Last week we took part in the Top Drawer trade show in Olympia London. This is the only UK show we now do, as we have been focusing more on international sales for the past couple of years - so it was a really lovely opportunity for us to meet all of our customers, and potential new ones too and show-off our latest designs.
We were blessed with gorgeous warm sunny weather and a stay in our friend’s Camden house, so it wasn’t something to dread! We also had double our usual stand size due to the exhibitor behind us dropping out. I only found out about this on the Friday, and with set-up on Saturday we had some last-minute changes and some extra stock to organise!
As usual when we arrived it was chaos in the aisles, with boxes everywhere. When we eventually found our stand the wall between the two original stands hadn’t been removed as promised. We eventually found the culprit who admitted he had removed the wrong wall from somebody else’s stand instead! Soon everything was sorted though and we began painting, putting up our lights and generally designing it on the hoof due to late changes!
However, this new larger stand gave us the opportunity to have a central table setting display – something we’ve often talked about - and we decided to use the Cat collection, as it is currently our largest range and looked great with natural woven placemats, simple cutlery and lots of plants that echoed the plants in the designs.
Things all came together fairly easily but it took 8 hours, and we didn’t leave until 8:15pm, slightly losing the will to live, and deciding not to bother with plates on the walls, as they are not strong sellers and this would have taken another hour! All we had found to eat so far was some shrunken dried-out chips in one of the café’s in the hall so we headed off to a local Camden pub, only to be offered more chips as all vegan options had sold out. Not the healthiest of days….!
Day 1 was Sunday, still sunny and gorgeous, and my only day at the show as I had planned to visit a Paris trade show called Maison & Objet on Monday as we are exhibiting there for the first time in the New Year.
Sunday was busy, and showed good promise for the rest of the show. We saw many of our customers, and had some good conversations about politics amongst other things! We also took plenty of orders and followed it up with exhibitor drinks in a rooftop bar next door, all hosted by Clarion the organisers. It was a lovely opportunity to catch up with exhibitor friends, and find out how their show had been going.
Dave and Kate manned the show on Monday and Tuesday as I headed off on the Eurostar to the most glamorous show in Europe… TBC in the next blog!
Kate continues with Top Drawer…
I arrived at lunchtime on Monday to man the show with Dave so he could take a break and get a coffee. We had a constant flow of visitors to the stand and the 6 o’clock finish time came around really quickly, we barely had time to nip to the loo! Lots of new stockists were really drawn in by the new Dog range – Barklife and also the fabulous Cat table setting. The doggy characters got lots of fans!
Tuesday morning started a bit more quietly. The last day of a trade show is always a bit slower, but we were really pleased that we still had a steady stream of people to talk to and it was turning into our best-ever show.
We like to call our stockists regularly throughout the year to catch up with how our ranges are going down with customers and also to get an idea of the retail landscape, but Trade shows are a great opportunity to put faces to names and I really love the opportunity to meet our stockists in person.
As soon as the show closes at 5pm on the last day it’s a really quick change of atmosphere. The music goes off and the beautiful stands quickly get taken down, stock packed into boxes and an army of hi-viz jackets arrive to start pulling up carpets and wheeling out crates. It’s mayhem!
The shows are a really supportive environment between the exhibitors and there’s often a great deal of sharing of tools, storage space and information. Everybody wants to get out as quickly as possible though and Dave in particular has got breaking-down the stand off to a fine art! We took down the lights, shelves and wall decoration and I left him to pack the van so I could rush off to catch my train. Until the next time Top drawer!
Coming Soon, our Turkey Salt and Pepper Shakers, and Peacock Christmas Decorations
We would like to say a massive thank you to all of our regular stockists that made it to the show, and also all of the new ones we took orders from, we look forward to working with you.