Monday, 28 November 2011

Sitting pretty: ILF Venture's Jo debuts company at NEC

Jo Hancox, from the first cohort on the ILF Venture programme, has set up her company ‘Sit On My Face’, launching it in style at the NEC’s Festive Gift Fair.

Jo Hancox, second from left, with her stand at the Festive Gift Fair

Jo’s uses her artistic skills to apply quirky portraiture to cushions and soft furnishings. Interiors & Lifestyle Futures caught up with Jo as she recovered from an intense and long four days on her show stand.    

How was the show for you?
It was great to gain experience and see how people reacted to Sit on My Face.  The feedback was so positive and it was a massive high making so many people giggle. It was really enjoyable seeing people’s reactions. I think the market at the show only had a handful of people that really appreciated the price, the time and the materials that had gone into the product. People seemed to be there for a bargain –long legged Santas hahaha! 

Did you generate any sales, enquiries?
I have had a few enquires and an order of 10 cushions. I also had someone who wanted me to ring about them putting them in their shop, which I need to follow up. I think it has created a buzz and got the brand out there.

How did you find the overall experience?
It let me promote my brand and feel confident getting it out there. I found the actual selling a massive adrenaline rush. It was so enjoyable as people really loved the product especially the name. I definitely learnt a lot.

Jo's 'Sit on My Face' stand creates a buzz at Birmingham's NEC

What were the key lessons you learnt?
How to sell and talk to people. How to gauge people’s reactions – whether they were keen on the product or whether they would say the price is too high. I learnt that my market isn’t the NEC. My clientele are people with money. I should be going to more suitable fairs such as the Interiors Show, Grand Designs. I learnt that I need to create a logo instead of just the banners.

After the first day, I had to create some posters to explain to people that they could have their own portraits on the cushions, etc. I ran out of business cards though I had 400 to start with, so you need to be selective who you give cards too. I certainly learnt that people don’t want random faces they want their own face.

Finally, what would you advise other people who were thinking of doing an event like this to include in their planning?
Make sure they do the research. Make sure that the market is their target market.

You can keep up to date with Jo's company through her Facebook page