The British Craft Trade Fair (BCTF) has revealed a major new development for the 2020 event, which will be opened to the public for one day before the full retail trade show gets underway.
Show organiser, Margeret Bunn, announced the changes on the first day of BCTF 2019, which opened on Sunday April 7 at the Yorkshire Event Centre in Harrogate. She commented: “In its 45-year history BCTF has been open solely to trade buyers, but next year we will open the doors for one day to the public, allowing consumers to buy directly from the designer makers exhibiting here”.
This is an amazing opportunity for the general public to visit the largest show in the UK that is exclusively dedicated to British designer makers, many of whom do not show at other retail or trade events and cannot easily be found online.
“This is a real celebration of all things British and handmade”, Margeret added, explaining that “demand from the public for locally made, sustainable products are running at an all-time high and we want to do everything possible to help our exhibitors bring their crafts to market. BCTF is where people come to discover new and innovative products of the highest quality and they deserve to be seen by as wide an audience as possible.”
BCTF 2019, meanwhile, proved to be a resounding success, with visitor numbers up by 24% compared to the 2018 show, and many exhibitors reporting that trade has been exceptional as retailers lined up to place orders on their stands.
“It has shaped up to be a fabulous edition of BCTF,” Margeret confirmed. “Buyers are aware that demand for handmade British products has increased over the years and they are keen to offer something new and unique to their customers. We have some incredibly talented designer-makers from all parts of the UK who are creating the most beautiful crafts, so it’s well worth the visit for gallery owners, gift shops, tourism destinations and other discerning retailers”.
Alison Bartram, owner of the Heart Gallery in Hebden Bridge and sponsor of the BCTF Newcomer Award, commented: “It was fabulous to see the usual high standard of work at BCTF; this is our favourite Trade Show and pretty much on our doorstep. There was a nice mix of newcomer and established maker and the calibre of stand display made the event a visual delight.
There seemed to be a renewed buzz at this year’s show, and many exhibitors we spoke to said they had been approached by both new and established venues and had gained good orders. Hopefully this is an indication of a turning tide and good things to come for the retail sector as exhibitors were very positive and upbeat this year. It was interesting to note an obvious trend for homeware and surface pattern led products, and very textural, geographic jewellery collections”.
Andrea Westall of Ribble Valley Borough Council, whose Platform Gallery also sponsored an award at the show, echoed the positive sentiments, saying: “The Platform Gallery were delighted to be part of the BCTF event and to be able to offer a prize at the 2019 BCTF. We were astounded by the high quality and range of work on display. The event was brilliantly organised and there was a lovely atmosphere on the day. The layout of the event really helped the flow of the visitors and ensured that we were able to interact with the makers easily and effectively, overall it was a really lovely positive atmosphere and we are looking forward to returning in 2020”
Exhibitors also reported having a fantastic show, making the most of the large rise in footfall as buyers flocked to the show. Ceramicist Connie Rose said: “This was my second show and I’m completely overwhelmed by the support I received from buyers, fellow exhibitors and the organisers. It’s been an amazing show and I picked up loads of orders. It’s such a positive, creative buzz, such a great place to do trade business I have already booked for the 2020 show.”
Amy Leigh Designs told her Instagram followers: “I had the loveliest time exhibiting @bctf_harrogate last week, it was a fabulous show and a real privilege to exhibit my jewellery amongst such talented crafts people. I am very excited to be sending collections out to new stockists over the next few weeks”.
Be part of this amazing event in 2020, to apply for a stand click on the link below.
For more information visit www.bctf.co.uk