In this section of the site I want to dedicate a fixed page to each of the NBCC Competitions held by their respective County Show.
There is enormous potential for self promotion at the Competitions, so be prepared, a suitable display board is normally welcome within the display areas, bring Business leaflets, cards (and something to display them in, like a bespoke holder, basket etc). As you mingle or compete wear something with you company name on, you’d be amazed the enquiries you can pick up… just by being seen.
Selling… the whole point of these Competitions and Shows is to sell, promote and stimulate trade, fun and entertainment is the bonus. You can display and sell suitable, relevant, quality stock (ask the organizer for more options/conditions). Make sure your competition work has a ‘For Sale’ label and price if you want to sell it at the Show… a bit of advice here… have a Show price and then reduce it to what you actually want to make the sale and have a happy Show punters (they always want a deal)!
It good to familiarize yourself with a Show/Competition before you throw all caution to the wind and really go for it. Each Competition has its own character. This character is dictated by the Organizer, Stewards, Schedule, Venue, Forges, Regular Competitors, time of year among other things. Some are run like a Military operation, others are positively laid back.
Knowing the showground and its layout can be priceless; When you’re late… because there was a massive queue to get in… you know exactly where and how to get to the Blacksmith Area. Likewise knowing there’s no point in leaving exactly as prize giving has ended as more than likely there will be queuing traffic all the way to the Motorway. Will it get muddy with a light shower of rain? Is there well attended Beer tents, Food Halls, Blacksmith related displays etc… is there camping/over night stay available?
Its good to know when you can deliver your work (and tools if you’re Live forging) and if you’re likely to receive refreshments when you get there. Some Competitions are held in temporary structures such as marquees, some are housed in purpose made facilities. The larger Shows won’t let you bring a vehicle onto the Showground during show hours, so its useful to know how close you can park and if its worth bringing some sort of barrow to move your tools and work (You can identify competition regulars because they have wheels on their toolboxes).
Generally the Competition and the holding Shows is a transient event, so no matter the effort, resources and organization they have to be by their nature… temporary! For Competition Blacksmiths this is the charm and the challenge; to display (or create on site) hand forged work of a high enough standard to be shown and be judged in a challenging environment, where the work has to stand out by itself without the benefit of subtle lighting, mood scents, white walls, naked plinths and without pretentious (commission led) gallery assistants cagouleing potential purchasers to buy. If you sell at the Competitions you get all the money!