And so January 2014 will always be memorable, I did Top Drawer for the first time.
After years and I mean years of dreaming of doing such a trade fair I just went and did it, well not quite that straightforward but hey!
so here goes, my journey in words.
It takes a bit of thinking getting everything ready for a trade show
sleepless nights spent wondering if I have covered everything.
Order forms, catalogues, insurance, marketing etc but once you have done one the process starts to get a bit easier.
I think the best way to approach doing a trade show is to have fun.
Its the one time where you can meet lots and lots of people who share the same interest, a nerd fest for card lovers and designers. Where you can get a first hand view on what people really think about your work and other peoples and make contacts.
Our journey began in Brighton on the Saturday morning at the studio, after loading the car, which involved lugging my boards and other stuff down 3 flights of stairs we set off up to London.
London yeah it gets quite busy up there, we finally arrive at Earls Court at 2 and swiftly unload the car, check into the (not too shabby) hotel 2 minutes away then back to my home for the next 3 days to set up.
4 hours later and I am already frazzled but the hard bit is done, see below :)
Heres me looking said frazzled after setting up.
So I was in aisle C, on my left was Jill from Rocket 68 and to my right Jessica Hogarth, I had read press about Jess and Rocket 68 and knew they were hot property so it was great to be inbetween them.
Opposite Lou Mills, been exhibiting at Top Drawer for 4 years now and a bit further down the talented Petra Boase, who has exhibited roughly 16 years. She told me she remembers being one of the only card stands at the early shows and now there is a whole section dedicated to greeting cards & stationery.
Further down the very end of the aisle was a bit of a personal fave the V cool Rosie Wonders and awesome Stop the clock.
Around the corner Tamsin Seed with Studio Seed with the most beautiful boutique stationery and opposite Alison Hardcastle with her sunny simple style.
What a fabulous collection of talented ladies all in such a small area!
Where are the boys...??? well 2 of them were a couple of aisles across where 2 fellow Brightonians were sharing a stand, David of Custard with his collaged cheeky designs and Ashley of LinoKing with his gorgeous hand embossed cards.
Opening day, Sunday, as I walked to the entrance of the show at the back of Earls Court I said goodbye to the sunshine (its not raining which is good) and went into the hall along with TONS of other exhibitors, a stomach full of nerves and excitment, a big deep breath and I am in it, no going back.
The first person I met was Jessica Howgarth, shes great and immediately it was all going to be cool.
We all took a bit of time to chat and settle in and then the show began, I was surprised at how busy it became so quickly and as we all stood there anxiously i the conversations began and order forms came out.
I am not going to go into the details of every day but every day began the same and ended well for everyone around and that is all we could have wished for.
Sauntering past I saw badges revealing buyers from London Zoo, Fenwicks, Paperchase, Saatchi Gallery, MTV, what a crew, and that is not to mention a countless number of artistic business men and women from retailers and the creative industry AND the ones who kept their badges under wraps!!
Me and Jess.
Jess's laid back line work with simple colour palettes and coastal subjects matter was super fresh on the eye.
Skip to Tuesday, the last day and it feels sad now, the Monday had been exhausting I had just about managed dinner at the funky Troubadour Pub ( some cool bands played there and I am sure will again) and then an early night and so Tuesday was the last day, I decided I was going to try and wizz around the show when it got quiet.
First thing I had a better look around the card section, I loved this stand.
The flowers had all been made by Imogen Owen and were stunning, Imogen I wish I had known of you when I got married, I would have commissioned you you are very talented!!
Across from Imogen was Big Jon with some of my favourite cards from the show.
I love his new floral range below and his Dusty Carr range had me laughing out loud!
© big jon designs.
Finally I made it into MADE section of the show, here there was stunning home ware and I was pleased when I came across the Anorak stand, I remember chatting with Laurie back in 2008 one time when I visited the show, its quite something to see how much her brand AND stand have grown, inspirational stuff.
And so that brings me to the end of my post for now, its been quite a pip and now 16 weeks until the next one I Drew This will be at PG Live again and this time with a bigger stand so lots of new designs to come, better get cracking!!