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 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…


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.

BCTF has been 45 years in the making and has over those years successfully showcased thousands of makers some of whom have gone on to national and international acclaim. All maker are treated as individuals and our one to one help and advice is tailored to their particular needs, are aim is to help you to achieve the most you can from exhibiting with us so no question is too small.

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 participating at BCTF Online – 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 – 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 BCTF Online again. 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.,/p>

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 online space to anyone and let them sink or swim. We have a Mentoring Program to help you prepare and we offer 3 options at different price points.

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 interest and orders at any time directly from the buyer. Our dedicated exhibitions offer the buyer a focussed period at the most important buying seasons of the year Spring and Autumn, they also include many interactive features helping them and you to connect.

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. During the online exhibitions it will also include your video, your downloadable pricelists and order forms and links directly to your website trade page, and /or your collections and Live Chat for buyers to contact you directly and place orders with you personally if they prefer.

Exhibiting doesn’t have to be expensive and there are 3 options available to you at different price points which you can pay in instalments. Unlike the customers 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 an investment in your future.

Prices and payment options are noted on the booking form which will be sent to you by email when you register your interest as a maker.

Step 1 – register your interest.

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

Step 3 – if you are happy and want to apply 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.