We visited CRAFT and Top Drawer London last week at London's Olympia and met tonnes of talented British producers.
Griffin and Sinclair demonstrated a beautiful folding table and a shelf with interchangeable pieces making it bespoke to your needs. Ceramicist Vanessa Conyers chatted about transforming her designs to desert boots and accessories designer Catherine Aitken talked to us about using Harris Tweed that is handwoven in the Outer Hebrides.
Of the 150 exhibitors there last week, the response to The GBE and the work we do was met with great interest and lots of people are keen to get involved. Henrietta from Clavering Bespoke is excited to work with us and was at the show exhibiting her delicate yet striking collection of British bone china designs. We're looking forward to having Henrietta on board with us and taking brands like hers to international retailers.
We really enjoyed talking to people about how they make their products. Nicola from Nicola Steel Glass Design, has recently been abroad to Eastern Europe to further her skills and it was great to hear how how her experience has influenced her work. We also spoke to John from Todd Tote about his bags and watches which he makes and designs and the unusual uses he has found for horses' reins!
Georgia at Wyatt & Jack educated us on the life of reclaimed deckchair canvasses and brought to light the fact that different colour-ways of stripe belong to certain beaches and parks by order of the Royal Family. Their bags and accessories made from the old canvasses of deck chairs made for a vibrant and busy stand and they have also started using bouncy castle material too. All of their products are made on the Isle of White.
It is producers of British goods like these that belong on The Great British Exchange. The stories behind the products, the points of difference, whether that be through design, material or source all make for desirable products that we want to help reach stores.
We're looking forward to catching up with all the producers we met at CRAFT and to meeting more at the Spring Fair in Birmingham in February.