Ingrid Nilson’s latest venture, the Mayfair Fine Art and Antiques Fair has caused considerable excitement and interest. Held last week in the ballroom of the Grosvenor Square Marriott Hotel it housed some 43 stands and provided a way to kick start the New Year particularly poignantly in light of the demise of the January International Fair at the NEC. I have been enthusiastic about this Fair since it’s inception and seem to recall an antiques fair supported by LAPADA way back in the 1970s held here as well.
The show opened on Thursday and was packed almost all through the day and into the late night closing eventually at 9 pm with visitors still milling around. A lot of our existing clients came to the fair on the opening day and indeed on subsequent days as well. The fair had a good atmosphere with an intimate feeling and having aisles rather than motorways between the stands. The “buzz” was maintained throughout with a couple of quiet spots and Ingrid’s PR/Advertising team being urged to ever greater heights whenever numbers coming in slowed a little. There was certainly quite a buzz when Cherie Blair spent a couple of hours touring the show and looking at just about every stand and finding something to talk about with many of the exhibitors.
I think the secret of all Ingrid’s Fairs lies in her hard work, perseverance and above all her acceptance that it is the exhibiting dealers who are her clients and have to be looked after rather than the visitors and playing the numbers game. If you don’t have a good selection of dealers, you don’t have a viable fair. Professional stand holders who send out invitations to clients and supply high quality images and news stories to the organisers for them to get the appropriate PR should be a healthy recipe for a successful fair. It was interesting to see the numbers of fair organisers and non exhibiting dealers who visited the fair some of whom admitted freely to carrying out reconnaissance trips for future years. We have seldom exhibited at a fair where the visiting public have been so enthusiastic about the “look” and quality of the fair as well it’s size- nice to visit without exhausting one. We did sell a couple of items at the fair and have some very good leads to follow up with “after fair” deals seeming to be more prevalent these days. We hope this will now be an annual event and look forward to showing at the Mayfair Fine Art and Antiques Fair again in the future.