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January 30th, 2012

Harrogate Nursery Fair

The Harrogate Nursery Fair is the biggest trade show for nursery products in the UK and takes place in March each year in the beautiful Yorkshire town of Harrogate.  I am busy preparing for the show already as we are launching a new range of products.  It will be the 3rd time that Safe Dreams have exhibited, and I have been reminiscing about the first time, in 2010, when I turned up with an early prototype of the Cot Wrap, my son’s cot bed and several rolls of wallpaper to cover the shell scheme walls. This below was the end result:

Harrogate Nursery Fair

It looks pretty good for a first time attempt, if I may say so myself. But our current exhibition set up is much more polished:

Safe Dreams Exhibition Stand

The best thing is that, instead of lugging around my son’s huge cot bed, I now have a custom made mini cot which fits in a suitcase:

Safe Dreams Mini cot

Below is an account of that first show in Harrogate which I wrote back in 2010.  It was a fantastic experience for a newbie and I would definitely recommend that those thinking of exhibiting for the first time just go for it!.

After months of preparation and build up, the day of the Harrogate Nursery Fair finally came.  The week before was a nightmare, I ordered everything far too late (poster, banner, flyers, t-shirts) and I even ended up having to get my sewing machine out to make a few adjustments to the product!  And then we almost had to turn back on the way to Harrogate as Ali (my son) had picked up a vomiting bug.  The less said about that the better, but it wasn’t pleasant.

We finally arrived late on Saturday afternoon and set up the stand.  The blue wallpaper looked lovely but bad idea, it took hours to put up!

The fair was a fantastic experience, we got some amazing feedback from potential retailers and some were very disappointed that we couldn’t take any orders yet as the product isn’t quite ready!  We left with a huge book of contacts to follow up on after the show.

The main problem we had was getting people to stop in the first place.  We were competing with 200 other exhibitors, the vast majority of which were household names.  Many visitors seemed to have appointments with their big suppliers so were rushing to get there with no time to stop.

One of the most unexpected benefits of the fair was the advice and contacts I got from other exhibitors, I’ve never known an industry that is so friendly.  And I also got to meet a lot of Twitter and Mumsclub buddies in person so it really was a great few days.

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