After the fun we had at PG Live in June, we were delighted to sign up to Top Drawer in September 2019, and what larks we had! As this was only our second trade fair EVER, we were nervous but very excited…
PG Live was a fantastic opportunity for Middle Mouse to launch our company and get feedback on our product ranges, meet lovely people and discover what’s hot in the fast-paced world of greetings cards. After two hectic days, we took stock and reflected on how things went, and where we could improve and make positive changes.
In June, our stand went up in just under an hour. With a lovely display unit and cupboards made by Middle Mouse’s very own makey-genius, Darren, and heavy duty velcro fixed to the back of each card, we were in the coffee shop (and the British Library, as it happens!) in just over an hour.
While the stand looked great, and we received some fabulous comments, there were a few things we thought we could change to make it even better.
First, though the velcro was brilliant, having the designs fixed on the wall meant our lovely visitors couldn’t pick them up and look inside. Feel the quality, lovely people! Rub the designs on your faces… ok maybe that’s just me. But being able to pick up the cards and look with your hands (yes, you totally can look with your hands), made a big difference.
Second, the signage. We printed things onto foam board and used (you’ve guessed it) velcro to stick it up at PG Live. This worked fine, but didn’t quite have the finesse we were looking for, so we gave our old friends Graffit Ltd a call. They were our go-to vinyl printers back when we did hospital enhancements and way-finding many years ago. They did a fantastic job on our signage and made the stand look that much more professional (and are highly recommended!).
Darren got to work building us a set of beautiful wooden shelves that were fixed to the wall and gave visitors the ability to pick up the cards for a closer look. They had a single groove routed in the top so they sat neatly against the wall looked great. He also built a beautiful bespoke cupboard for the Cardlets to sit on (as well as hide our bags, emergency mars bars and cups of tea), finished with our logo in vinyl.
Another take-away from PG Live was to simplify and expand our ranges. For Top Drawer, we added two new ones – our Floribunda range including a Retirement Cardlet, and our Big Birthday range of Cardlets, helping someone live their best year – and added to our Trailblazer and Characterful ranges.
All in all, Top Drawer was a fantastic experience, not only for meeting new customers and catching up with familiar faces, but for meeting some truly wonderful people. Our stand neighbours were lovely, helpful and enthusiastic enough to get us through the 3pm slump, as trade shows are killers on the feet. Here’s a list of lovely people we’ve met at the last two:
KitsCH Noir https://www.kitschnoir.com/ – gorgeous cards for every occasion, all illustrated by the amazing Cherelle
Catherine Lewis’s stunning botanical illustration cards and wraphttps://catherineannlewis.com/
Hue Complete Me https://www.huecompleteme.com/ Tory’s fun and fresh selection of cards for any occasion
Hannah Marchant https://www.huecompleteme.com/ Incredible cards that grow when you plant them!
Sirocco Designs https://www.siroccodesign.co.uk/ Karen’s cards have been nominated for a Henry Award and are simply beautiful
Bird Brain London http://www.birdbrainlondon.com/ Quirky and gorgeous designs, including the sign language range
Emily Nash https://www.emilynashillustration.com/ Stupendously cute, masterfully illustrated and brightly coloured, these designs were a big hit at Top Drawer
Emily Rollings https://emilyrollings.com/ Emily’s books are meltingly beautiful and perfect to keep forever.
Text From a Friend https://www.textfromafriend.co.uk/ So funny and beautifully created, these cards won a Paper Award for best stationery product
Artcadia http://www.artcadia.co.uk/ Ridiculously gorgeous letterpress cards and prints, all produced by hand in Shropshire. Visit their glorious shop at 37 Hills Lane, Shrewsbury
Some Ink Nice https://someinknice.com/ Beautiful illustrations of animals, lovingly recreated as cards and prints.
Alphablots https://alphablots.com/ Incredible use of colour, unsurprisingly won the lovely Alphablots the Exciting Use of Colour Award in the Paper Awards!
Ellie Good Illustration https://www.elliegood.co.uk/ Beautiful designs with a strong Eco friendly commitment, we coveted her tea towels and ‘I’m with Greta’ bags!