East London design show 2012

Posted on December 12, 2012 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

A more prepared stand this year...


I have been so busy preparing for the show that I haven't had time to update the blog until now...

Last December, approximately 6 weeks after the launch, we did the first pop-up shopping event at East London design show. I was sick with flu, missed most of Friday's trading and my friend had to come and help out in the weekend. There was hardly any decoration and almost zero preparation but we did surprisingly well for an unprepared first-timer!

This year, I was determined not to get sick again and started planning earlier, but as usual, things always go wrong at critical moments! My dilemma took place one day before the opening... my fridge broke down and I had to deal with all the melting food, which was a complete nuisance!

In order to minimise extra costs, I decided to do some DIY paper crafts to re-create the look of the new front page. I ended up spending hours into the night cutting and pasting, which reminded me of the days when I was an art/ design student! Surprisingly, a few people at the show asked if my display props: paper clock, wall hangings and washi paper-covered wooden pegs were available for sale. How amusing!



Overall, this year's show was quieter and there were more browsers than shoppers. Many vendors who have shown for years told me that this year was by far quietest, are people not spending as much or are they all shopping online instead? It's hard to tell.

As designers/ artists/ craft makers, many of us are probably not the best sales people, but it is always interesting to be meeting potential customers face to face. The questions that always pop into my head are: Should I approach and talk to them or should I leave them alone to browse? Do I sound too hard-sell, eager or pushy? It is always fascinating to see other vendors engaging with their customers and eventually getting the sales. I realised that selling face to face is a skilled technique that I need to work at, and I have a lot of respect for those who are good at it.


Right: Anna and Mauro from Oaksmith studio and their handmade picture frames


Another good thing about doing these pop-up events is the chance to get to know and make friends with other independent designers and makers. While shoppers were being careful with their purchases, we decided to support each other by spending our money within the show! There were so many unique and beautiful items on sale at the show, and it is a shame to think that majority of people would rather go to the soulless shopping malls or high street chains to do their shopping.

I sincerely hope that there will be more support for all the independent designers, makers and craftsmen around the world who have strong beliefs, specialised skills and little financial backing. At the end of the day, quality products will have a much longer life-span than mass-produced items, so why not invest in something that will last than something that you will throw out after a few usage?


Right: Lovely neightbour, Vivian from Goodwin and Goodwin


This post was posted in London, Shopping, British design, Designers & artists, Design, Pop ups and was tagged with London, East London design show, Christmas shopping, pop up shop