LH design // TopDrawer A/W 2015

LH design debuted at TopDrawer A/W 2015 last week, and I think I'm finally starting to get over the craziness that it consisted of. If you're not aware, TopDrawer is the UK's largest buying event for design-led gifts, fashion accessories and childrens, so when I got a phone call this July asking to exhibit, it took me a few days to realise someone wasn't playing a rather mean joke.

At the beginning of the year, I told a good friend a few of my aims for 2015. Exhibiting at a trade show was number one, but I was hesitant that it was going to happen. As much as I hate to admit it, I'm awful at sticking to big aims. They can be bloody big, and a bit scary. She was great (as always) in getting me to believe in myself and the business.

In true difficult-Lola fashion, I had one idea for the stand and nothing else was going to cut it. I knew cladding it in OSB would catch the eyes of retailers walking around a sea of white stalls, and I knew that the wood would make the products pop. I also knew it was going to be very, very tricky to get heavy wood onto thin foamex panels without causing any damage. After months of worrying and telling everyone who would listen about the OSB, my trusty contractor (i.e my father) and I arrived at Olympia to discover it really wasn't going to work. The original stand panels were so flimsy that even a framed print was going to cause some drama. Cue a few a lot of swear words (we're a sweary bunch, us Hoads), and some tears. Luckily, Dave (I don't know what his name was, I'm guessing here) our saviour from above (from Freeman, the stall builders, but still felt like it) came over and showed us how we could do it without causing any damage to the stand. 

After 6 hours of building, we celebrated with a bacon sandwich and praised ourselves for not killing each other. 

The show itself was definitely less stressful, even if footfall felt a little low with my positioning being at the end of Stationery and Greetings and opposite the Childrens aisle, bubble wands and all. The wood was a major talking point. I met some of our lovely stockists and IG friends, some in real life for the first time, who made it a superb few days. We also did what we needed to do and got a few new exciting stockists, and a very exciting lead that I can't say too much about. LH design will definitely be back for Spring 2016. In fact, we secured our stand today.

Are you planning on doing your first trade show soon? Do you fancy some tips and tricks to surviving it? Leave a comment below and you may see a post soon enough.

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