How did it go?
It was a great success! More than 100 people came and everyone seemed really happy with their swag on the way out. The main thing that I wanted to achieve was a feeling of bounty and choice, rather than the usual fat shopping experience of scarcity and expense. I had some feedback from one shopper who said how great it was to pick through the jumble to find things she liked rather than just to find the things that fitted.
The venue turned out to be the perfect size for the amount of stuff we had and the number of people who came. The staff were super friendly and helpful too. It was really great to have a theatre space in terms of the catwalk show, which was an absolute triumph. So great to have backstage areas for hair and makeup and also to be able to have dramatic stage lighting.
It was also great in terms of building community, I saw new friendships being forged and old ones rekindled all over the place. This aspect was really great for me too, in the time before the Jumble, not just on the day. I’m really happy to have a new gang of fabulous fatties to do stuff with in the future.
What was the atmosphere like?
It was a really amazing atmosphere. Right at the beginning, we were pretty swamped with shoppers and that slowed down later in the day but whether it was a busy or a quiet time, whenever I went round the Jumble it seemed to be full of people having a good time. I think that having so many opportunities to get a bargain kept everyone happy and the ambient stuff of the Bops fantastic deejaying (they did a five hour set, can you believe it?) and the slide show Charlotte Cooper made really turned it into something more special.
How did it compare to the Fat Girl Flea, the event that inspired you to put on the Jumble?
It was different to the Flea for me but mostly because I was working not shopping! I think the same feeling of bounty was present at both events. At the Flea, I think there was more of a sense of a pre-existing community but at the Jumble, it was like we were all new to it and to each other. I think I heard a lot more people saying ‘wow, this is an amazing idea’ at the Jumble than I did at the Fat Girl Flea because the Flea has been around for a while, but I think the Big Bum Jumble is the first ever such event in the UK.
What would you have done differently with hindsight?
I’d have had a better strategy for dealing with press and with creeps. We had a lot of last minute press attention and it was hard for me to get them to back off. I wanted press to promote the event in advance, not turn up on the day to take photos of us that they could then sell on as headless fatties. I had one creepy guy with a camera come too. He was a fat admirer and had come to the Jumble to hook up, I think. I was too nice to him and he took some liberties. I’m sorry if he took them with you.
I’d also spend less time flyering and more time on other forms of publicity. Though flyering on the day was a good use of time, in advance it didn’t add much compared to the effort and time it took.
I’d have also had a better plan for dealing with the leftover jumble. I’m still drowning under it in my house.
Finally, I wish I’d spent more time just enjoying the atmosphere and hanging out with friends. And more dancing to the Bops' music.
What were the highlights of the day for you?
The fashion show. What a sight it was. My eyes! I felt so awed by how incredible everyone looked. That John William really knows how to dress people! And at how brave all the volunteer models were, some of whom had no experience and some who only got roped in on the day. I was a bit anxious beforehand, because it came on late and I was worried about people getting fed-up waiting, but I don’t think anyone regretted the wait once it started. I loved abandoning my post at the door and running in to sit at the front and scream and whoop the whole way through. Just fantastic.
Did you find a Nudie Suit in the end?
No, still no Nudie Suit for me, but I have some nice new smart clothes for my new job, some cute new t shirts and at the last minute by find of the day, my 1992 Status Quo tour sweatshirt that fits me like a dream.
What advice do you have for other people thinking of putting on a Big Bum Jumble?
- Don’t underestimate how much work it is. I started in mid-May but still felt like I needed another month to do it all right.
- Don’t underestimate the effect on your real life of organising an event like this. Be kind to your loved ones.
- Don’t underestimate how much work it takes to publicise an event. We did loads of stuff, only a fraction of which turned into real coverage.
- Be specific about what you want help with and directly ask people to do certain jobs.
- Individual pricing of stuff is a drag. If you can go for blanket pricing policies it is much easier.
- Work out what to do with the leftovers in advance!
Will you do another one?
Yes, I reckon, but I think I need at least a year off.
What's next for you?
I’m still working on the Jumble for a while, tying up the many loose ends. After that, I think I’d like to start building some momentum towards the 2012 Fattylympics. I have made some connections with some paralympians who are interested in doing something whilst organising the Jumble. I’d like to do some local small scale projects that are about trying out activities. A fat swim is probably the easiest thing to organise but I’m keen on having a go at trampolining. Big Bum Bounce, anyone?
What else would you like to say?
The hugest of thank yous to everyone who came and shopped, everyone who helped in endless ways on the day and in advance, everyone who gave me their clothes. None of it could have happened without you.
How was it for you? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about your day at the Big Bum Jumble.