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It is hard to describe in words this event, but we considered that it is important to capture the most important aspects, such that to come in support of who wants to participate in the future.
Taking place for 9 consecutive days (22 April – 1st of May), with a hard schedule for exhibitors, between 10.00am-10.30pm, but extremely liberal for visitors, the haggle reunites under his dome, varied topics and fields of local and worldwide handicraft. There are present over 50 countries from all continents. For example here we met exhibitors from: Colombia, Uruguay, Russia, Mexico, Hungary, Estonia, France, Indonesia, Nepal, India, Turkey, Brazil, Spain…and for sure we could not include all of them. Referring to Romania, after discussions with our stand neighbours (old exhibitors), our presence as a country at this haggle is occasional and honestly we are not surprised. There are many big costs and for other exhibitors it is easier because they are subsidized by their country or they have commercial businesses in Florence (Indians or Italians).
Beyond the costs, the experience is amazing because you are waking up in the middle of human creativity spread over 55000 square feet. You can find there beautiful products of different colours and shapes, combinations much more or much less normal, classicals or nonconformists, made from materials much more or much less conventional and you realize how different and unique we can be following our work, but also similar following our hobbies and interests. If you are interested to be a visitor it is really simple. You have to find out when is the period of the haggle, you go there for a short trip and you have to buy an entrance ticket for 6 euros.
If you are interested to be part of this haggle, you have to follow some extremely important steps. First of all you have to think very well at the products you want to expose. Even it is a handicraft haggle, in the international pavilion, we saw the presence of some exhibitors with series and industrial products, which did not have any relation with the haggle theme or with the country of exhibitor (flashlights, gas masks, tweezers, scissors, series clothes, etc.). Honestly we do not know why they were accepted. From my point of view, probably the selection process was not a rigorous one, and their presence generate an imbalance of price comparative with the handmade products. Also it is very important to think to the products from the point of view of the customer – customer, who is represented by locals between 16 and 80 years old, with a small and medium level of income and who is interested in bargains and walking around. The tourists and persons with a medium and big income interested in handicrafts are a rare presence and most of them are a constant presence for their country exhibitors. As an advice it is recommended to have small, cheap products and different as models, but quite numerous in the same model, which can become a souvenir or a memory of passing trough this haggle. We know it sounds a little bit weird, when you speak about handicraft, to produce many products of the same model, because it is like industrial series, but because we saw that, we tell you that.
If you established the products you will participate with, you have to think how you will organize the stand. First of all you have to establish the size of stand and the number of free sides, details which are related to the much more or much less rental costs. The smallest stand has 10 square feet and it is equipped with a table (1,50 x 70 cm) and two chairs. If you want more equipment like shelves, mannequins, etc., you will pay more. The walls of the stands are made from plasterboards, they have a maximum thickness of 5 cm, their height is around 2 meters and also at a height of 3 meters of the floor you will find a ceiling made of beams and bars which can be used too – you can suspend soft things (but you will need a ladder). Even the organisers tell you that you are not allowed to knock nails, we saw exhibitors who broke this rule. Over the night you have to isolate your stand using a large material (mesh, banner, etc.).
While the haggle is running it is appropiate to be 2 persons because the exposure time is long, over 12 hours. It is an excellent idea if one of you knows italian, because speaking english is a rarity. We recommend you to get a book for reading because a lot of persons are there just for walking, or, why not, you can work at your handicrafts.
We also recommend you to visit the whole haggle which has an impressive surface and a lot of stands with many themes (cosmetics, clothing, footwear, jewelry, products for domestic use, gardening products, toys, furnishings, leather goods, food – pastry, preserves, meat, juices, drinks, fruits, etc.). There are dozens of exhibitors for every single theme, so it can be a little bit difficult to decide what you want to buy. If you have money to spend, this is the place where you can do it easily.
The haggle is based on the relation between manufacturer and customer, so it will be a rarity to meet other manufacturers interested in agreements. Otherwise you can observe customers and to get an idea about how they think about your products (we think there are many misconceptions about Romania).
It was a great experience for us and we learned a lot of things. We met many romanians and some of them expressed their desire to see the presence of our country on this type of events with…you got it, beer and grilled minced meat rolls.

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