Top Drawer has now come to a close and I can happily say that we had a really good show (Mum and I). The funny thing about trade shows is one moment you are rushed off your feet with enquiries and the next the footfall drops which is your opportunity to quickly sneak off for a spot of lunch.

We arrived on Saturday 11th to set up the stand. Already the larger companies were well on their way setting up their displays and they looked great. It is a daunting task when faced with a blank 5 metre wall and it took just over four hours to get everything ready (which is actually nothing compared to others).

This is how I mock up my idea at home. It takes over my bedroom for weeks whilst I make decisions and hand illustrate designs onto the paper.

Seperating each range properly this time made the display much clearer to the visitors who were then able to make decisions about the stock they would like. I thought that I would get into a real flap with my first order but actually I remained calm and was very pleased.

Bit by bit the stand came together and it was apparent that the collection has grown quite a bit since PG Live.

Other exhibitors are always there to lend a hand if you need it. We borrowed this little step ladder as although I am tall I could not quite reach the top.

Sunday brought lots of enquiries and distribution of my catalogue. The response was really positive and there were lots of enthusiastic buyers who were very complimentary about my designs. It is always great to get feedback at the shows, as this often leads to new ideas of where to take my next ranges. I also met my very first sales agent from Chester who had driven all the way down to London that morning to meet me and his other clients. As a greeting card publisher it is so important to have sales agents and I have been on the look out for a few months. However, my new agent had actually found me through the Top Drawer website and was really keen to carry my ranges so he got in touch before the show.

Monday was a great day as I had my first sales. It is a wonderful feeling to bring out an order form as it completes the overall experience of the show. It is great for a total stranger to love the product and want to order right away. You may think that orders take place throughout the whole day but this is simply not the case, at least when you are new anyway. Everyone’s experiences of the show differ hugely. Location plays an important role and can affect your footfall and sales, it really is imperative to have a good position where the footfall is constant. I really believe that if a ‘buzz’ surrounds your stand, other buyers will be instantly attracted.

Here is Mum on our first evening in London. We were staying in a studio (very appropriate) with a kitchenette which is ideal for me. As a Coeliac it is sometimes a real pain to find food in restaurants so this option was marvellous. X-Factor and roast chicken dinner! You couldn’t ask for more when you are completely shattered from travelling and setting up all in one day.

My brand new range, ‘The Enchanted Collection’ has 10 brand new designs coming soon to the website. These went down really well with the buyers and actually stopped people in their tracks which was a great response for a brand new collection.

‘Handbags and Gladrags’ was very popular with the independent shops which cater for female shoppers. I am so pleased that these did well as well as the ‘Love Birds’ collection which had a wonderful response including some squeals of delight and laughter. I was so pleased to receive a warm response to these cards as they really show my humourous style. My greeting cards seem to make people stop and look and then they cause a second wave of amusement.

I also had the opportunity to meet the key buyer I have talked about a lot lately, which was fantastic. My legs did go to jelly. It was like meeting the Queen or Elvis but even better than that!

So here is the completed Fay’s Studio stand (E150a)! I think you’ll agree that it is looking a lot fuller than the previous show as I am really getting into designing new ranges.

Here is a detail of my stand where I stated my Product GB and Eco-Trail status at the show. I met buyers from eco-shops keen to know more about the materials used and other buyers were impressed by the quality of the products.

I also had enquiries from florists, gift shops, clothes shops, boutiques, fine art publishers, overeseas distributors, online shops, bookshops, independents and highstreet chain stores etc.

The next few weeks and months are going to be extremely busy for the business. I am always careful not to take on too much at one time as it is true that businesses can crumble under pressure, but I have a lot of support around me offering help should I need it. I am already considering Spring Fair at the NEC in Birmingham as my next show which takes place February 6th-10th 2011. This will be a key Christmas buying time as many companies plan well in advance, much like the fashion industry. I have lots of new Christmas designs to bring out alongside those already available on the website. You can never have too much choice at Christmas so I have lots of ideas to put onto paper.