On Thursday 7th June I set off from a very dreary Kinross for the next part of my placement with Lindsey. I was heading for London for a week to help, observe and speak to potential trade customers. A bit daunting for a 3rd year textile design student but I was excited too and it was an awesome opportunity to see the next part of the process involved with being a practising textile designer/maker who wants to reach customers through stores and other forms of suppliers.
The view from the train from Inverkeithing to Edinburgh was an inspiration with so many lines and shapes and ever the designer I was clicking away and getting strange glances from the passengers as to why I would be photographing a rainy day – what a shame they don’t understand!
So meeting Lindsey at Waverley Station we made our way to Platform 2 (not 1) !!!! and settled in in style – travelling 1st class no less. Somewhere in the ether there’s a photo of me to prove it but it never arrived so you’ll just have to believe me. We arrived safe and sound in London and am pleased to say met some lovely people who helped with bags and stairs etc. We stayed in an amazing house in Fulham, very luxurious and relaxed ready for Friday and setting up the show at Earls Court.
Friday arrived and off we set buying my first Oyster Card which you have to remember not to swipe and got the tube to the exhibition centre.
I’d been at Earls Court many years ago (20) for a needlework show and had forgotten how huge it was.
We found our stand and our delivery of furniture, samples, press packs etc and began the process of setting up ready for the start on Sunday when the trade buyers would arrive. It was hard to imagine everything would fit in.
A lot of time was spent placing and moving and changing round until it looked just perfect
You never know how something will look till you’re in the space.
And doesn’t it look fabulous – the stand made everyone smile with the beautiful colours and designs, it was a honour to stand and help Lindsey throughout the show and because I’d spent time with her on my previous placement I could speak about her work if I needed to.
Small businesses to large London buyers visited Lindsey and it was scary exciting and amazing all in one go!!!
Whilst there Lindsey encouraged me to attend as many seminars as possible. These are laid on for both buyers and exhibitors and what an amazing experience this was. I attended a Mary Portas pitch where 10 designers had 10 minutes to pitch their product to a team headed by Peter Cross – scary but they all did extremely well.
I also went along to hear Warren Knight as he helped show how using the latest trends in social media can help you find customers.
But my favourite was Sally Davies talking about trend forecasting for A/W 2012/13 for the home gift and accessories market. This was extremely interesting as we have used trend forecast journals in our briefs at art school and of course last year I attended Premiere Vision in Paris which is all about what will be trending 2 years on. Sally talked about how they arrived at trends and using excerpt from the forecasting book Mix Trends published by global color research showed colour palettes, materials and context using the products found in Pulse. Brilliant!!!
The show went extremely quickly, I met lovely designers on the stands around Lindseys’ and learned once more its not just about printing pretty fabric, there’s a heck of a lot of hard work, stress, networking, planning, figures, patience, laughter but on top of all that you have to have a product that the buyers will want to stock at a price that will keep both you with a roof over your head and them with a profit to be able to stock your gorgeous printed goodies. Has it put me off becoming a textile designer? Mmmmmmm let me think – no it hasn’t but its made me realise the reality of it all away from the safe cocoon of the art school studio.
I have to say a huge thank you to Scot and Corrinne for letting me stay in their awesome home and once more to Lindsey for an experience that will stay with me forever.