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A View From Behind the Mask 😷

Hello, and happy Wednesday everyone. Last weekend saw our first live trade event since the pandemic broke out and I want to tell you all about it!
We didn’t really know what our first event in a post COVID-19 world would look like. Large, 2m-distanced, one-way queues of ‘single households’? Big screens separating trader and customer? Or a last minute cancelation due to the constantly changing government guidelines? I was as much in the dark as anyone.

Face Mask

With a threatening risk of a second wave it’s difficult to see how things will actually pan out over the coming year. Even as in-person events resume, the reality is likely to be that for a significant amount of time, events will not be the main source of revenue for many SME businesses. We will be forced to diversify our sales channels from traditional B2B retail and trade events, to include an increasingly important online B2C presence.

So here are some of my notes on Beeble’s first live trade event in our pandemic stricken world.

The first thing I was very impressed by was the publics ability to keep their masks on in the marquee ‘enclosed’ areas… until it was time to try a food or drink sample being handed out by a trader. Then the masks came straight off while they tucked into a cube of a unique vintage cheddar, dabbed some fresh bread into an extra-extra virgin olive oil, or guzzled down some Beeble honey whisky. That was, of course, unless the eager consumer forgot they were wearing one, and would chuck the food samples into the material, causing a stain to appear all over their flowery printed mask. Niche sauce samples, organic pork sausage slices or wee drams of honey whisky would cover their mask as a blushing, embarrassed look hit their face. This actually happened a surprising amount…

As stall holders, we all had to wear masks or transparent visors whilst on stand. For me this is actually more important than enforcing the public attendees to wear masks. The traders are the ones who will be interacting with vast numbers of different people and households each day. After doing the event I fully understood and appreciated the reason we all need to make sure we wear a mask in shops and other public confined areas. It’s just not fair on the shopkeepers for a member of the public to stroll in without a mask on and put these people at risk while they are at their place of work. Even if you’ve forgotten your mask, don’t go shopping!

On the whole the show was a success for the organisers with a maxed-out attendee rate for all three days, a Covid-free event (no localised outbreaks in the news so far..) due to the patrolling of the event grounds by an entire regiment of university students armed with visors, plastic gloves and anti-bacterial spray and, most importantly, a financial success for us!


Written by Fergus 

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