On Monday 30th June I am lucky enough to be exhibiting at New Designers 2015 part 2 for Glyndwr University. With just a few days to go I am hideously busy prepping everything ready to get there. The event is on from June 30th to July 4th and I am travelling down from Cardiff on Monday 29th to stay in London for 6 days which is an expensive challenge in itself.
I am of course ridiculously excited to go and looking forward to seeing what it's like to exhibit in such a large show but there has been a lot to get ready.
I will be posting about New Designers when I'm back but here are a few things I've been doing/planning/thinking about since I found out I was going.
1. It costs. Boy does it cost. As there aren't that many going from Glyndwr we only booked half a stand than was on offer and that cost around £3000 approximately. We fundraised hard to make up the funds to allow us to go but not everyone will put in the same effort. It's worth bearing in mind that whilst you might put in all your time and money to raise some cash, not everyone will be as proactive and it does feel pants if they ride off the back of the work you put in. Try not to let it get to you, do what you have to do and hope you get the rewards when you're there.
2. Staying in London is expensive. Who knew? It wasn't confirmed I was attending the event until 2 months before the date so looking for accommodation became a priority pretty quickly. Funnily enough your old faithfuls like Travelodge and Premier Inn are hella costly in central London in July (we're talking around 400 quid) so other options were a must. When looking for accommodation Google map everything, 'Central London Location' might still be too far from where you're going and check transport links. Look for deals for groups, try not to be too put off by reviews (but do heed a warning) and have a look at student accommodation whose universities let them out during summer months. We are staying in 247 Hostel Studios for 20 quid a night with a 40 minute tube journey to the Business Design Centre where New Designers is.
3. Travelling to London can be complicated. From Cardiff there is a straight train, no change, 2 hour journey to London Paddington which is grand. The people I am going to the show with are all coming from up North via Crewe to London Euston which is closer to our hostel which requires me making a 2 change London Underground journey to them with all my luggage, suitcases and portfolio. It's always worth checking how expensive a taxi would be to make travelling with your baggage easier but savvy cabbies can spot a tourist a mile off. If you are travelling on the tube by yourself investigate the free maps at each station, invest in an oyster card and consider downloading an app onto your smartphone to make it easier as you go. My train journey is costing around £55.00 for a return with a 16-25 railcard. When booking trains investigate all options and see whether an open return or booking a specific train is cheaper and more convenient for you.
4. Travel light. The last thing you want to contend with whilst trying to navigate trains, tubes, taxis and an unfamiliar city is a rogue suitcase or a portfolio with a mind of it's own. Roll your clothes instead of folding to keep them more compact and stop them creasing, try and book somewhere with towels and bedding included, take a big backpack or handbag for more storage, decanter shampoos and creams into smaller tubes and try and buy 'holiday' toiletries instead of lugging the bathroom cupboard. Don't overpack and if all else fails remember anything you forget you can go pick up for a quid from Primark on Oxford Street.
5. Transport your work separately. We are lucky enough that Glyndwr University has arranged for our work to be taken down to the show together so all we need to focus on is remembering our portfolios, business cards and press packs which is utterly invaluable.
6. Self promotion is expensive. See a running theme with this? Self promotional products like postcards, business cards, press packs, stickers and everything else cost an absolute fortune especially when you need to order in bulk but it is so worth it. You can't expect to make money if you don't put in money. It will pay you back in the end.
Will report back after the show!