Usually I'm visiting shows in order to bring you the fresh products and patterns that are launching themselves into the world.
This week though is a bit different.
Although I will of course be scouting out the latest new stuff to show you, this time some of the new stuff is mine! I'm attending my first trade show as an exhibitor, launching Patternbooth's very first interiors range.
Exciting and terrifying in equal measures!
Like the first time for anything, it is only when you do something yourself that you really appreciate the amount of work that goes into it. There really is so much to do before you even get to the event itself.
If you've ever considered a trade show but are yet to take the leap, here is a tiny snippet of what's involved...
Of course your products need to be ready to be seen. For new products, that will mean months of sampling and production, decisions about labelling and packaging, and of course pricing.
I posted about my adventure in wallpaper a couple of weeks ago to share with you the journey of just one product from idea to production. If you have more than one product then increase the amount of work accordingly!
Don't forget to think about storage for your products once they are made. This was my wallpaper delivery!
I'm actually launching three products, wallpaper, lampshades and cushions, and I've spent weeks thinking about what will go on my stand. Here are just a few of the questions I asked myself...
How big is my stand?
How much can I fit on it without it being too crowded or looking too empty?
What will potential buyers want to see?
How will I display the products?
What is my budget for buying stuff?
How will I get it all to London?
The most valuable thing I did was to talk to people who have stood shows before, to learn from their experience. I tried lots of different ideas out in my sketchbook before deciding what to do, allowing weeks of time to get signs printed and to source some new shelves at a good price.
As well as the tonnes of forms you need to fill in for the show itself, there is a big pile of information you need to prepare ahead of the big day.
I started with a photo shoot, using the talents of my good friend photographer Sam Appa. Once the photos were in the bag I could work on my lookbook and my online shop. Press releases for the show and wholesale price lists for potential buyers all had to be designed and printed too. My mac has certainly been working overtime!
If you are thinking of doing a show for the first time, my biggest advice would be:
1. Start much further ahead of time than you think you need to.
2. Stick to your budget - it's easy to get carried away.
3. Seek out people who have been before and see if they will generously give you some advice.
It can only be the first time once (thank goodness!), so the next show will no doubt be much, much easier. I'll let you know how it goes...
On Wednesday I'll get to share all my new products with you. I can wait for you to see them!