how you will use it, how long you will keep it for, and that they have a right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)  if they think there is a problem with the way you are handling their data.

Social Media

One of the new features of GDPR is that it covers social media profiles and photographs.  Please be sure to read up on this.  You cannot assume that just because people contact you through Social Media that you can use their email address to send them information for instance.

Photography

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Photographs that can be used as biometric information (facial recognition) will be considered personal data by GDPR.  If you have photographs with people in them where their faces are recognisable then you would need to have their express permission to use them.  They would need to have clear information about the context in which the photos would be used, they would need to have access to those photos, and the right to erase them (ie removed from websites, social media, printed materials etc).  If photographs feature children under 18 years, full written parental consent must be given.  This is not a comprehensive list.  Please do your research.

Resources

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I can highly recommend this podcast from Blogtacular

Theres a good summary of your obligations in this article from Sixth Sense PR

The definitive guide to GDPR from the official page of the Information Commissioner’s Office 

An overview of best practice for photographers in this article from dotkumo

An article from Our Social Times about GDPR and Social Media

 

Once again, please do your own research, and do not take this as a comprehensive list of things you must do.