Another good show season! - Fair Trade Furniture
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Hello friends and supporters

Prue and I hope this newsletter finds you well and in good spirits! We would like to thank you for your continuing interest in our company. Despite the rather dismal economic and geo-political situation we have had a good show season, hence the photo of us above… enjoying a rare but glorious summer evening in July by the river Thames during the Hampton Court show, with our colleagues Nancy and Michael, toasting your good health!

Read on for highlights from our show season, a post-show sale offer and the latest news from our partner in Indonesia.

fair trade furniture show seasonSummer Highlights

The shows are pretty hard work and quite intense, but they make for a lovely work environment. The locations are beautiful, the visitors are having a good time, and there is so much interesting stuff on offer at each show.

I particularly like the fact that every day we get customers popping on for a chat and a catch-up… it’s incredibly satisfying to hear how people are enjoying their furniture, and of course it’s reassuring when prospective customers hear their comments first hand.

Our mantra regarding shows this year has been ‘less is more’ and overall we are very pleased with the results. We decided to concentrate on well-known garden shows where we have good positions and space enough to create an attractive (albeit temporary) showroom.

Harrogate Spring was surprisingly cold – if proof of this is needed, there is a video of me walking round the stand in my winter coat and hat, looking pretty chilly! – which was disappointing for late April, and perhaps contributed to only modest results.

However we had a blast with our pals from Malvern Garden Buildings, Majella and Mark, who came round to our digs for a hilarious evening with all food supplied by Cook. Here are Prue and Majella the next day still laughing!!

The other three shows however have all been very good.

Malvern Spring: mixed weather as usual (not great for our commute by bicycle), but such a great location to work, and a super show.

It’s the most spacious of all the big RHS shows and visitors consistently sing its praises, so if you have never been and you like a garden show, then it’s definitely one I recommend you visit.

This year I made a new friend – a Brummy character with almost as little hair as me, who saw me applying suncream and asked if he could have some. We had a lovely chat but I’ve never seen or heard from him since!!

Hampton Court is now called a Garden Festival, which last year seemed to mean a lot of over-loud music! This year things had calmed down and the organisers seem to have got things about right. We had a smaller space this year, but in a better position, opposite a food and drinks area which was busy. It is amazing how much prosecco and champagne people can consume when they are out at a garden show… but it got expensive on a couple of days when we had particularly good sales – I was press-ganged into buying champagne for the team!!

Here is our stand at Hampton Court along with our bunting and a crazy man in red trousers!

fair trade furniture at harrogate spring

Tatton Park was a mixed bag of weather with sunshine early in the week followed by torrential rain. Amazingly, this doesn’t put off those hardy Northerners who still came in their droves. We had written off the last two days as most likely a waste of time, but in the event they were brilliant and we had a very good sales result from the show. We stayed in Knutsford which was fun, and enjoyed our commute through Tatton Park, although on the first day I was on my own and the bike was extremely heavy-laden!

So all-in-all it has been a very good show season. If you missed us this year and and want to see what fabrics we were showing, have a look at our video of this year’s Hampton Court stand here.

Indonesia partner being kept busy

Our Indonesian partner INORI has been busy trying to keep up with our production orders. We typically receive four containers a year from them, sometimes 20ft sometimes 40ft. It is incredible how much stock they manage to get into each container. These photos show the last container we received towards the end of the stuffing process. You will see that they are incredibly skilled, not just at weaving and carpentry, but also at wrapping and packing product safely and then loading these containers.

Note the use of a rattan chair inside the container to provide extra height, and the bamboo ladder used for the final pieces.

Thank you for your continued support!


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