Monday, 25 July 2011

Back In The Studio.

I have just returned from Harrogate Home & Gift Show. It has been a long 6 days!
The day before opening, Mum and I took the day setting up the stand ready for buyers to come in and see what I have been up to. Once again arriving to an empty shell scheme, and visualising how to make it look pretty.

Surprisingly it took us even longer this time to set up, including an hours lunch in the town centre, but adjustments had to be made to the walls I had prepared as the boards weren't as tall as they were set out in the plans, so a bit of cropping had to be done. The spotlights also had to be moved to fit in with the plans I had submitted. The minutes add up when unexpected things crop up.

With an extra 30 designs to accommodate we had a bigger stand this time.

The show was down in footfall this year according to past exhibitors, which was a disappointment, but I did take orders at the show, and it would seem that orders are coming in by phone afterwards rather than being taken on the day. So it is looking promising despite my initial thoughts.

Anyway, getting everything to the location, a five hour train journey from home, was the usual fun. Especially carrying a new greeting card spinner to show off my Enchanted Collection.

There is nothing Mum and I can't get in a suitcase!

Making time for a wonderful chocolate cake from Betty's Tea Rooms.

It was lovely to meet lots of twitterers at the show, and existing customers too, who had travelled a long way to exhibit or come to order or have a chat. It is like having an extended family and as always the other exhibitors were so fun and friendly. I am so lucky to be in such an exciting industry where everyone is really supportive and energetic. No doubt I will see you all again soon, and I will be tweeting with you as usual!

So, it's now on with packing orders and working on new designs. I have so much planned for the future, it's really exciting!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Nomination for the Prince's Trust Young Ambassador of the Year Award.

On the 30th of March this year I spoke at an event for the Prince's Trust alongside TV presenter and Prince's Trust Ambassador Nicholas Owen and the founder of 'Trunki' Rob Law at a South West Leadership Group 'Evening of Enterprise'. After presenting at this event and others that I have attended for the charity as a Young Ambassador, the Prince's Trust have put me forward as a nominee for the Prince's Trust Young Ambassador of the Year Award 2011.  
It came as a real surprise to be nominated and I have recently been sent feedback about me from Nicholas Owen, which is slightly surreal as I am more used to seeing him on the TV.

Me caught on camera at a Prince's Trust event.
 Here is what Nicholas had to say about me:

"I was frankly astonished and utterly impressed by Fay Martin.  Her dedication to her business, her determination not to give up....her qualities are exactly what the Prince's Trust wants to foster.  I can think of nobody better to encourage others.  With her, we can indeed Celebrate Success." 

I will have more updates on my nomination soon and a date for the ceremony, so I will post some photos when it all happens. 

Harrogate Home & Gift Show 2011

Off went my first export order last week. It was really exciting as I watched the lorry drive away. The boxes have such a long way to travel all the way to New Zealand. They will take a couple of months to arrive, so I hope they are ok when they get to their destination.

I have been busily preparing for my next trade show, the fourth in 19 months. It is a lot for me to take on, as it is with many start up publishers. I don't have the luxury of a lorry to transport all of my display to the exhibition centre and so Mum and I struggle along on public transport which in itself is a challenge. We decided that as Harrogate is a five hour journey, travelling and putting up the exhibition in one day is just too much to take on, so we have booked an extra day in Harrogate to at least have a little relaxation time before the doors open.

I am really looking forward to visiting Harrogate for the first time and meeting buyers from further North. I can't wait to bump into my creative friends too and meeting those who I have only spoken to via twitter. It will be great to put faces to those tiny avatars.

I am just recovering from tonsillitis. I am glad that it didn't come this week as I have had so much to do, but it delayed cuddles with my newborn Niece Ella-Jane. I am so happy to be an Auntie and wanted to share this photo with you. She will be pulling my hair in no time!

I have also had a little secret mission for a while, which I haven't been able to share much about. I am so pleased to say that over the past couple of months I have been working on a freelance basis, designing some greeting cards for Next which will be coming to the shops in 2012.

I am really fortunate to have been working with them and I can't wait to see the results. I will share it all with you when they are published.

I was also in Birmingham last week with my boyfriend who was hunting for somewhere to live during his PGCE (teacher training), and of course I had to pop to the Bullring shopping centre for a browse. I hadn't realised that my cards were in the Paperchase inside Selfridges, so when I spotted them on the shelf I had to get some snaps. It made my day! I am sure people were wondering what I was smiling about.

I am sure there will be lots of news after the show, and hopefully some new projects to take on. I already have plans for new card ranges but need some Studio time to get pencil to paper.