About BCTF

The British Craft Trade Fair MENTORING PROGRAMME is dedicated to helping young and/or inexperienced makers to establish a relationship with trade buyers. We do this by offering our Mentoring Programme free of charge to all our exhibitors.

Why we developed our Mentoring Programme

Every year at BCTF more than a hundred makers are exhibiting at their first trade event. A few meet with instant success, but for most, success comes more slowly. They meet with moderate success at their first show, improve on this at their second and, by their third trade show, they have become well-established and well-recognised within the home and gift industry. Sadly, too many makers set out with unrealistic expectations. When they do not meet with instant success at their first trade show, they back away. They go back to doing retail fairs, or perhaps even give up making altogether. The Mentoring Programme is designed to minimise this sad loss to the British crafts industry.

About BCTF

Help and Guidance

The Mentoring Programme is managed by Margeret Bunn and she has more than thirty five years’ experience of running both retail and trade shows and is one of the most knowledgeable people in this field. Your first conversation with Margeret will usually take place shortly before, or soon after, you book your stand for BCTF. Margeret will take a look at your products (usually by viewing your website) and discuss your range of products and your pricing. She will advise you on which elements of your work to display, and check that your prices are competitive and realistic. You will then be given access to a range of materials that will help you prepare for your first trade show.

The Newcomers Guide

A document written by Margeret that gives you advice on many aspects of exhibiting at a trade fair. It is a short document that covers the main areas of concern to most new makers, including how to deal with buyers, what sales literature should bring with you to the fair, pricing your work for trade etc. Please read it carefully before listening to the help audios.

Help Audios

Margeret has recorded a series of short audios in which she discusses various aspects of exhibiting including Pre-Show Preparation, Stand Display, Setting your Trade and Recommended Retail Prices and more… You should listen to these audios as early as possible. At any time thereafter you are welcome to call or email Margeret to discuss your specific concerns.

The Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Club takes place at BCTF on the Monday morning, you will be invited to attend where you will have the opportunity to hear invaluable advice from prominent people in the industry, magazine editors, buyers, experienced makers, and representatives of leading trade organisations. We’ve heard fascinating talks on Intellectual Property Rights, getting editorial in magazines, and advice on how to approach buyers.

The BCTFAwards

Every year at BCTF a number of prizes are awarded including the Best Newcomer Award, sponsored by the Heart Gallery. Winning can be a real benefit to your business, mentoring is part of the price along with an in-store exhibition offered to the winners. The Post Newcomer Award is sponsored by ACID (anti copying in design) and the winner receives 1 year free membership and other membership benefits.

What we can do to help you

The Newcomers Gallery The first time you exhibit at BCTF, you will be offered a stand in the Newcomers Gallery, a section of the hall that is set aside for new makers. We offer these stands at a discounted price that saves you more than £100 on the regular price. The package includes:

  • A 2m x 1m stand complete with shell scheme, carpet and personalised fascia name board.
  • 5ft Fluorescent strip light.
  • An entry in our printed show directory.
  • A page in our online catalogue – BCTF Online.

To qualify for Step 1 – The Newcomers Gallery.

  1. You have been trading for two years or less.
  2. You have never done a trade fair before.

At your second BCTF you will be offered a stand in our Post-Newcomer section. The stands here are half a metre wider than the ones in the Newcomers Gallery i.e. 2.5m x 1m. Otherwise, the package is the same as for the Newcomers Gallery and the special discounted price will save you more than £200 on the regular price.

  1. You have been trading for between 2 and 5 years.
  2. You have limited experience of dealing with trade.

By your third BCTF you should be ready to take your place in the Main Hall with all the other experienced makers, but we’re still there to help and guide you. In the Main Hall you can choose a stand of any size you like - from a 2m x 1m (like the one you occupied in the Newcomers Gallery) all the way up to a 6m or more the choice is yours. Stands are charged per square metre but as a member of our Newcomer’s Programme you get a special discounted rate that will save you 20% on your stand cost. And you’ll still have full access to Margeret’s advice and guidance, though by now, you’ll probably feel like an old hand.

What do I do next?

If you have already spoken to Margeret and she has advised you that you are eligible for either of our special subsidised Galleries, you can go ahead and fill in the Booking form.