top drawer & home round-up!

so i had a little day out with my fellow Smith-onian - Liz - of Elle Jane Designs on sunday - we went wondering around 2 fab trade shows - Top Drawer and Home.

i wasn't off to the best start - i had set my alarm to the right time but not on the right day so had to rush round to get my train but then realised i hadn't even printed my ticket. not to worry though as Liz had got on the wrong train and was heading the complete wrong direction! so between the two of us we were starting a cracker of a day!

anyway, when we finally made it to Earls Court our first stop was Home. we hadn't been to this show before so wasn't really sure what to expect. it was chilled out! a nice easy start to the morning...we had a slow wonder round - saw Wayne Hemingway (great stand - loved the water 'butts'!), Marimekko, Mini moderns (love love love the more i see)...

...then we reached the 'home grown' section which housed our Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design e-course tutor (crikey that's a long introduction!) Rachael Taylor. i saw her last at Top Drawer in september and this time round her stand was even better - full of cushions, bags, wallpapers, tea towels, aprons and some new lampshades.

we also stopped off and had a chat with Jess Hogarth of Jessica Hogarth Designs. she won the Confessions of a Design Geek (COADG) Bursary and got to show off her designs at Home - how fantastic is that! lovely gal and a well deserved of luck Jess!

and then over we went to the Top Drawer side. hmmm....very different. it was like a marketplace compared to Home!! all hustle and bustle, full of life and JAM-PACKED full of people.

along the way we met up with Esther of Esther Cox's Kiosk. (it turns out we had been stood right next to Esther when talking to Jess but didn't realise at the time...doh!). we had a quick run down with where we were all at in our design lives (all at panic stage i think!) and off we went on another inspiration hunt.

here's a few of my hot finds:

zeena - delightful screenprinted & handmade cushions, and illustrated sticky tapes:

amy allwright - screenprinted pinnys, tea towels and cafetiere cosys

stormy knight - aka sarah knight. eco-friendly greetings and stationery products.

double sided notebook - 'my rubbish ideas / my bright ideas'

elena deshmukh - gorgeous handmade cards (and an even more gorgeous website)

we popped back and forth between the two shows a couple of times and stopped off to speak to Tina of tobyboo at the recommendation of Esther. lovely lady, full of tips and advice (and some free rock!). she had exhibited at Pulse last year and was now taking the next step and exhibiting her range of goods  in Home...

we stopped off and had another good chat with Rachael, who was now joined by kelly. yet more advice was given and some 'gentle' pushing for me to go and book my stall that very second!

i had been planning on doing Top Drawer in september but was steadily getting a bit nervous.  after seeing these shows i've had a good long think about things, talked them through with my appointed 'kick-me-up-the-a***-if-get-too-slack' gal, Liz (thanks Liz!) and i am going to postpone and do the january show instead (if they'll accept me of course!). i am still on my quest to find manufacturers so factoring in how long it could take to get samples, finalise my designs, do the artwork, sort out stand props, do the brouchure, PLUS work a full time job...well, i think i would be near to breaking and wouldn't get to really enjoy the whole process if i had to get it all by september!!  i would be far happier to have those extra 3-4 months to organise myself and feel 100% confident in my work.

so that's the plan - either Top Drawer or Home in January. one year from now...i have a wall dedicated to my show plans, i have a monthly planner, i have organised and colour co-ordinated all of my emails from manufacturers so far...let's get cracking!