Back in the summer, I was every excited when I spotted a new knitting festival in the south west. But my excitement was quickly followed by a conundrum. Should I go as a visitor, or dare I apply for a stall? I wasn’t sure I was ‘big’ enough and the cost of the pitch was a lot for my fledgling business.
When I ran the idea past Lovely Husband, he said, ‘Go for it! You should get all the experience you can in your first year.’ But did he really understand?
My cursor hovered over the send button for a long time, before I final emailed my application. And I was more scared than excited when I was given a pitch.
Three weeks before Stitch Fest South West things were going well for The Dartmoor Yarn Company and my confidence was building, but I still had a lot to prepare. It was then that the Gods of Technology began to throw stones. Almost every mechanical or electrical device I touched broke or malfunctioned, slowing my preparations down more and more.
With six days to go, my laptop dropped dead. Muttering about expense, I had a new one two days later, but then both my printers began to misbehave with a heap of printing still to do for my kits. Far worse than that, my beloved Mr Hicks results can back from the vet giving me serious decisions to make.
With help and support from Lovely Husband and a dear dear friend, and some practical help from the printers, I somehow got everything together for the morning of Stitch Fest.
I walked into Totnes Civic Hall tired, emotional and scared. But then something quite magical happen. My pitch was opposite Rosie’s Moments and Rosie and her hubby immediately began to chat to me. Nothing special, but so friendly and kind, putting me completely at ease – well, okay I was a little scared still.
By the time I’d set up, there was a huge queue at the door and in seconds of the doors opening I’d made my first sale! Within five minutes I’d faced the fear of using my card reader gadget with the help of a very patient and understanding lady – okay, maybe ten minutes with the time it took for me to get to grips with the gadget.
Sales carried on at a steady speed and I also met a lot of lovely and interesting people and had some fabulous conversations. The organisation of the festival itself was brilliant, especially as this was the first time the lovely ladies from Social Fabric had organised such an event. They worked so hard during the festival, along with their amazing team of helpers, who always seemed to know just when to drop by and ask if you needed a cup of tea.
Saturday was a very busy day with a fabulous atmosphere in the hall. At the end of the day we were invited to an early evening drinks party then home to bed – where I didn’t sleep, because I had so much going around in my head.
Just after I’d arrived on Sunday I realised I’d forgotten my phone. And no phone meant no card payments. Again the lovely people around me came to my rescue. Angela from Adelaide Walker lent me her phone. Of course the only number I knew by heart was hubby’s and in the event he didn’t catch my friend to give her my phone before she left for the show. But then Rosie’s marvellous husband said they’d be happy to let me use their machine.
Sunday built more slowly, but there were still a lot of visitors and a slightly calmer, but none the less fabulous atmosphere. One of my lovely friends manned my stall so I could go and have a nosey around. Sadly no phone also meant no photos and I was too tired to take in a lot. I did however buy a couple of stocking fillers and lovely shawl pin from Belinda Harris-Reid.
All in all, it was a fabulous experience. I learned so much from the other stall holders, the visitors to my stall and the experience itself. Everyone was amazing and so friendly and helpful.
Thank you to everyone who made my first big wool festival such a wonderful experience. And a special big thank you to the Social Fabric ladies for all their marvellous organisation… to all the lovely stall holders who made me feel so welcome and supported, and who shared so much good advice and info … to Lovely Hubby for all his hard work, and my dear dear friend who knows who she is.
Can’t wait for Stitch West South West next year!