Set up by British designer Jacinta Walton, Whinberry & Antler design and produce unique fabrics and homewares by hand in rural England. Incorporating a passion for traditional skills by using hand printing methods, and taking inspiration from British wildlife and countryside, Whinberry & Antler hope to bring a beautiful token of the countryside into your home.

Please have a look around the blog and follow us to see how Whinberry & Antler products are made, with step by step photographs demonstrating the traditional skills used on the 'Behind the Scenes' page, as well as other information and updates about the company.

For more information please see the company website www.WhinberryAntler.com or email info@WhinberryAntler.com

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The Country Living Magazine Spring Fair Experience

Well, what a whirlwind week it has been!

I am back in sunny Shropshire after an amazing time in London at the Country Living Magazine Fair.  I arrived last Monday with the van to drop everything off, and decided to leave the actual setting up until Tuesday. Arriving at my empty stand made me realise quite how small it was! But I think it was actually a great set up as it was open on one side so that customers would be able to see my display really easily. I also paid for a single spot light which was angled into the corner and it made a huge difference.

The Whinberry & Antler stand shortly after we moved in.

I had a great time with my brother Seb (www.sebingham.com)setting up and designing the W&A stand.  We tried to keep things quite simple so that the products would take centre focus. I was really pleased the finished look of the space and I really must say a big thank you to Seb for his help, especially as he is coming to the end of his graphics degree and is busy enough with that!

The finished Whinberry & Antler stand. We thought it would be a good idea to have aprons printed with the W&A logo so that we would be part of the brand too.

The fair opened on Wednesday, which was the longest day as there was also the gala evening, so we were open from 10 am - 9pm. It was very nerve-racking as the first set of visitors started to appear, but once sales were being made (the first product sold was a badger cotton bag) I got into the flow of chatting to people and making sales. I found that people were really interested in the processes involved with making the imagery and really liked that I made most of it myself. Sourcing all my materials from within the UK was also very important to my customers. I also had help from my brother's girlfriend Kat on the first two days, she was really excellent at helping me and I will definitely be hiring her services again in the future!

The simple white shelves worked well being staggered and different lengths, I think it broke the wall up and made the display more interesting to look at.

All the products sold very well, but I can easily say that the hare was the most popular image. I also had a lot of trade enquiries which was great, so I need to spend the next couple of days getting in touch with the people who gave me their business cards. Over all I had an amazing response to the Whinberry & Antler products which was so reassuring and has really boosted my confidence in what I am doing. I must say a big thank you to all the people who stopped to chat and give me some feedback!

The main hall in the Business Design Centre on Sunday morning (this is only half of it- it's a pretty big place)

By the end of the week, I had sold about 75% of my stock, so I probably got that about right, as I didn't want to end up with empty shelves. Break down on Sunday was pretty chaotic. Three hours to take everything down, pack and be back on the road, with nowhere to park your van whilst unpacking. The stress of this was not helped by the council sending in a fleet of traffic wardens at about 4pm either. Luckily we escaped before getting any tickets, but many other exhibitors were not so fortunate.

Overall I had an excellent time and really did learn a lot. Nothing went wrong or got left behind- I think this was largely down to all the list making in preparation. I got to meet other much more experienced exhibitors who offered me an invaluable amount of advice and I must thank them too;  Twig (http://www.twiguk.co.uk) , Deliart (http://folksy.com/shops/deliart), Zinnia (http://www.zinniashoes.co.uk) and My Aunt Agatha (http://www.etsy.com/shop/MyAuntAgatha) to name but a few.

So, what's next? Well, I will be booking to go back to the Country Living Christmas Fair with some new designs. I am also going to push with getting my products into shops now. Also, stay tuned for a Whinberry & Antler cushion making an appearance in Vogue magazine!

Lastly (but by no means least), I must thank my parents, Jackie and Nigel, for van hiring and driving, helping me with sales, helping with break down, and just generally for the huge amount of support they have given me. I really could not have done it without them.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

The night before the big event begins...

Well, the van is now packed and I am just sorting out my press releases to take to the fair. I have gone through my checklist again and again making sure I have all the adhesives I could possibly need (blue tack, cello tape, masking tape, glue etc)! I still have a few cushions to complete, but generally the house is looking like a home again, rather than a factory.

I'm glad that I booked my drop off slot for tomorrow as it means I have all of Tuesday to make sure my stand looks ready to go on Wednesday. To help prepare I have read quite a few blogs by previous first time exhibitors at the Spring Fair and looked at their before and after photos. I shall endeavour to record on my blog how everything goes and include photos of the various setting up stages in case I may be able to help others too in the future. It is a bit daunting being a first timer. I definitely feel confident and excited now though! London.... Here we come.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Final preparations....

So, with only two days to go before departing for London, its feels like there is a lot to do but it will all get done- but still, I will keep this brief....

I have spent this morning printing the paper bags with my brother Seb. The bags are for customers to use once they have purchased a W&A product (hopefully lots of them will get used!) I am going to take lots of photos of my stand at the fair, so for those who can't come and visit, you ca see what it all looks like.

I have also now printed all my aprons and tea towels, so for anyone attending the Country Living Fair, be sure to come and see those.

Right then, time to get back to sewing on labels... But here are a few photos to look at to show the mornings activities, including Spider the Border Terrier, now three months old.

Spider the Border terrier... the new face of Whinberry & Antler?

Printed bag with the screen

Lots of bags drying. With 200 bags to print we had to rig up some drying lines.