November 15, 2018
There are days when serendipity seems to guide you to the perfect conclusion. A chance meeting, something in common, a shared interest, or just having the perfect colour of something that makes a product just sing!
We first met the buying team from Museum Of London at Top Drawer in September 2017 – our Christmas decorations caught their eye and we added them to our wholesale newsletter distribution list. We didn’t have anything that sparked their imagination enough to create an order right then – but we are patient humans (most of the time).
Christmas zoomed past us in a whirl of reindeer wooden tree decorations and we managed to raise our heads again in January and take a breath. Isn’t Christmas always like that? No matter how prepared you think you might be, you always feel like you come sliding in by the seat of your pants. But a new year is so full of inspiration and new ideas and time to create again, and this was the energy we took with us to Maison et Object in Paris – a gorgeous trade show that is definitely in my calendar again for next year.
And it was here that we started seeing the velvet trend embed itself from tentative emergence, to confident and bold newcomer, owning the show! It was everywhere we looked – or maybe it’s just what spoke to me – because we came home with a deep velvet love and ideas a plenty of what to develop and how to make it a reality.
Meanwhile, back in the City of London, the Museum was finalising their Votes for Women exhibition. A celebration of the centenary of the Representation of the People Act. And as any museum or gallery will appreciate, a new exhibition means a search for new mementos for the shop. A search that had started months earlier looking for the right style, the right price point, the right turnaround times and most critically low minimum orders. Because a temporary exhibition definitely needs stock. Not so much that you are still holding it 12 months after the exhibit has closed, but not so few that you run out of the popular items and lose potential sales. And the relevant colours for this particular exhibit are deep purple and emerald green – who on earth works in those colours?
Back to Betsy Benn and fast forward to Spring Fair in Birmingham (yes – a lot less glamorous sounding than Paris – but one exhibition hall is much like another and it certainly took less time to get to!) Plums, burnt oranges, deep blues and teals, mustards, blush pinks, jade and emerald greens – the rich jewel tones of the velvet cushions I’d just found from a supplier at Spring Fair were STUNNING. We’d spent three weeks experimenting on velvet fabric and what we might be able to achieve with our laser and got some great results with maps so now we hoped we could get the same results on cushions. Our own exhibition at Pulse in Olympia was coming up and we had some total wow factor products in mind.
Our stand was going to look totally different to anything we’d done before (including a whole wall of velvet!) So completely different that anyone who had seen us before might not actually recognise us. Just in case, we dropped a quick email out to all our wholesale newsletter gang to let them know where we were going to be and what delights they might expect to find. The team at Museum of London were one of the first to say they’d come to find us and that’s when something magical happened in the creative processes in the backs of our brains.
We redrew the iconic “Votes for Women” slogan from a photograph of suffragettes on a march and created the design on the purple velvet cushion JUST for Museum of London and when the team spotted it on our stand, they loved it.
We were delighted to develop the idea further and create a similar cushion featuring the slogan Deeds Not Words and are proud to say that both cushions are now available in the gift shop and to order online.
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April 15, 2020
We thought for a long time about whether to have a break, how that would look, what kind of business we would come back to if we did and what our impact is on the other businesses we work with and our customers.