Sunday, 26 October 2014
Summer passed by in a whirl of Top Drawer preparation and orders and now here we are in Autumn. How did that happen so quick?
The studio is constantly busy with orders, design work, promotional work to be done and ordering in stock and supplies. Days fly by and I find there's little time for blogging unfortunately.
I'm looking forward to the next couple of months. With no Top Drawer January to prepare for this Christmas and once the bulk of the Christmas orders have left (nearing that time fast I think) I can look forward to a few months of designing, coming up with new products and making more of a conscious decision about the path our range goes. This will include editing the current range a bit and adding some capsule collections and new exciting products. Three trade fairs this year has tired me out a little and I need the time to step back and properly assess everything before the next trade fair (which will most likely be Pulse in May 2015.)
In the meantime I'll be opening the studio doors once again for a Christmas Pop-Up Shop and Open Studio. This time I'll also be featuring some of Dear Prudence's illustrated cards and gift wrap. If you're in the Yorkshire area we hope to see you on the 15 & 16th of November in Nunburnholme. It's worth a day out in itself to come to the beautiful Yorkshire Wolds and have tea and cake with us!!
Posted by Alison at 13:36
Wednesday, 11 June 2014
I can't believe it's nearly 3 weeks since we got back from New York and exhibiting at the Stationery Show.
Here's a little snapshot from our trip - both the show and our meandering around the city.
To sum it up it was:
- Successful & busy - orders, lots and lots of contacts, interesting leads and avenues to follow up.
- Fun - How can you not have fun in New York City!
- Tiring - we walked until our feet nearly fell off!
- Colourful, inspiring and different - we couldn't have been further away (distance and surroundings) from our little rural studio. All that noise, colour and frenetic activity were a welcome break. It is nice to get back though!
We came back feeling very happy that we'd taken the plunge and ventured over the pond.
Posted by Alison at 14:15
Thursday, 15 May 2014
We've been busying away for the past few months preparing for the New York National Stationery Show and finally it's here. We're flying in the morning and I'm very excited at the prospect of an overseas adventure. Taking my products to another country has been a dream for the past year and I can't wait to see what a new audience thinks. Hopefully we'll have a positive response.
It's taken a herculean effort to get everything ready - planning, ordering, catalogues, invites, new designs... the list has been endless but finally the cases are packed and we're itching to get going.
In my absence in the studio Sarah (my very competent and extremely organised studio assistant) will be running everything here and making sure orders are processed and despatched as usual.
I'll be posting when I get back - hopefully with lots of great photos.
Posted by Alison at 13:00
Wednesday, 26 February 2014
Just a few snaps (sorry - from my phone again!) of Edinburgh where we were at the weekend. We went up to my favourite city for the wedding of our friends Jill and Matthew. They (although I suspect Jill more than Matthew!) didn't disappoint with the details and little finishing touches on the day. They'd thought of everything and Jill's interior eye was very much evident. They whole ceremony and reception was held in The Caves so it was extremely atmospheric with candles and low lighting. I didn't get many photos (- mostly of the bride and groom!) so here's just a couple.
We also visited the Museum of Scotland which has been extensively refurbished since the days when I was an Illustration student at Ediburgh College of Art and used to go and draw artefacts and do research. It's now a very light and bright space packed full of exciting things to see. Martha rushed around at the speed of light as all small children do in museums but we did see a lot and I loved the building and the actual space more than anything. I could have spent much longer there just hanging out and people watching.
Edinburgh never disappoints me when I visit. Perhaps it's the affinity you get with the place where you've studied and the friends and memories which go with it but I do feel very attached to it and feel revived whenever I visit.
Posted by Alison at 14:19
Wednesday, 5 February 2014
Wow and where did that time go.....?
Was it really October last time I posted anything on here?!
So you may have gathered I've been a bit busy to say the least. Time has been marching along punctuated by Open Studio, trade and retail fairs, busy silly season and many many orders.
Last time I was on here I was about to host my first ever Open Studio / Pop-Up shop. This was a huge success and also very enjoyable. I got to spruce up the studio into a 'shop', make and serve tea and cake and sell my wares to the public directly. It is definitely an experience I would love to repeat perhaps more regularly than once a year.
The next challenge was Harrogate Country Living Fair. I have mixed feelings about this. It was busy but not as busy as I'd expected for the centre of Harrogate 3 weeks before Christmas and the stress and exhaustion which resulted from 5 days of to-ing and fro-ing to Harrogate out-weighed the benefits I'm afraid.
In amid the Christmas mayhem I fitted in a lovely wedding stationery commission for my good friends Jill and Matthew. The bad photography (I've been getting lazy again and just relying on my camera phone) doesn't do it justice but the end result was a subtle and beautiful motif perfectly suited to their wedding style. I think they were happy with it too. With two and a half weeks to go to the wedding in Edinburgh I look forward to seeing the whole wedding theme (as an Interior Designer Jill is bound to have thought of every detail and I know there will be a beautiful and very unique look to the whole day).
Pre-Christmas is always chaotic with me and the usual frenzy of late wholesale Christmas orders, online orders and early Valentines wholesale orders ensures I have little time to do anything other than work. Last year was no exception (especially throwing Top Drawer prep into the mix) but I managed to get everything out in time and had a little break with family.
The challenge immediately after Christmas was Top Drawer. I was dreading not being fully organised but I somehow pulled it all together in time and the show was an over-whelming success. Re-connecting with my trade customers after Christmas felt like a very natural thing to do as they were all looking positively into the new year and there was very little post-Christmas lethargy. Meeting new contacts and new stockists as well as talking to all my very valued stockists made for an exciting three days. Plus there was a very high standard of products and stands at the show this year I thought - always an inspiration.
Since Top Drawer I haven't stopped for air as I've fulfilled order after order. I think January may well have been one of my busiest months ever for trade orders as a continuous stream of parcels left the studio by courier.
I've also said goodbye to Beth - my studio assistant of the last 6 months who moved on to pastures new and a full-time job. She picked and packed brilliantly for the time she was here and I thought I was going to be lost post-Top Drawer until.......Sarah came along. Now I have a new studio assistant and she's been picking and packing and keeping the orders going out for the last 2 weeks.
So new challenges and creative happenings lie ahead in 2014. I have ideas, plans, notions and NEW YORK! I will be heading to the National Stationery Show in New York in May. So alongside designing and my usual Spring tasks I'll be planning and looking towards May. It's going to be exciting. At the moment I'm a little scared but it's a step I need to take..
I'll keep you posted - more regularly I hope....! (Apologies for the lengthy post!!)
Posted by Alison at 13:11
Wednesday, 30 October 2013
There will be cards (lots of Christmas ones), stationery, screen prints, word map prints, bags and a few other bits and bobs lurking in my plan chest. It's a good excuse to tidy up, sell off some discontinued cards, show my wares to my village (!) and have a cup of tea with people in my studio!
If you're in the East Yorkshire area and fancy a nosey and some nice cards then please do pop in!
9th & 10th November
11am-4pm both days
Nunburnholme, Pocklington, York. YO42 1QY
Posted by Alison at 14:06
Friday, 25 October 2013
A couple of weeks ago I took all my products over to Hannah Webster Photography in Leeds for my first ever product photo shoot. It was a great day and we got such a lot done!!
Here are some of the results (there's over 400 photographs in total!!) but the possibilities are really exciting - very soon my website will have a serious make-over and introduce a bit more 'lifestyle' photography into it. Then I intend to start on my new catalogue and other promotional pieces. It's good to know that now I have a good bank of photos to send out for press images and image requests.
It's been a great exercise in analysing my brand, what is essential to it and what unites it. I definitely think that these photos will enhance my work and show it off to it's best potential which I don't think I'm always currently doing.
Thanks Hannah - you did a great job!
Posted by Alison at 14:35