So you’ve been successful at a show, what do you do next? Book another one!
We had a successful time at Knitting and Stitching’s Olympia show and decided to take the plunge and book for Alexandra Palace. This feels like a real milestone, as it’ll be the first time we’ll have done more than one big show in the same year.
So from October 11th to 15th we’ll be proudly showing off our kits (old and new) to the Ally Pally craft contingent. This will also be our first five day show, which will not only test our stamina but (potentially) our friendship and our after-show wine drinking capabilities too!
Having had a successful time at Olympia, we found that people like what we’re doing and also gained extra funds to stock up with kits and expand our range. We’d started work on new designs (including test stitching) before we decided to take a stall at Ally Pally and realised that a show in the London area where we may see some of the same people (both are run by the Knitting and Stitching Show) was the perfect place to launch our new kits.
We know from experience that launching new kits involves a lot of work. Apart from test stitching (the fun, but most time consuming bit) there are a lot of other things that need to be done. There’s creating and printing the pattern and instructions, taking pictures, ordering floss, boxes, labels, making up the floss cards and the kits before we’ve even thought about getting word out about them. We were pleased we didn’t have to redesign our stand as well (which we did prior to Olympia) – we’d definitely recommend not doing both for the same show, unless you have more than 24 hours in your days or months in advance to prepare!
Knowing that we had to plan for both the show and the kit launch, we started early. Three months early, in fact! As we both do other jobs, we have two days a week when we can work together, so we scheduled in time for the things we prefer to do as a team. We created a spreadsheet with a detailed list of all the tasks we could possibly think of, broken down into individual activities. So, we had separate lines for creating the floss card, ordering the floss, making up the floss card, taking photographs, cutting up the Aida etc. This way we were less likely to forget anything!
We entered who was going to do each task (and sometimes we knew we’d work on things together), then estimated how long each task would take. Our list started with the tasks that needed to be done first and we put a due date next to each one. Because Alison loves a spreadsheet, she added some formatting that showed the tasks as green when they were complete, orange when they were due and red when they were late! (If you are thinking of doing this yourself and want a copy of our spreadsheet, get in touch and we’ll happily send it to you). No expensive, complicated project management systems required!
We’ve taken a look at our list as we wrote this blog and have realised that broadly speaking, the tasks can be broken down into the following categories:
- Show admin – writing a risk assessment, booking unloading times, providing press articles
- Kit preparation and ordering – ordering components, printing, making up floss cards, making up kits
- Strategic – decisions to be made, how much to take, improvements to be made (gathered from our previous experiences)
We’re still learning on a daily basis – not just through going to the shows but, having to review what we’ve done, to share on a blog is a really great way to slow down, take it all in and seek the good stuff out.
Come and let us know how we’re doing and be a part of our exciting new kit launch – get your tickets to the Knitting and Stitching London Show here and use discount code EX17 for £2.50 off advance ticket prices. For more information about all our new designs, sign up to our newsletter.