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MANCHESTER CRAFT AND DESIGN CENTRE, 17 OAK STREET
MANCHESTER M4 5JD
UNITED KINGDOM

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Kate Knight - a young Scottish designer producing high quality artwork using a vivid and positive style.

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BLE 2016

Colin Knight

I received a phone call from a gentleman last week, who is exhibiting at Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) for the first time. He was asking for any advice I could give him as I have exhibited at the show for the previous twelve years. This is the first year in a long time where I will not be exhibiting.

The advice I gave him was:-

Prepare and Plan Ahead - 
I always prepare a detailed plan of my stand, which shows me exactly where everything is going. This makes it so much easier when setting up, as well as ensuring there is no time wasted. I also have a list of everything that I need for the show (no matter how small) and when I’m packing my cases to go to the show I tick each item off as it enters a case. This ensures absolutely nothing is forgotten.

Look after yourself before and during the show -
There is always so much work to be done before you set off for London and you want to pull out all the stops for the show. Don’t let your health suffer though as an ill exhibitor is not a good exhibitor. One year, I lost my voice, which meant it was extremely difficult to interact with clients.

Try to be bright eyed and bushy tailed! 
A wee espresso in the morning from Costa Coffee in the Hilton London Olympia Hotel always seems to help.

Network-
Networking can be a bit daunting to begin with, but it is extremely beneficial. My natural environment and happy place is doing what I love to do… creating beautiful artwork. We, as designers often spend a lot of time on our own. Socialising with people who we do not know takes us out of our comfort zones. You would be surprised how much fun it is talking to other likeminded people. It is so advantageous to get feedback on your work. It also allows you to share tricks of the trade with fellow artists. I have made some lifelong friends from BLE and always look forward to meeting everybody in London in October.

Social Media-
These days social media is a must. Let people know that you are going to be at the show. For BLE use the hashtag BLE2016. This is a sure way to get noticed.  
 
There is all the usual advice that you hear every year.   
•    Try to make sure you aren’t on your phone
•    Try not to eat on your stand
•    Bring enough business cards 

To finish off I just want to say have fun and enjoy talking to customers and exhibitors. Go out for a nice dinner at the end of an evening as they are long days. A restaurant we always enjoyed was the Blue Lagoon Thai Restaurant 284-286 Kensington High Street. I hope this helps and good luck with all the preparations!