We've been inspired, excited, surprised and amazed over the past 3 days whilst exhibiting at Best of Britannia in London. This exclusively British Made trade and retail show uses the tag line "Come to your senses" on its brochure, and now we understand why. We've tasted, we've smelled, we've touched, we've seen and we've heard things we didn't think were possible.
Our Galleon ship stamp represents quality, integrity, longevity and a dash of adventure. It is inspired by London's historic silk trade and cloth manufacturing heritage.
Set in the historic Farmiloe building in Clerkenwell, the show attracted some of the UK's most skilled designer makers to exhibit, from Moulton bikes, to Anglepoise giant lamps and Hose tights. Kate Hills, Founder of Make it British asks "Who says Britain doesn't make anything anymore?" Quite right! Sock it to 'em Kate!
We strive to offer something quintessentially British, of extremely high quality enhanced by a playful twist drawn from out British punk heritage. Deborah Meaden, entrepreneur and owner of luxury goods brand The Merchant Fox swung but our stand on Friday and was very enthusiastic about our brand. She defines British designer strengths- "What we do well is something that is traditional, but presented in a relevant, modern way." (Apply that to Age of Reason scarves, and perhaps change to IRREVERENT )
What was clear about all the BoB exhibiting brands was not only a passion for British manufacturing, but an obsession with making the best possible products. Two minutes talking to Giles Ellis of Schofield Watches is enough to convince anyone that this is a man who cares about watches more than you thought possible, but the results are exquisitely made timepieces with a seductive "heft" to them. Tusting bags, Pashley Cycles, Archie Foal knitwear, Jessica de Lotz jewellery and Demarquette chocolates exhibit the same passion.
The Age of Reason Pirate Queen scarf was shown at BoB, and proved a hit with Deborah Meaden, and while it's on her Christmas list, we're quite sure she won't be wearing hers like this.
A brand, which particularly stood out to us was Dashing Tweeds, a company making tweed from 99% wool and 1% reflective yarn. Their product range includes cloth by the meter, reflective tweed cloaks and coats you can cycle in and some natty hats. This is exactly the sort of completely bonkers thing we love and expect from our fellow British designer makers. And we can't help thinking what brilliant stage outfits they would make for those of a rock and roll persuasion.
Dashing Tweeds are British Made fabrics with an exciting difference. They have produced for House of Holland and Hudson Shoes, and have worked on a collaboration with Topshop.
We walked away with quite a few purchases ourselves, feeling absolutely justified at the premium cost because we've bought beautiful lifetime lasting things (apart from the chocolates that is!) We've also had a good chinwag with everyone from the other designers and visitors to Deborah Meaden, Mary Portas and Melanie Rickey; all people who've offered us their perspective and been very positive about our brand.
We're already looking forward to the next BoB Event, around October 2013, when we hope to do it all again! The passion and energy so far have been fantastic.