We wanted to give the fans of our work, a heads up on what it's like to launch a new brand into the market at one of the most prestigious shows in Europe, for up and coming designer brands.
Rome wasn't built in a day would be a sum up of launching a brand of anything.
Unless you are absolutely niche, something everyone needs or can't live without or you are just hitting a trend as it's poking it's head out of the wardrobe, it's going to take time. A whole lot of precious time, it's gonna take plenty of time....to do it right girls. (As George Harrison would sing :>) a clip below that sums it all up for us!
I GOT MY MIND SET ON YOU....(click me to listen)
So how did we find out about the show and decide to do it?
We asked around to other designers, a bit longer in the tooth than us, to find out which shows had been successful for them. Now remember, each show is different for each designer. So, we had only a bit to go on and much of it is really about the product and what type of buyer is coming to the show and of course the climate of the market. Top Drawer caught our attention because of their prestige and communication skills with us when we inquired. We were looking for professionalism and finding a show that was well publicised to the jewellery trade market. We got hooked and began to set forth our journey to get ourselves ready for a 1 x 3 meter space at Olympia, London. That's when the work really began and so did the costs.
Getting ready for a show is like selling a house or going through a divorce Paperwork, paperwork and more paperwork. Applications, lighting, insurance, electrical socket purchases, catalogue printing...ooh wait....and then times it by 1000! This is what it's like to do a show. It's in the details. It really didn't help that we went through a horrific motorbike accident together only weeks before, here on the island. It set us back but we did it and patted ourselves on the back that we recovered like superheroes.
London Calling For weeks after we had been permitted to show (you must be accepted into the show by a panel of judges that convene to see if you fit in with everyone else) I was singing The Clash's famous song in my head. I thought 'This is it!' We had put a show in our business plan, but it was for a little further down the line. After our accident we both wanted to be with our families so we were able to tie in a family meet up and the show too, Nothing ventured, nothing gained. That's how we went into the whole show. It was the best possible way to do it.
If you Googled 'how many jewellery companies are there in the world' there would be no answers. It would be like asking 'how long is a piece of string.' To be honest, you firstly need to do jewellery design for love. And as you know....we do. So this is the first step. If you are lucky to be 'found', whether it be through fashion blogging, online advertising, magazines, celebrities wearing your designs, twitter, facebook, instagram or shows....you are one in a 100,000 at least. Best to remember and keep remembering....Rome wasn't built in a day and the journey is only quickened sometimes by luck!
We had some.
Soon after application and acceptance, we were given the keys to the behind the scenes online portal, that every Top Drawer new designer entry gets, where they can showcase their wares to the visiting trade, pre-show and make a sort of stance in the market. We caught the eye of a writer. She contacted us from a prestigious trade magazine and asked to do a piece on us. I remember that day we both got a bit teary. And we thought, 'we are doing something right.'
So with a spring in our step, we headed to London and this is where we stood for three days talking our heads off and getting blisters and cankles.
What happens at a three day show?The way it seems to work at this one, is that when it is started on an end to the weekend like this one did, on a Sunday, you seem to get families who have small independent boutiques, ma and pa businesses, coming to take a peak. For us, that is not what we were looking for. We were looking for more 5 or more shop owners who wanted to spread the stock across their platforms. Day Two is when the 'trade' comes out to play. It's a run around for the morning, eat lunch and then do your ordering in the afternoon.
Don't think your stand will get knocked down for people trying to smash and grab. It doesn't work like that. It's a case of build a relationship, find out more information and then maybe we do business after by email. With jewellery it seems, it's a different ball game altogether. Take a look, have a feel, see the quality, take a brochure and a price list and we'll talk later. A bit deflating.
Who loved us? We were amazed. Everyone was impressed with our stand, our photo shoot and the overall presentation. They were amazed also at the craftsmanship of our work. All hand done, not machine. We got questioned a lot about this, because it was so good. There were definitely favourite pieces that kept being picked up, but what we found the most interesting...was that the type of buyer was from other little tropical islands not dissimilar to our own. That was the biggest eye-opener. This seemed to be our market.
So after three long days, we left with information overload and a ton of ideas on how to now attract our perfect customer, remembering the 4 'P's'. Product, placement, pricing and promotion. It's important also not to lose momentum after a show. Don't get deflated, disheartened. Get motivated to find markets, stretch your eyes beyond the meter in front of you and think outside the box. Work on your business and it will be fruitful. We knew if respected people in the trade were writing about us, it must be because they see the glint in us too. Watch this space and if you want to see what all the fuss is about go to our website: www.niniandnessjewellery.com and check out our debut range that we took to the show.
Watch this space. More to come.