A Good Day Out

 
So, earlier in the month mum and I took a trip to the NEC for the huge international Spring Fair for the gift trade. We had to postpone the visit a day or two due to the unexpected snow!
We’ve been exhibiting at this trade show for quite a few years, so it was a bit of a change to not be working and having a look around instead and doing a bit of research for some new ideas. The show is the biggest that I’ve been to, and it’s always quite fun to look around the card hall, which is where we normally exhibit our handmade cards and art, but this year we got to have a good look around the gift and home halls as well.  It’s just incredible how many greeting card companies there are at the show – some fantastic cards, and some that aren’t to my taste. The layout of the halls had changed this year, so we found it a bit confusing, but found lots that we were looking for (and lots that we didn’t know we could look for!)
As we were walking around, mum kept spotting people that she knew from different shows, and I saw a few people that I knew too. This did slow up our progress, but it was good to catch up with so many other exhibitors. We caught up with Karen from Zoobookoo who designs a range of educational toys and games, (I’ve still got my football cube book!) The two of them made a plans for their pizza meal while at the Country Living Magazine’s Spring Fair later this month – large pizza, salad and bottle of red, I think.
Some of my favourite cards from the show were from A Farmer’s Daughter  who designs simple but really enchanting cards with a countryside feel. I particularly liked the range that featured farm animals
 
We also saw a lovely range of cards that were made by women living in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kipepeo Designs. Through their work the women are able to support themselves and their families, and learn all sorts of new skills, and build good friendships. The cards start out as shredded paper from offices, and are hand finished with all sorts of things, like recycled tin cans, and then are signed by whoever has made it. It was the designs that drew us into their stand at the show, and then the whole story blew us away. Lovely. Shame I couldn’t have bought one at the show (that’s the downside of going to these trade shows – you can’t buy anything! Probably a good thing, since I’m on a student budget!) 
So after a day well spent looking around the show, we had a quick cup of tea and a brain storming session on our new ideas. Mum then ventured back out into the snow, and I headed off on the train back to uni to finish my dissertation.
Emma