The planning and layout of the stand
Prior to any fair it is important that you plan your stand with a suitable selection of the stock you have available. I always consider whether it is stand-fitted, as below at the Fine Art & Antiques Fair Buxton, or whether I am taking my own table top cabinets. Then I make a mental map of the stock I am taking, and accord pieces to the space available. I then write down what pieces go where. Sometimes your plans are modified and need a rethink – certain factors come into play such as: lighting, colour, size of object, visibility, compatibility and appropriate genre. Each beautiful object needs its own space too, as crowding tends to destroy the harmony and balance created. Whilst I am not pretending to be as accomplished as other professional traders such as Jack Yarwood Antiques and Fine Art, who goes to the trouble of photographing all his stock on a plan, shelf-by-shelf, and then assembles it accordingly, I take time and trouble to ensure the stand looks inviting.
All this takes time. At the NEC, set up takes a full day, all Coopers stand-fitted fairs take at least four hours. Both these fairs are vetted for authenticity of all items for sale, and this is prior to any sales. At Bowmans Harrogate, the set up takes place on the Friday evening and again takes several hours.
The higher end dealers all hire and/or own their display cabinets. I own the large tower and the table-top display cabinets, which again are a significant investment of over £1,300.00. For each fair I attend I also hire a large upright display case from CaseMate, an excellent firm who are efficient and competitively priced. My bill for each fair is just under the £200.00 mark.
So GBP, when you look at the professional stands, please have some idea of the undertaking to put on a good show!