Do you remember when you were little and you'd look forward to something so much that it was the most exciting thing in the world? When you loved it you'd appreciate every second of being there, and when it was over you'd feel like you had a tiny hole in you because that was it? Welcome to the Renegade come down!
Taking part in Renegade was a massive career marker for me, and the experience has been unlike anything else I've done. It was incredible!!!!
On the Saturday my slot to arrive was 7.30am (!) so when I arrived at the Truman Brewery with heavy cases and a huge flight of stairs, my little heart sunk. Within a minute I was at the top of the stairs, having been helped by other jolly stallholders. This pretty much set a theme for the weekend, everyone was so friendly, warm and helpful.
Stepping into the huge, cold, warehouse style space was so daunting, but then when I found my pitch the chitter chattering and friend making began. We all helped each other set up, adjusting wonky table cloths, helping stick the unstickiest of sticky hooks (seriously!!) and getting coffees for one another.
The rest of the day was pretty much a blur! SO MANY VISITORS! All the products I'd brought, both new and old went down a storm, with clear bestsellers earmarked for more making for the rest of my festive events! I saw old faces of my favourite customers and friends, and many many new ones too. I had so many brilliant conversations too, including an especially brilliant one with Ruth from The Planned Adventure about how much had changed in a year, if you were proactive and hardworking enough to make those changes. That was a special moment.
At the end of the day I toddled off home to have some food and rest, ready to be back in the morning, where it all started again!
Sunday morning felt pretty special. Again, we were in the earliest set of arrivals, and I spent the morn chatting with new friends and re-jigging my display. The space at the Truman Brewery is something pretty special and being amongst so many clever creative people and their makes was really something.
Sunday kicked off pretty quickly and it was just brilliant! I'd updated my business cards to contain a chocolate coin, which went down pretty much spectacularly. I'm going to have to order a whole box of these for the rest of the season! ("Can I really take this?!??!" being one of the most frequently heard phrases). That said, if you want to hear about fab business cards then you really need to talk to my new pal Bex from Stuffed Nonsense / By the Yard as hers were just genius!
It was such a busy day with a constant string of customers. The fair is HUGE, so a lot of folk "do a lap and then pop back" which is really nice. It's so great when people remember you amongst everything else they've seen and then come and buy things.
At the end of the day I managed a bit of shopping. A couple of personal presents to myself to celebrate a couple of weeks of long days, little sleeps and general madness, and then a big dent in the Christmas shopping. I spent quite a lot of money but I'm genuinely chuffed with everything I bought as where else really can you buy such marvellous things all under one roof?! I will instagram some of my purchases later (@oh_squirrel) but not the presents, nope - they're top secret!
After Renegade, my awsome pal Jo helped me pack away and then took me for dinner and cocktails. I then practically fell asleep in front of Downton Abbey
Waking up today I've already got enquiries to get back to, and seen features on blogs too, so I don't think this Renegade feeling is going away for a long time!
My closest neighbours for the weekend were:
True Style Lab - needlefelted animals which caused the biggest reaction of joy I've ever heard at a craft fair, one very talented lady
Stuffed Nonsense - Bex is the most fun, creative and lovely lady - she's also a bit of an instagram celeb which made for so many funny conversations. She has a shop in Cheltenham which looks just incredible and I would love to visit please.
Yellowstone Art Boutique - dainty illustrations on a range of beautiful and useful products, run by Hannah who has a shop in Trentham, near Stoke on Trent, and is such a talented and clever lady.
Hello Harriet - Cat illustrated super duper things!(waaaaaa I forgot to buy some CATTOOS that were on my shopping list) this girl is awesome and such a sweetie)
Oh No Rachio - I predict such big things for as her style is so clever, funny and jolly (I wanted pretty much everything but settled on one ever so shiny purchase)
I don't ever recommend websites/products that I don't wholeheartedly feel are the epitome of wonderful, but all of these really are. I'm hoping to find a bit of time to do a rundown on a lot of the other makers I met at the weekend, so pop back for that! HERE WE ARE! Sadly, I didn't get pictures of everyone's stall, but I've linked all the websites above so please click away. Also, apologies here that my photographs aren't so great, it was a bit busy but I'm pleased to have got some snaps to share! If you have better ones I'd love you to send me them!
What's next? Well I'm allowing myself a day to rest, tidy up and recount stock so I know what to focus on ready for Spitalfields Market on Saturday!
Thank you to everyone who made this weekend a wonderful, record breaking, fun filled, friend making, business focusing weekend of utter joy. I've said it before and it's so likely I'll say it again, I LOVE MY JOB!