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JGM Weekender - How it Went

03 March 2016 08:00

So, after all the planning (and the odd panic!) the JGM Weekender has happened!  If you don't know what I'm talking about, you can catch up in the blog post Just Got Made Weekender.

It was amazing!!

It was fairly small, just 22 exhibitors in 4 rooms in Somerset House.  But we had lots of visitors (rumour has it that we reached capacity three times on Saturday, when, presumably, the door was closed till some people left) and there was a great buzz about the place.

As well as the exhibitors, ranging from leather and quilting to the East London Printmakers and London Sculpture Workshop - not forgetting Print me Pretty, of course! - there were some awesome speakers throughout the weekend, including Patricia van den Akker from The Design Trust and Sinead Koehler from Crafty Fox Market, and workshops going on pretty much the whole time.  Both the speakers and the workshops were free for visitors.

One of the workshops

We arrived on Saturday morning to find our 'home' for the weekend - a lovely market-style stall with our name painted on the roof!  Very swish.  By 11am we were all set up and ready to go.  When the doors opened, a stream of people poured in - they must have been waiting outside for 11 o'clock - and the stream continued until just before 5pm, when we actually had a moment or two to catch our breath!

It was lovely meeting so many people who were interested in what we are doing and excited to learn about print-on-demand fabrics.  We talked to A-level students, textile design lecturers, home sewers and small business owners.  

We had a presentation running all day, showing how to get from initial ideas to a printed design to finished items.  It included footage of the printer at work, which was very popular!

We shared our space in one of the rooms with Urban Upholstery, Bespoke Laser, I Make Knots, Lookmate Socks and the workshops, which made it a lively place to be!

Giant crochet! (With Jen of Inky & the Beast and Riannon of I Make Knots.)

We had a networking 'party' on Saturday evening, after the public had gone (with some absolutly delicious gingerbread made by Maid of Gingerbread)  and a breakfast before we opened on Sunday, when we did speed-networking, getting just 4 minutes to talk to someone, before moving on!  Great fun and a chance to share skills and information.

From our point of view, it was a great weekend, giving us chance to meet lots of new potential customers and other small businesses.  I think it was probably valuable for small businesses who visited.  Not only could they meet suppliers and fellow-businesses, but the talks, which were very popular, were aimed at inspiring and helping them.  If you run a small business, or are thinking about it, then look out for next year's Weekender - I'm pretty sure there'll be another one!  Do your best to get there and make the most of it!