christmas fairs part 1

i have a frantic few weeks ahead! 2 days at cardiff christmas market (mon nov 23rd & fri nov 27th) and 2 days at the selvedge artisan christmas fair in chelsea (thurs dec 3rd & fri dec 4th). alongside producing stock like a demon i’m putting a lot of consideration into my displays. the two markets will be very different – cardiff being close enough to home that i can fill up the car and go, with a 2.5m square stall and 2 tables. whereas for london i’ll need to bring everything on the train/tube to stock a 1m square share in a table highlighting the work of 8 new graduates.

for the cardiff market i’ve tried to put together an effective and characterful display on a moderate budget. i didn’t want to go the basic route as i don’t think it would reflect the quality on which i pride my work. my first concern was to raise some of the books off the flat table, bringing them closer to eye level. i ruled out commercial tiered acrylic literature displays due to the cost and minimalist aesthetic. i ruled out folding shelves on similar grounds of cost and i didn’t feel they would display the books effectively.

i finally settled on 2 x three-tier angled shelving units designed as a shoe racks. this will display the maximum number of books, front cover on, in the smallest space. i also feel the warmth of the bamboo reflects my brand well.

my next concern – for an outdoor winter market – was lighting. i believe the stalls do have basic lighting but i want to draw customers into by making it feel cosy and welcoming. my house is decked in fairy lights all year round, and i was attracted by these blossom shades, especially relevant to my japanese aesthetic. alongside the tree/lamp i’ve ordered battery powered sakura string lights that i plan to use on the book racks to add extra emphasis to the lower shelves. the naturalistic form should make these lights suitable for spring and summer shows too.

my research included poring over photographs of previous years’ displays. i noticed that each booth has fold-back doors which make ideal display boards. the stalls who simply left those spaces bare lacked interest from a distance or from the side and may get passed over. i’ve ordered commercially printed banners, on a textile rather than pvc base, to reflect my brand. being organised enough to order ahead of time i managed to save 30% on the cost of the same item with a faster turnaround.


i didn’t want to buy everything for my stall, so i put my thinking cap on when it came to business- and post-card displays. origami folding some small notebooks strikes just the right quirky and handmade note, as well as tying into my products.

and finally, an indulgence. i knew i needed a cash box and i couldn’t resist the lure of a pinging bell on every sale 😀 there are plenty of these vintage cash tills about on ebay and etsy, but this one is rare in having a working key, making it a practical as well as aesthetic choice.


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