What is SImply Cheshire?
When NQ London announced they were exhibiting at Simply Cheshire many of our customers asked "What is Simply Cheshire?" We know there are many shopping events and fairs throughout the year but what sets this event apart it the focus on local Cheshire based businesses. So we put some questions to Suzie Dickens, one of the original founders of the event, to help us answer the question "What is Simply Cheshire?"1. What inspired you to start Simply Cheshire?I’ve always been interested in event management and really enjoyed being part of the team that delivered the Arley Hall Shopping Spectacular. There was always a demand for a spring/summer event of a similar quality and from travelling to beautiful events up and down the country only to find businesses from Cheshire exhibiting there rather than on their home turf the idea of an exclusive Cheshire event took shape.2. What is your career background?My early career was in property development undertaking some of the formative residential schemes in Manchester City Centre. Having successfully established my own property consultancy company, I branched out into the retail sector and pursued my love of finding new and inspiring artistic talent.3. What makes Simply Cheshire different from other shopping events?There are many shopping events and fairs throughout the year, all over the country, everybody knows this. But, Simply Cheshire is different in that every exhibitor is either born and bred in the County or their business is based here, its an exclusive event for Cheshire’s own talent.Through my experience of selling and shopping at these events, I found that there is a very apparent gap in the market to showcase the county’s entrepreneurs, many of whom are already travelling cross-country to other events, but as yet are unknown within their own local area.From first-hand knowledge of selling and talking to consumers there is still very much a market to support local businesses, which is where we come in. Simply Cheshire will only support local companies and will provide them with a platform to showcase their produce. The event showcases Cheshire’s finest from local artists, food & drink companies to bespoke clothing & garden stalls. We also want to encourage new and emerging talent to come to the marketplace and introduce them to the local audience and to give them a platform to showcase their work and talents.4. How did you choose the location/venue for Simply Cheshire? What were your priorities for choosing a location/venue?Arley Hall is a stunning location in Cheshire and I wanted a stunning backdrop for the event. I had been involved with the Arley Hall Shopping Spectacular prior to Simply Cheshire and had fallen in love with the Arley Hall’s charm and its caring and supportive team which made choosing it as a venue an easy decision.5. Do you have any partners e.g. caterers, etc that have helped organize the event?I mainly organise the event on my own but I have had the support of over 80 wonderful exhibitors who help by inspiring me with the passion they have for their work and the enthusiasm for the event and its aims. I also have had some great help compiling the fair guide from Juliet Compston, several local Cheshire businesses and family and friends.6. How do you use social media for your event planning and/or for attracting customers?I use Facebook, twitter and Instagram and send newsletters out to my database via mailchimp. I’m learning everyday, its such a fast moving medium.7. How do you manage stress as the date of an event draws near?I’ll let you know nearer the time!8. Have you encountered any technical problems during an event? What are the most common/serious problems and what did you do about them?Touch wood, we haven’t had any serious technical problems. Last time we had a coffee company who turned up without a plug on the end of the lead for their barista machine but an emergency call out to our contractor soon sorted that out. Being located in the beautiful Cheshire Countryside we do find the mobile and wifi signal can be a little challenging at times at the venue, so encourage visitors to bring along cash and cheques.9. How much of a difference do you think the weather makes to a successful event?We’re very lucky at Arley in that the vast majority of exhibitors are indoors either in the Main Hall, our beautiful marquee, the Cruck Barn or Olympia so our visitors can all be undercover enjoying their day. Sunshine is always lovely though.10. How do you remain up-to-date with the event industry?Really just by attending lots of events both regionally and locally, keeping an eye on what's new and by talking to exhibitors about what works and what doesn’t at all the events they attend.11. Have you used any technology/software in the planning of Simply Cheshire?Not really, just my trusty computer, ipad an iphone!12. Do you organise any other events?I’ve been involved in several, have been asked to be involved in others but at the moment I’m focussed on one on May 20th and 21st.13. How do you assess the success of an event?By feedback from exhibitors and visitors. I do this via surveys and by talking to as many people as I can both at the event and afterwards. I always welcome as much constructive feedback as possible, it’s the only way to learn.14. What do you like most about your job? How do you stay motivated when things don’t go as planned?I love finding new businesses in the County and being able to offer them the opportunity to showcase their work to their local audience at an exclusive shopping event in a stunning location. I also really enjoy hearing stories from the exhibitors about opportunities that have opened up or collaborations that have happened because of the event.SImply Cheshire takes place SATURDAY 20TH MAY – SUNDAY 21ST MAY 2017 in the beautiful house and grounds at Arley Hall and Gardens, Arley, Northwich, Cheshire CW9 6NA. Opening times 10am-5pm both Saturday and Sunday.