Top Drawer, held in London, is a regular, bi-annual event where buyers and retailers from all over the country can come and have a look at makers of all types. It’s a five day event – two days to set up your stand and three days for the actual show, meeting, greeting and networking.

I had my first ever Top Drawer stand in 2020

It went really well, but sadly the pandemic arrived soon after, which affected my potential growth of wholesale business. I had already applied to have another stand in 2021 – paying for it while I was at the 2020 show – and there was no option to withdraw and get the full refund.

My 2021 stand was postponed to 2022

I was looking forward to it but at the same time a little nervous, as the pandemic wasn’t quite 100% gone yet. With people wearing face masks – absolutely the right thing to do – it would be a little difficult for me as a deaf person relying on lip reading and facial expressions to be able to understand non-signing visitors. Though I did hire three interpreters with me throughout the tradeshow – a huge life-saver!

I did something different for my new stand

I had my illustrations printed onto vinyl wall stickers and arranged them around my product display – to add even more colour! I received so much great feedback about my stand and also my new collection, English Garden.

The new collection is influenced by my newly discovered passion for gardening and growing food. I have many new garden-inspired greeting cards, washi tapes, desk pads, and prints. I love painting insects again, and something new – snails!

I thought the show went relatively well! 

I’d hoped for more orders and traction to my stand. I thought my stand was positioned poorly – as there was a huge pillar to one side of my stand, so whoever was walking from that way couldn’t see my stand at all. That’s the biggest risk of the markets and trade shows! I’ve had badly positioned stalls in craft fairs in the past too.

It was frustrating having spent a lot of money and coming across this kind of problem that the organiser couldn’t solve. As always though, with my positive attitude, I got on making my stand look as best as it could be – and had three fantastic trading days! Even if the number of visitors was much lower than 2020’s event, understandably.

I was pleased to sell over 1,000 products

I gained excellent contacts too. So I spent another few weeks frantically packing orders making sure my new stockists have received my products safe and sound.

I also got a runner up spot for the PaperAwards 

My Wildflowers Postcard Set won the Emotive Design category. I’ve written a post about this news if you’d like to have a read.