On Friday I invited my sister and my mum to come with me to the Craft and Sewing Show at Rosehill Racecourse. I was hoping to pick up some fabric and thread for using in my new book. My sister was hoping for some of the indie crafts vendors who had been at the show a few years ago when we previously visited it together. My mum wanted some card making supplies, particularly some nice stamps.
We were severely underwhelmed.
There were TWO (count them) vendors selling nice embroidery thread. And neither of them had anything suitable for what I wanted. I did buy some silk blend brocade type fabric, which I might use for something. There were NO (can’t count them!) indie craft vendors for my sister. Mum did get some cardmaking paper, but not stamps.
There was very little knitting stuff. Very little embroidery stuff. It seemed to mostly be patchwork and quilting stuff – and nothing very inspiring of that. My sister commented, “I didn’t see ANY Amy Butler fabric,” meaning there was nothing particularly contemporary. There was papercraft stuff, but mostly for scrapbookers. I have no idea what people use all those stick on sparkly things for. And there was lots of old lady lace.
My sister felt there was precisely nothing of interest for her at all. I did at least get to catch up with some stall holders who I hadn’t seen in a while, and introduce myself to some others, who I needed to meet.
When we were leaving, I saw the guy who actually runs the show. I pointed him out to my sister, and said “He’s the one you need to speak to.” So she waited until he was free, and offered him her feedback. It was a very interesting conversation. Apparently the average age of attendees for that show is 37. That’s ME! But if that is the average age, I think there will be a lot of people who won’t bother coming back again.
He told us that the show that had the indie crafts there a few years ago (it was not the same show, and had different ownership) went bust because of those indie craft vendors. I’m not sure how, but apparently the other stall holders resented them being there, and they just didn’t fit.
I remember that show. Downstairs, there were all the normal stalls, like the ones we saw on Friday – really uninspiring. Upstairs, there were all these little stalls with indie crafts, such as Prints Charming, Ink and Spindle and others. I found some really lovely hand-dyed felt which was perfect for what I was working on at the time (my stitch dictionaries) at a Rudolf Steiner-esque stall. My sister and her friend had walked up the stairs, found the stalls and exclaimed something along the lines of “THIS is more like it!”
It was really interesting and inspiring and exactly the sort of thing they were looking for. But unfortunately apparently it doesn’t work for mass market, and therefore there can’t be a show for that sort of suppliers. (SURELY someone can make it work, even if it isn’t the people who currently organise these mass-market craft shows?)
The guy who runs the shows talked about the difference in audiences between the Darling Harbour show (which I exhibit at) and the Rosehill show. It confirmed for me that Darling Harbour is the right place for my business. He also talked about demographics. It was quite fascinating. He’s the sort of person I could grill for a whole day and learn so much!
So even if the show itself wasn’t much chop, the conversation I had with the fellow who organises it probably made up for it.
I don’t think I’ll bother going to that show again. Its sad, because it COULD be so good!