Tuesday, January 16, 2007

London trip

We had a great time eating our way round London and managed to fit in the Top Drawer Trade show and a trip round a load of small shops.
The trade fair was lovely - MUCH nicer than Harrogate - but it really made me aware of how difficult it is for buyers to get something different from everyone else.
The Grand Illusions stand - which you have to visit personally as they don't seem to take on new customers by mail - was particularly interesting as you could see exactly where all the nice zinc stuff on country type websites comes from.
The trip around shops was also very useful - I have always harboured the dream of opening a shop in Glasgow or Edinburgh - high footfall area, beautiful window, a chance to get my flowers into the city. Over the weekend I talked to some owners about the economic realities and now I no longer harbour any shop owing ambitions!
The photo is of a very nice flower shop - Absolute Flowers in Great Portland Street - which was selling bulbs in enamel trays and hellebore plants in glass vases. We later saw the same pots in other flower shops so they are obviously coming in already planted, but Absolute Flowers had the best window display. You see I would love a proper window to arrange.


Nonnie said...

Glad you had a good trip Jane. I've always wondered what trade fairs are like and that everyone must be buying the same things.
I used to harbour shop owning ideas but like you have lost them all now. I think an internet shop will be as far as I go.

Primrose Hill said...

Hi Jane,
Glad you enjoyed London, I had planned to goto Top Drawer but as usual never quite got round to organising it. The Grand Illusions stand is lovely but as you say it is EVERYWHERE! I can totally sympathise with the whole shop thing, I nearly took on the rental of a shop in Bridge of Allan before we moved up here, so glad I didn't now. I think people like the whole idea of going somewhere to get something that little bit different, so what you have at home is perfect, especially now you've got your fancy greenhouse,how about making that your shop window? I know it's not the same but it's a good compromise........
L x

carolyn said...

We are a nation of shop keepers at hear aren't we? So many people seem to cherish the idea of a shop, it's good to be able to find out the realities of shop ownership without having to face the hardship yourself.

Jane said...

I am very grateful to the shopowners who were prepared to "tell it how it is" - I think that we all have a tendency to put a brave face on lack of sales or other setbacks and that gives other people a false impression. I certainly know that in the antique business (which my family is in) people tend to be doing "fantastically well" right up until the point they close the shop and retreat into bankruptcy.
It was great to speak to people who would tell me straight that they hadn't drawn wages in 2 years or that they are having to wholesale on the side to pay the electricity bill. And these were all beautiful shops.

El said...

Glad you had fun, and glad you learned something useful! And isn't it fun to eat, eat, eat and not cook, cook, cook (at least, that's my experience when I go away from home). Welcome back.

Tracy said...

I am a shop owner and as much as i love my shop because of the people i have met and the great friends i have made, i cannot wait to close it and move to Scotland - creating and working from home will be such a treat after all the commitment over the last 3 years.
Top Drawer is lovely - one of the best trade shows around - i did not go this Spring as previewing the list of exhibitors beforehand, there seemed to be nothing new and exciting. Thank goodness for all the great people making wonderful things at home x