There had been too many years of just showing locally to a specific client base - considered, at least in my mind a bit of a safe bet. Working in the Wove in Hove weavery, neatly buried in the deep countryside of Co Fermanagh, it took more than a few prods from a number of different individuals to stick my head above the parapet.
So now a Wove in Hove on-line shop has arrived and don't it feel good! With the shop comes commitments including the opportunity to write a few notes and comments so, here goes...
The recent January 2013 call from Liberty in London's 'Best of British' for potential new designers was the right motivator to get the new year underway. Though catching that 05.54 early morning train from Hove to London Victoria took an iron will. A damp, rainy day welcomed about 1500 of us hopefuls to queue from the early hours. Yet the queueing part of the experience was just great. Patrolled by minders clutching walkie talkies, the atmosphere felt exciting, full of expectations! It was a chance to swap tales of sales, exchange biz cards and gossip about trade shows, new ideas, plans... and oggle those fortunate enough to have grabbed a steaming coffee.
When at last we moved forward, into the warmth of Liberty's stairwell things really started to gear up a notch or two. Suddenly the chatter was over. This was it and suddenly things felt kind of....serious! What would the buyers be like? How successful would my pitch be? Ushered into the oak panelled top floor we reported in, prepared our work then sat on dainty gilded chairs and waited for our name to be called.
People watching provided a fascinating diversion for the nerves. From bulging suitcases crammed with beautiful gowns to slim-line folders holding just a few delicate scarves - it was a Vogue type fashion extravaganza.
At last 'Louise Hardman' was called and I found my self in front of the buyers. The scarves were shown, questions asked, price and delivery discussed, complimentary remarks made. All this as the allotted three minute time allowance ticked away, discreetly chaperoned behind my shoulder by a smart assistant. Thankfully I was allowed to overrun by a few minutes, gave my business card when requested to and made a cogenial getaway after the buyers' parting, "We'll be in touch".
"That went well didn't it?" was the smart assistant's friendly comment.
Later on, sipping that welcome cup of coffee was bliss. Exchanging thoughts with a fellow hopeful, texting friends and family with the news, life felt good!
Wove in Hove is still waiting for the buyers to get in touch. However, whatever the outcome it was a grand un-missable experience. Watch this space!