About BCTF

Thinking of exhibiting at a trade fair?

Perhaps you’ve already done a general gift trade fair. If you did, and the results weren’t what you hoped they’d be, forget that experience. BCTF could hardly be more different.

You won’t find yourself in a giant hall surrounded by huge companies selling cheap, mass-produced goods imported from China or India.

At BCTF we sell only BRITISH… QUALITY… HANDMADE products. If that sounds good to you, read on…

About BCTF

BCTF takes place in April each year in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

The dates move around from year to year depending on when Easter falls, but in 2021 the dates are 10th – 13th April.

Our makers come from all over Britain and so do our buyers. Our venue, the Great Yorkshire Showground, is located a few miles outside Harrogate town centre, providing easy access, free parking for all, and a wonderful, restful environment for buyers and makers alike. If you’re coming for more than one day, and you don’t happen to live within easy commuting distance, you’ll need to spend a night or two in Harrogate.

That’s no hardship. Harrogate is a wonderful place to visit, full of excellent restaurants and sights for the whole family, so make your buying trip into a mini-holiday.

To qualify, you must be making handmade goods in Britain or Ireland.

BCTF promotes only British products, so you won’t be competing with cheap mass-produced or imported goods. Our buyers want quality British handmade and they won’t be shocked by your prices – they know what quality costs!

The exact definition of handmade is a little complicated. Small batch production is usually fine – you want to make your products in the most efficient way. If you have a small team of helpers, that’s usually okay too. Outsourced printed products are also acceptable, if printed in small quantities.

Additional Information

Maybe you are currently selling at retail fairs up and down the country. Perhaps you are relying on your website to do the work for you. Or maybe you’re a new maker looking for a way to find their first customer.

Dealing with the trade offers several distinct advantages but it may not be right for you. Here’s what you need to consider.

Advantages of going the trade route.

Once you are established, your work will be on display in showrooms up and down the country – while you are tucked up in your workshop doing what you do best – making.

Selling not your greatest strength? Don’t worry, you’re in good company. Many makers aren’t comfortable selling their own work. But gallery owners do this for a living. Tap into their skills by having them sell your work for you.

Tired of all that travelling to retail fairs? It was fun at first, but it grows stale pretty quickly with most makers preferring to spend their weekends at home with the family. Although they can be a good way of testing your products with the end-user, they can be expensive and exhausting. Save yourself all that effort and expense by attending one fair – BCTF – and then working through intermediaries.

Why it might not be for you.

Pricing your products

The essence of dealing through the trade is that you sell more items, but most likely at a lower price than you are charging your retail customers. You make a smaller profit per piece, but more profit overall.

To achieve this, you need to set two new prices for each product – a Trade Price, and a Recommended Retail Price (The price at which your trade buyers will sell it on to their customers.)

Getting these prices right is crucial. You must set your price high enough to give you a decent return for your efforts (otherwise, why bother?). But your price must not be so high that your trade buyers can’t sell your work. As a rule of thumb, they will be looking to double your trade price and add VAT.

Building success gradually

For most people, it doesn’t happen overnight. There are always some first-timers who meet with huge success at their first show, but for most, it takes longer. Some buyers won’t buy from you the first time they see your work, no matter how much they like it! They are wary of dealing with someone new who might not be professional enough. You tell them you can deliver in twelve weeks – but can you? You promise the work they will receive will be the same quality as the pieces you displayed at the fair – but will they? Or will you take their deposit and go out of business next week? You can see their point, can’t you?

It’s reassuring, therefore, when they see you at next year’s fair. You’re still in business and presumably others have bought from you and haven’t chased you out of town. Okay then, time to take a chance on you.

The reality for most makers is that it takes three years to become fully established. That doesn’t mean you take your first order in year three! It means your business grows gradually until, three years in, your name and your face is known in the trade and you have a stable of suppliers who keep you busy. Until you reach this happy state, you may need to continue doing some retail fairs, but gradually you will transition from one stream to the other.

Deciding whether this is the right choice for you is tricky. We’re happy to help. call us on 01444 246 446 or email info@bctf.co.uk

We don’t just sell stands to anyone and let them sink or swim. We have a Mentoring Program to help you prepare and we offer subsidised prices in your first three years.

We have special sections known as the Newcomer and Post-Newcomer galleries for exhibitors who are relatively inexperienced. The Newcomer Gallery is priced at £692 all-in, including VAT, and Post Newcomer is priced at £755 all-in, including VAT. You get a shell scheme stand 2m x1m (newcomers gallery) and 2.5 m X1 m (post newcomer), carpeted, with personalised fascia board and lighting, plus your entry in BCTF Online and the printed show directory. There’s nothing more to pay!

Every exhibitor gets a page in our online catalogue, BCTF Online. As soon as your page is live, your products will be in front of our 12,000+ buyers who have access to our catalogue. You can receive orders months before you arrive at the show!

Your page will show your product images and about a hundred words of text to describe who you are and what you do. It will also include your contact telephone number and email and a link to your website.

Buyers can click through to your website and view your fell range of products, including prices if your site is set up that way. They can contact you directly and place orders with you.

Exhibiting isn’t cheap, but it’s a necessary investment in your future. Unlike the people you might meet at a retail fair, buyers you meet at BCTF may still be buying from you twenty years from now. That’s why it’s not just an expense, it’s an investment – in you!

Our stands come in a wide range of sizes starting at 2 metres wide by 1 metre deep. That’s not very big, but if your product is compact (i.e. jewellery) it’s plenty big enough. Remember, you don’t have to carry stock to sell – you only display samples and take orders.

A stand of this size will cost you between £800 -£900 depending on your choice of lighting and whether you want a power socket installed. That’s all-in, including VAT and your page in BCTF Online and the printed show directory.

You pay in up to three installments. 25% with your booking, 25% on 1st September, and the remaining 50% on 1st January. Payment can also be broken down into more installments if required.

Of course, you can have a bigger stand – wider or deeper. A 3 metre by 1 metre stand, for example, would cost between £1,150 and £1,250. When you come to fill in the booking form, it will calculate prices for you, so you can play around and see what suits your budget before committing.

If, however, you qualify to exhibit in one of our special areas – The Newcomer gallery or the Post-Newcomer gallery, you get a subsidised price.

Step 1 – register your interest.

Step 2 – we have a brief chat. No hard sell – just a friendly five minute chat.

Step 3 – you fill in a booking form.

Work with us.

We don’t mind if a new maker contacts us a dozen times before a show. Aren’t we busy? of course we are, but helping you succeed is our business. Don’t sit and sweat worrying whether you’re doing something right. Ask us.