quincylampshades

Posts Tagged ‘top drawer

Let me introduce to you a certain Mrs O. From Scotland; hard-working, ambitious and creative. Nerves of steel, it would seem, to set up a wee business whilst working a full-time job involving overseas placements for months at a time. ‘Help!’ she said over email to me late one night, ‘I need to MAKE!’, she cried. Tired of batting administrative emails to and fro, Mrs O wanted to learn how to make the lampshades her and her business partner, Mrs G, had been outsourcing to a lampshade-makers elsewhere. Now Mrs G is a talented designer, producing the most lovely, hand-printed country landscape prints, linens and silks featuring stags, hares and hummingbirds that sell like hot-cakes. With an over-flowing order book, a not-so-flexible lampshade supplier and an eye on the numbers, Mrs O travelled all the way from Inverness to spend a day with me, learning how to make their silks into shades. We had a very good day. I shared my skills; she shared her knowledge. (She’s a clever one.) Since then, I have picked up some work from this happy partnership supplying lampshades direct to their customers and I am super-stoked to see them feature at Top Drawer, Sept 2012. That’s Orwell and Goode then.

And on the arrival of a beautiful Orwell and Goode lampshade as made by me? Here’s what our first happy customer said:

I just wanted to drop you an email to say that the lampshade has arrived and that I’m utterly thrilled with it. It’s far more beautiful that I thought it could be and the finish is so hugely neat & professional.

Stunning, thank you!! A very very happy customer!

Yesterday I visited two trade shows, both at Earls Court London – Top Drawer Spring and Home. Top Drawer showcases design-led gifts, lifestyle and fashion accessories for 2012, whilst Home was all about new homewares and interiors accessories. Both of these huge bright spaces were packed with really exciting stuff – like the bestest, most loveliest shop you have ever, ever seen. Trouble being that, as an individual, you cannot buy! These shows are for retail buyers – people who decide what’s going to be sold in the shops. As an exhibitor you’re there to show off your product and pick up as many orders as you can.

If I hadn’t had a list of people to meet, products to see and a car parking limit, I could have spent a long, long time wandering the aisles. Some booths were small and peppered with a select range of the exhibitor’s products. Other spaces were huge and set out like shops, full to bursting. Each space was brilliantly lit and tendered by the designer-maker themselves or by the brand’s representatives. It was the designer-makers who caught my attention – I recognised the fascination on their faces as they watched the visitors eyeing up their wares. I recognised the nerves, the hard work, the attention they gave to each and every enquiry made  – after all, this person could be placing the big order they went there to get!

I learnt some lessons –

  1. Must get business cards printed and carry them at all times (I introduced myself to some gorgeous fabric designers, including Thornback & Peel and Abigail Borg, but had nothing to give them).
  2. Must be more confident with business/trade/retail terminology (I must know what I am talking about).
  3. Do not attempt a trade show for another few years (I must have absolute confidence in my product, brand, business direction and ability to fulfil orders to stand tall in this very polished environment).
  4. Continue to use social media to follow through with contacts (a Facebook mention, a Like and Twitter follow reminds them of me and keeps me up-to-date with their work).
  5. It’s all in the detail. I will start using 12mm tape for the ring set rolling.

So, best of luck to Caroline from Warbeck and Cox, who I finally had the pleasure of meeting, and who found herself in the ‘Spotted’ section of the show – hurrah! (See our collaboration below.) And Lush Designs, whose work is truly luscious and who was just too busy taking a massive order for me to say hi! Take a look at their stand here.


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