what next? ummm...

now that Top Drawer is over ... i have no project. [sad face] i always have a project...this feels wrong, very wrong!  so i need to get some new projects started to make things normal again.  but i've had a quick think about what i hope to achieve this year and i've decide that:

"2014 will be the year of just going with it"

i've had a lot of great feedback from the show and lots of exciting leads to follow up. i've already had some orders through which is AWESOME and i'm so excited that i'll soon be seeing my products in shops! 

but even in these few days after i've realised i'm in a different position now and can't really plan quite like i'm used to. the past year was made up of getting a range done that was ultimately for use on products to get displayed at Top Drawer - lots of mini projects all leading to the same end result.

and now i've done that i have contacts and leads that could take me in a few directions. i can't (and don't want to) restrict myself with a tight knit plan. i'm not saying i was wrong to do that last year - i had to do that to make sure everything was ready for the show and i got the most out of it. which i truly think i did. but this year will be different! it'll be a lot of seeing what happens and just going with the flow. i have no idea what things may come from the show and i have an exciting meeting on monday which could spark something off! i'm not going to share just yet but don't worry - details will follow when i know more ... watch this space ...

i will of course be working on some new ranges - i've already started christmas, ridiculous i know! i have some ideas that have been bubbling around for a while that i'm itching to get working on ... i have my friends wedding invites to do (above was the motif for their 'save the dates') ... i have my next collection to complete for my 'secret project' ... so that's a few little things to keep me busy for the next couple of months ...

Top Drawer Spring 2014...the review!

what can i say? Top Drawer and Home London were AMAZING! they did not fail to impress - so many talented people on display launching their new ranges, some previous exhibitors and some myself! it was my first trade show and i LOVED it! can't wait to do the next one!

lots of interest across the three days, every day was a bit different - Sunday was the smaller boutique-y shops looking for exciting new stock, Monday i had chats about commission work and some press came and took some pics, and Tuesday was a bit of a mix too - a few shops, as well as other trade shows and pop up shops offering chances to showcase my products.

one of the nicest things to hear was when someone said they had spotted my products in the pre-show mag or on the website and they had tracked me down. it took a few goes to get used to talking to people but then you realise they just want a bit of a chat and it's easy peasey, haha.

i got to meet lots of people from the ABSPD course - Suzy Washington, Wendy Flynn (finally!), Trina Esquivelzeta, Jess Wilde, Kathryn Pledger, Kathy Schicker, Poppy Westwell, Jess Williams, Esther Cox...i hope i haven't forgotten anyone...sorry if i have!

take down was fun. i say that sarcastically. all hell broke loose. 5 o'clock and everyone has 5 hours to take everything down and get the hell out of the building! our slot for packing up wasn't until 7 and we couldn't be bothered to wait so we decided (foolish or not) to walk everything to the car parked 10 minutes away. 3 trips between 3 of us (thank you to Alice who only came to visit but ended up helping with take down!). i think i speak for all of us when i say Wednesday morning lie in could not come soon enough!

but that wasn't all the work done, oh no. straight on to following up all the contacts made at the show and now we wait replies. some goods news to share very soon but i'll keep you waiting for that ;) 

i did manage to have a quick look round Top Drawer and Home and met fellow ABSPD-ers Zoe Atwell and Hannah Nunn, but unfortunately missed Cara Holland (Patternbooth) and Anna Dent. here are a few of my favourite stands and the lovely designers themselves.  feast your eyes on this little lot...

Sian Elin - pretty eye catching wouldn't you say? nothing needs to be said...

I Drew This - cutey character cards were my favourites

Blooming Briony - i went to school with her! small world :)

Jessica Hogarth Designs - new summery card ranges

Stitch and Story - was opposite this stand so could stare at the loveliness all day long...

Rocket 68 - retro style caught my eye walking passed. unfortunately Jill was a little camera shy :p

i would also just like to say a few thank you's -
Liz Smith (Elle Jane Designs) for helping me throughout this project;
Jess Hogarth for giving me so much advice it's ridiculous;
Jen Whitham for her advice too and also for introducing me to Jess in the first place when i was doing my first Spitalfields market;
Deb Velasquez for all her printing tips;
Sam Nesbitt for the photo shoot;
Quincy Lampshades for making the designs into the fabulous shades they now are;
all the ABSPDers for their support and encouragement;
and of course, friends and family.
i'm sure there are others but my brain still isn't back up to full speed so i apologise.

gosh, that turned into a bit of an awards ceremony speech didn't it?! sorry about that!! i just wanted to say thanks dudes, it means a lot :)

it's finally here...the Big Plan is complete...

i can't believe it. it's here. it's tomorrow. pretty much one year in the making and in 3 days'll be over.

that'll be weird, won't it.

this means The Big Plan has been completed. Top Drawer is here. you might have followed me throughout the year, and seen my journey from the very start - sourcing manufacturers, putting together collections, receiving the actual products, building a new website, starting the marketing campaign... all completed alongside various e-courses, a couple of holidays and a full time job.

the Big Plan
but there was lots of other stuff going on in the background too. i've been constantly updating social network sites, working on a licensing project, working out my trade and retail prices, getting my brochures together, organising press packs, sending out's been quite the project!

i'm not sure how many people realise but when you're setting up your own design business you aren't just a designer, you have many many hats to, admin, saleswoman, accountant (i never thought i'd have to do maths was horrible!!)

but it's all done now. 

and this is my official top drawer exhibitors page. very exciting!

set up went incredibly smoothly - awesome day! i had help from my wonderful assistant Liz (Elle Jane Designs) and all was complete in 6 hours. superb! 

very strange to see the hall in such chaos - boxes, wrapping, crates, tool boxes - carnage everywhere!

i popped along to see Jess Hogarth and Blooming Briony setting up their stands and excited to see there final set ups tomorrow.

i can't wait to start the show. i thought i'd be far more stressed than this if i'm honest but i'm actually quite relaxed...which is great!  here's to a fantastic show for us all!