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Running my own LEGO show / sale

Hello fellow AFOLs,  

I've been thinking for a while now that I'd like to organise a small LEGO show near me (North Hampshire, UK).  Does anyone have any experience with running one?  I would appreciate any advice, tip and things to consider.

If I did are there many people nearby who would like to display or sell?

There used to be a show in Petersfield but that does not happen any more.  Anyone know why it stopped?



  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,087
    Who would be your audience?

    Running a show to which the public is invited is a whole different ballgame to holding an event to which you just invite fellow AFOLs.
  • thedaveyboythedaveyboy Member Posts: 55
    It would be for the public.  I was also thinking it could be a combined (vintage) toy fair and Lego show.  So I could have some stalls selling those sorts of thing too (My other hobby) and a few Lego displays.  
  • CCCCCC Member Posts: 20,526
    If it is going to be open to the public and have sellers there, then you'll need to contact your local authority to check if you need an occasional street trading license.

  • jasonord69ajasonord69a Member Posts: 464
    There is no need for a licence if you hold it indoors or on private property. You will however need Public Liability Insurance. 

    You will also need to consider the following as a minimum:

    - Size and cost of hiring venue.
    - Sellers should pay for a space but exhibitors should not. You should have a mix otherwise you will run at a loss. 
    - What entry fee would there be?
    - How would you advertise?
    - Is the target market (town) big enough to warrant the event?
    - Costs to hire tables and chairs if not available at venue. 
    - Catering facilities for exhibitors and public. 

    These are just a few points to get you started. 
  • thedaveyboythedaveyboy Member Posts: 55
    Thanks for the comments guys I will bear them all in mind,  I've contacted a venue I have in mind.  It's not a massive place so shouldn't be too expensive and they have a bar for tea and coffee.  They have tables too.  I'll look into what insurance I need.
  • thedaveyboythedaveyboy Member Posts: 55
    So does anyone know why the Petersfield show stopped?
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,087
    I think William Howard stopped running it because he had other commitments.
  • CCCCCC Member Posts: 20,526

    You might also want to consider expected numbers of people. This will be important for any sellers that might be attending. For your first one, this could be difficult as you have no track record. So they might either want cheap rates for the first time or a guaranteed number of people through the door and if that is not reached then a discount on their table fee. Showing them where you are likely to be advertising might help here.

  • SirKevbagsSirKevbags Member Posts: 4,027
    Retailers won't be a problem, so many people are selling LEGO these days.

    Exhibitors are more of an issue. So many shows these days that folks have to pick and choose.
  • thedaveyboythedaveyboy Member Posts: 55
    How long do you think exhibitors would need to set up?  Assuming that the displays are small to medium size.  2 hours or more?   
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Member Posts: 4,268
    edited October 2015
    Depends who is coming, and what they're bringing. If you're wanting to attract really impressive stuff, give them at very least half a day (5 - 6 hours) for setup. 2 hours is virtually nothing.

    At Brick 2014, some people with really large displays started setting up at about midday, and hadn't finished when they closed the building at 11pm that evening.

    On the other hand, if you're just planning on having a load of small stuff, 2 or 3 hours would probably be ok. Expect a few people to moan a bit though...
  • PhoneboothPhonebooth Member Posts: 1,430
    ^I would also consider how you would give back to those that exhibited. While most shows do not directly pay AFOLs to exhibit, often there are travel grants, meals etc provided to help offset the travel costs and time.

    It's really bad form to put profit ahead of appreciation, and pissing off your volunteers will almost gaurentee that your show will be a one and done. 

  • thedaveyboythedaveyboy Member Posts: 55
    That's a good point Phonebooth, thanks.   I will factor that in to my costs, and have a think about how to keep people happy!
  • ryjayryjay Member Posts: 1,001
    Is this an exhibition or a vendor sale?   They are two very distinct events.
  • thedaveyboythedaveyboy Member Posts: 55
    To be honest I think I'm leaning more toward a sale, but I would like to have a few displays too.  
  • ryjayryjay Member Posts: 1,001
    Have you done the math yet?  What is the venue rental?  How much will you need to charge vendors & at that price, how many booth must be purchased to break even.  What is admission cost and how much traffic will you expect?  What is the total population within 50 miles?  How many other shows in the area are within 2 weeks of yours?  After you run the math you'll know the numbers you need, and then, is their enough vendor interest to fill those numbers.  Talk to vendors to gauge their interest....without their support you have nothing.

    A popular toy show I have done, a 8 x 10 space runs $150, about 150 vendors, and it is vendor sold out 4-6 months in advance, with a waiting list of about 30.    Vendors do not need always need a license, check local laws,  but you get space priority if you have one.  Admission cost  $5/kid-$8/adults.  50 mile population is about 2.5 million.   We always set up the night before.   

    Personally, I think if you do a exhibition you'll lose money the first couple of years until you develop a following and trust.
  • thedaveyboythedaveyboy Member Posts: 55
    Thanks ryjay,   I'm getting some numbers together.  I don't have plans to do this anytime soon but it's something I would really like to do in the future
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