Thursday, 15 March 2012

The Retail Factor

A month ago I went to see a friend who had rented a stall for the weekend to sell her cupcakes (the most yummiest cupcakes in the world) in our local shopping centre The Mall Sutton Coldfield.

She told me about this competition that she had entered called The Retail Factor. Where small businesses fill in an application and The Mall choose 3 finalists who each get 2 weeks to sell their wares to the shoppers in The Mall and the winner gets 2 months free trading on a stall and £500 towards stock!
  She told me I should enter as applications closed on the Sunday (the next day!).  So I did, on a complete whim and thinking the whole time "no way will I be chosen!".  I then went away for a few days with my husband (another boring Tractor Show!) and was extremely surprised to get an email on Wednesday to say I had made the cut!! WOOHOO!! I texted my cake friend straight away and was so happy to hear she had made the cut too!

Then things got a little stressful!  The Retail Factor gives each of the finalists 2 weeks on a stall to show shoppers their items and make some sales.  I was up first!! And I really didn't have much stock made!! Cue a huge fabric shopping trip and 10 days of 12 hr days making later.....

10 oven gloves
10 doorstops
20 draught excluders
20 aprons
9 make up bags
and many many more!!

 And I was ready!!  So On 27th Feb I started my 2 weeks.

This was my stall:

 This is my new gorgeous apron mannequin: 
Topped off with a cute little shower cap!!
 The official sign!!

I had an amazing two weeks  - so many people with such wonderful friendly smiles and beautiful comments.  Thank you all.  

It was hard at times. I was unused to spending 9am -5.30pm at work (something I hadn't done for 18 months) and missed my home comforts and my sewing machine!
But I had my favourite cup and a flask of tea to make it a little easier (and warmer!!)

I was extremely suprised when the local paper (after doing an initial write up on all the finalists) did what I was told would be a small follow up in the Sutton Coldfield Observer and came out with this.

I was soooooo happy. Its such a beautiful piece!!  
PS: Yes, that is me - the face behind the name! lol ;)

My two weeks ended on 10th March, to which I packed up my items and went and chained myself to my sewing machine to make all the orders I had in time to get them out before mothers day.  Lots of dotty draught excluders, doorstops and aprons will be winging their way to mothers all over Sutton Coldfield!
Including this lovely tea cosy:
and these super cute aprons for a set of twins:

Next up for the two weeks is Mehndi arts 
followed by my friend Maria with I love the Cake

Then the winner will be announced!!
The 2 months start on 16th April - 16th June
I will let you know!!!!
There will also be an overall winner as the competition is taking place at all The Mall's throughout the UK. This winner will get a weeks all expenses paid business course at Oxford University!! 

But for now I am busy getting ready for BCTF
A trade fair in Harrogate in mid April, my first trade fair!
So lots of planning of my stall and getting my wholesale prices ready. 
Very nervous, but there will be lots of other crafters there that I have spoken to via Twitter and Facebook, that have been soooo helpful!!!!
Thank you guys!

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