I have just returned from the Hobbie Craft Exhibition at the NEC and as I sit here, nursing my sore and burning feet from the 3 hours of walking I’ve just done, I’m reflecting on a day of disappointments and surprises.
The first disappointment comes from the total lack of Scrapbook albums on display (the reason for me going in the first place) I mean, not one company specialising in Scrapbook Albums at a Craft Fayre! If they don’t exhibit here, where do they exhibit?
The second disappointment which completely took me by surprise was the reluctance of a company (who shall remain nameless) to deal with me because I wasn’t a traditional retail outlet.“We don’t deal with people like you, we only deal with bricks and mortar companies!”
Well, let’s be honest here I’m not an established high street outlet, in fact I don’t have an outlet at all – I’m a sole trader, a designer, I don’t have a traditional craft shop either, I don’t have an online presence in scrapbook and craft supplies and I’m not likely to spend £1000 on product at the drop of a hat BUT the point here is and it’s a BIG POINT –
I could well be thinking about it.
Most companies, no ALL the companies I spoke to today bar one were fab; minimum orders ranged from £100 + carriage to £250 – carriage paid. Values I could easily live with considering the savings I was making on some, let’s face it, pretty damn fine scrapbooking products! More importantly the suppliers are changing their minimum requirements to meet and support the increasing numbers of online stores and independents like me. They understand that the online stores and independents of today could be tomorrow’s next big thing and more over in today’s economic climate:
money is money – an order is an order…NO MATTER HOW SMALL!
Today I spent far more than I anticipated with one company – Creative Expressions (yes, I am naming them as they were absolutely TOP DRAWER!) Why? Because their products were of an excellent quality and value for money and their pack quantities weren’t ridiculously high; their sales representative spent almost an hour with me discussing their products, showing me how to use them and explaining the short term and long term benefits of owning them and everyone I spoke to on their stand displayed an interest in my small business – how I used, stored and maintained the products I bought and the vision I had for my businesses future. I mean, come on how easy is that!?
Consequently I spent a small fortune……..
The nameless company I mentioned earlier could… well, be nameless next year. If they continue to take a small minded attitude to big minded small traders (who, may I add are not only SURVIVING the credit crunch but as a result of their can-do attitude, flexibility and foresight are actually riding it out confidently) … their businesses might not even be here next year.