Lessons Learned at Nantwich

Take a small stool or chair!  By the end of the two full days, my feet were like blown up rubber gloves: I am not used to being on my feet for that long.  The Cornish Cheese Company had a long, thick piece of rubber matting that cushioned the feet, although I kept tripping up over it.

I think we need to tackle the Public Day differently as maybe we are not  best placed for selling artisan cheese in such an arena.  What do the public expect?  Do we have cheap cheese…not really, so I think we have to take a different approach.  Having said this, I do not wish to appear to be churlish – we had a great time and it was an invaluable experience, meeting customers, would be customers and making cheesey friends – a brilliant and unmissable opportunity.

Here is my check  list for anyone thinking about exhibiting at a show:

Check List for Attending a Show As an Exhibitor

Display and Dressing

  • Trestle table if one is not supplied – wallpaper tables do well
  • Trestle table covering – we bought our black velvet from ebay
  • Descriptions of your goods – we bought A9 perspex display cards
  • Brochures/leaflets/flyers/ – we printed ourselves and put in Tri-fold leaflet perspex display holders
  • Banner – we designed ours at Vistaprint, along with business cards
  • Something to affix your banner to the trestle table – if using screws, don’t forget a screwdriver!
  • Something to sit samples on – we used sanitised slate

Samples

  • Disposable spoons
  • Knives to cut
  • Blue roll to wipe knives and clean displays
  • Sanitiser to keep hands clean
  • Blue gloves if handling money
  • Cocktail sticks for samples – we bought ours from Bunzl
  • Used cocktail stick holders – marked up olive tubs
  • A small bin and bin liner

Clothing

  • Logo-aprons, name badges, smart-ish clothing but comfy
  • The comfiest shoes you own

Refreshments

  • Take masses of water and a thermosflask
  • We bought our lunch the night before – sandwiches, crisps, chocolate

Other

  • A price gun, spare price labels
  • Camera and battery charger
  • Notebook and pens – you will lose them

Your products

  • In small packs, already priced

Sales

  • Bags for purchases over a certain amount
  • Money belt or cash tin

What we didn’t take but Should Have

  • Two small stools or chairs
  • A sack truck that we could fit our crates on to get things out quickly at the end of the day
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2 Comments

Filed under Ribblesdale Cheese

2 responses to “Lessons Learned at Nantwich

  1. Ross Goodwin

    Hi,
    It was nice to see you there (and nice to be recognised!)- but, as someone who buys a lot of cheese, a few thoughts.
    I did notice most of the stalls at Nantwich seemed to be doing 2 or 3 for £5 (or similar )- which would make it difficult for the likes of yourselves. I also went to the Cheese Festival in Cardiff recently and it was much the same. As you say, I think only with small uniform portions could you manage this.
    Oddly both these festivals seemed more geared to the big cheese producers selling cheeses than the artisan cheesemakers-and buying uniformly cut, packaged cheese for a set price is easier (as a member of the public)- so not fiddling with change-particularly when have to force way through crowd to get to stall.
    I think the sheer volume of people at these events will cause problems- it wasn’t as bad at a smaller festival at Rheged or a few of the food festivals have been to.
    Additionally (though can only speak for myself!) if there is a lot of cheese available, I’ll be wanting to buy a fair range. At a cheese festival, I’d be disappointed to come back with just four or five (even of yours!). I know I’ve rarely bought much from the Swaledale Cheese stalls (though like their cheese)- as they sell medium sized truckles- and if bought many of those, wouldn’t have as much cash left, or too much cheese to eat in a limited time.
    The nearest cheesemaker to me (Northumberland Cheesemakers) seem to sell a lot of their cheese (at these events) in fairly uniform and well packaged portions- think in the £2.50-£3 range.
    I presume a lot of this would depend on preparation and packaging costs. I think people buy cheese differently from a stall then they do from a shop, and it depends on how worthwhile it is you to do anything different

    Anyway, hope this makes sense! Also hope to make it down to your shop over the next few months, and all is well

    • Hello Ross – thanks for your comment, and it was nice to see you too!

      Hope you had a good time at Nantwich. I think you are right, members of the public like small, handy sized portions but they have to be pretty low in price. This makes life difficult for us as it is difficult for us to do portions in such an environment, as our cheese is best suited for deli counters and not being pre-packed. As you know, we are a very small, artisan cheese maker and cannot afford to give too much away, though we wanted to encourage people to try our cheese; going to Nantwich for us was a big outlay in cost, manpower and time – we had a great time and enjoyed it and learned an awful lot too, but are people prepared to pay a little more for a good, handmade cheese? Am not so sure….

      Look forward to catching up with you soon in the shop, as you know, I am always there on Sundays.

      Best wishes

      Iona

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