Morning! I hope you are all warm and well, it's freezing here. Yesterday I had a fantastic time visiting Top Drawer in London. After a few problems getting there I finally arrived with my lovely friend Ruth, of Duke & The Duchess. The first mission was to find some of my fab twitter friends you had stands there. Slighty sidetracked by the bold colours that greeted us at the Rice stand we soon moved on to find Jane of Snapdragon and Becky of Dots & Spots. Janes stand looked fab and you would never have guessed everything had been squeezed in to a suitcase as she travelled down from Scotland! Becky's stand was also amazing and whilst I knew she had a lot of products, seeing them all on her stand and then later looking at her catologue, I realised just how many designs Becky now has. I was also excited to see her new mugs which will be available very soon on Becky's website.
dots & spots stand
As we had arrived close to lunchtime, next stop was some lunch! Also a quick check on my phone and a call to Fiona Humberstone of Flourish Studios as she was also visiting and we had prearranged to meet up. Fiona is an incredibly inspiring lady who understands small creative businesses and I am very excited to be starting the Branding Masterclass with her next month. Once lunch was eaten we went to meet Charlotte of Charlotte Macey Textiles, Gabrielle of The Green Gables and Katie of What Katie Did Next who were all exhibiting at Top Drawer for the first time. Their stands looked gorgeous and I especially loved Katie's stand with great display props, of white washed ladders and wooden shelves. They all were having a good first show and enjoying the feedback they received from visitors and I am sure you will be seeing their products in many more retail outlets very soon.
what katie did next stand
After saying goodbye to Fiona, Ruth & I continued exploring the vast exhibtion as we looked at the Gift and Fashion sections. So many fantastic products to see and lots of lovely people to meet and chat to. After a coffee break we returned to Top Drawer to look at the childrens products and also Spotlight area. It was lovely to meet the ladies behind the new brand, Carddies. I received their press release last week and loved the whole concept of their toys and will be sharing more later this week. I also had a quick chat with Dom from Cutture whose designs I love. He works with his wife creating beautiful laser and handcut stationery. I also spotted Caroline, of Warbeck & Cox and stopped for a quick chat!
Next we visited the HOME exhibition in the hall next door to Top Drawer. Whilst this felt like a more open, less crowded exhibtion I found alot of the people on the stands were less friendly,apart from the lovely lady on the Donna Wilson stand. Unfortunately both times I passed the Mini Moderns stand they were busy so didn't get to say hello in person after chatting on twitter previously.
Now starting to flag a little we headed back to Top Drawer for much needed cake and managed to get a table to sit and enjoy a sweet treat. It was lovely to have a rest and I didn't envy the designers manning their stands for three days. Having realised I hadn't seen all the of the Children's section we had one last wander round and loved the little Maileg bunnies and mice. I also met Karen, of Blueberry Park whose craft kits are perfect for children.
Heading home, tired but filled with inspiration and ideas I realised how many of the people I had spoken to today I had never met before, yet to me they are old friends. We have chatted on twitter and email for many, many months and know each others childrens names, husbands names the highs and lows each has experienced in their business and even their personal lives. Whilst it may have been the first time we met it wasn't strange to chat happily with them as I already know them. Twitter is an amazing part of my life, without it I wouldn't know so many wonderful people.
I wish everyone at Top Drawer a great last today and am sure many of my friends are going home with busy order books.
Have a great day everyone,
PS Just wanted to say sorry to Ruth as I stopped and chatted to so many people.