Stallholders Survival Guide - Introduction to becoming an IACF Stallholder - IACF Blog
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Stallholders Survival Guide - Introduction to becoming an IACF Stallholder

Posted July 29th, 2020 by Eve Oliver and filed under New-Comers Guides to Antiques Fairs

Welcome to your Stallholders Survival Guide! If you have thought about becoming an antique dealer frequently but don’t know where to begin, then this blog is perfect for you. Antiques are ever-growingly popular amongst shoppers, with particularly antique furniture becoming more popular with millennials, as noted by Klerk

An increasing number of people are now purchasing pre-owned furniture for their houses over new pieces, whether this is from purchasing second-hand online to attending one of iacf’s antique fairs, antique dealers can definitely adapt to appeal to this ever growing market. 

With the demand for antique items consistently growing, those interested in selling antiques should get started now! It’s always difficult to enter a new market, that’s why becoming an IACF stallholder can bring more benefits than you can imagine, like our well-known branding giving you a kickstart amongst competitors! 


IACF holds fairs at seven different locations around the UK, so you’re guaranteed to have one nearby. This allows for you to attend a regular fair near you and also venture out to new fair locations with the prospect of growing your business and customer base! 

Each venue has been carefully picked to accommodate our dealers, ensuring they are able to showcase their items as best they can to trade buyers and the public. The historic venue of Alexandra Palace is London’s largest indoor Antique fair, attracting those who wish to showcase their beautiful collectors’ pieces, ceramics, artwork and jewellery every year. 

All of our locations have significant reasons as to why they are so successful and what drives customers to attending them every year. 

Newark Antiques Fair is the ultimate treasure hunting ground- it is the largest event of its kind in Europe, this attracts thousands of visitors every year and its feature in ‘1000 Places To See Before You Die’ solidifies how its a must for any antique dealer. 

It is best to choose the location best suited for the products you offer, if you are providing high quality European decorative items then Ardingly Antiques Fair is worth a visit, customers will attend Ardingly expecting these items and you can cater to meet these expectations!

Those looking to sell quality goods like antique furniture and luxury leather luggage need to check out Shepton Mallet Antiques, Vintage and Collectors Fair, the West Country’s premier antique event. 

Peterborough Festival of Antiques is hosted within four permanent buildings and several acres of outdoor pitches at the East of England Showground, the iconic location helps promote the Antique Fair in itself, so make sure you take advantage of the location in your pictures! 

Although Runway Monday is a one-day fair, it is definitely not one to be under-estimated. The stalls are close together along the strip, so make sure your stall stands out... Take advantage of getting decor related to your brand image, a colourful sign or cool poster on your stall could draw attention to your stall! Which brings us on to the next section...


Your Stall

How much thought should go into your stall before you arrive at our fairs? Have you worked out where each item will go, or are you just picking their place on the day? 

Before you attend any fair, make sure you have decided what image you wish to portray and how your stall can help with your brand story! If you are selling decorative items and wish to influence interior designers’ then it is vital your stall reflects your experience and interest in design and interior! 

Turning up early to place your items visually pleasing could make a big difference to your sales. 

Remember, how you display your items can make the difference between a sale and no sale! The way products are displayed influences how the shopper makes their purchase decision, a well-designed stall can contribute to positive shopping behaviour! So, if you’re struggling to sell your items, look at how you’re displaying them. 

Your aim is for people to want to take pictures and share your products on their own social media pages, it makes for some great e-WOM (online word of mouth) and can generate interest from customers that haven’t attended the fair, all making for increased interest in YOUR business! 

Trusted Brand 

iacf have recruited thousands of loyal dealers and customers that return annually, and our name is well known in the antiques industry. Becoming a dealer at our fairs comes with the large customer base we already have. iacf are putting stronger efforts into marketing our events and continued support for our dealers thus our customers and dealers are continuing to grow - ensuring your items get all the attention they deserve at our fairs!

The number of dealers and visitors that attend our fairs is always impressive, therefore if you wish to network and make connections - our fairs can be the ideal place to do so.

If you have business cards then make sure you bring them to our fairs, display them by your till and encourage customers to take one with them! If you need any help on designing your business card then our top tip is to take advantage of the space! 

Pro tip: Put a USP (unique selling point) on the back of your card if you have leftover space and maintain your branding in the card’s design. 

If you haven’t sold at our fairs before, remember to ensure you talk to people and check out what else is on offer - you may find out some great advice from antique experts that could benefit your business! You could learn more on style, antiques and design than you’d ever thought - so be confident and get talking! 

You’ve Got Our Support

iacf is constantly looking for new ways to support our dealers. We understand how unpredicted events can shake a business and at iacf we aim to support all dealers through any unforeseen event, such as our most recent support in offering 3 free months for our dealers for, the number one website for buying and selling antiques. 

You are not alone in the trade and becoming part of iacf’s family ensures you have antique and marketing experts with you every step of the way! 

Embrace The Increase In Popularity For Antique & Collectible Items 

“I believe that the increased awareness to save our planet’s resources will lead not only to a resurgence in the popularity of antique (‘brown’) furniture, but to a wider appreciation of the hand-created, well-made and unique.” David Elstob from North Yorkshire auction house Elstob & Elstob (Antiques Collecting Magazine, 2020).

Our fairs are a gold-mine for finding antique furniture that not only styles a room but also benefits our planet’s future, if you are a stallholder that provides furniture items or any decor products then you cannot emphasize enough to your customers how beneficial purchasing your products are over sourcing new furniture from a retail store, for both their home design and the environment! 

With more and more customers becoming environmentally-conscious, it’s a great time to show how your business not only benefits the person’s home but the environment too (this is perfect when targeting business owners, as all businesses are likely to strive to be as environmentally beneficial as possible!). 

“At the beginning of a new decade, we see homemakers adopt a more flexible mindset as they start to decorate their homes. An optimistic feel and a new approach to wholesomeness underpins colour direction for 2020. The home becomes a space to mirror this positive consumer mood. Gone is the saturation of grey, in favour of calm yet engaging colours such as lavender and mossy olive.” Naomi Pollard, head of Home & Interiors at Trend Bible.


Use Social Media to Increase Interest and Profits! 

Many can find social media overwhelming and struggle to keep up with the frequent changes, but a little effort can go a long way!

Instagram has become the platform for showcasing products. Sharing your brand story and learning how to use Instagram to ensure you are taking advantage of all the features is vital, here are our quick tips for using social media around our fairs:


  1. Make sure you have a business name on Instagram for customers to tag, the best thing about the increase in Instagram’s popularity is that your customer is likely to be on the social media platform, so if you aren’t then you’re missing out on a great way to communicate with your customers! Remember to try not to use your personal account and to make your profile into a business account! 


  1. Tag your products in stories and use the location feature, this will help reach anyone visiting the fair and hopefully urge them to visit your stall! 


  1. If you are after more followers on Instagram, it can help to add a little contest/giveaway to gain some interest! Perhaps offering a discount to whoever takes the best picture of your stall… It's great marketing and free content creation! The run up to an event could be a great time to start, for example the week before Ardingly offer a money off voucher for those who share your business profile with friends! 


  1. Interact with your followers! Following your customers back and sharing content posted by your followers is key to developing relationships through social media. A like or comment on your customer’s post can go a long way and makes it more likely for your customer to share your items online and come back for more! 


  1. When you are talking to customers at our fairs, ask them if they are on Instagram and if they are to give your business page a follow - it never hurts to ask! 


  1. Our marketer is always happy to help when walking around the fairs, if you need any more support then it's worth asking for her help! 


Joining the iacf family can help turn your antique and vintage business into a loved brand by all antique and vintage enthusiasts, if you have any questions about joining the family, please visit our website to choose which location best suits you!

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