Yesterday saw the latest Open Call for Designers at Liberty's in London.
Entitled the 'Best of British' the day was an opportunity for artists & designers in all fields to showcase their ideas and designs to an expert panel of designers and buyers from the Liberty store and gain an insight into how to progress and market their wares. There was obviously also the very real opportunity to impress the buyers and for some the glimmer of hope that maybe one of their products might get noticed and snapped up.
Liberty, unfortunately isn't the most ideal market place for my own particular line of work, so I was not expecting too much. A rare opportunity for constructive advice from such experts for redirecting my Wallop Design work was just too good to miss though so I gathered up a selection of my Rubbish Pictures and a portfolio of my children's book mock ups using those same pictures and with a little trepidation set off to Regent Street.
The doors did not open until 10.00am but the grapevine whispered that queues would be long. It was right. As I arrived at 7.30am, at least 20 people were stood in the freezing cold already and the queue just grew and grew from that point on. The Starbucks opposite must have made a roaring trade from people clutching lattes just to keep their hands warm.
Queue time wasn't wasted time though. I was fortunate enough to be stood chatting with a fantastically talented pair of textile designers from Glasgow, PringleMurray who I have a feeling, will most definitely be featuring strongly on the Liberty shelves in the future, plus a couple of jewelry designers with a very beautiful and I'd say unique product for ladies, named 'shy' which I can definitely say had a certain buzz about it ;-)
We finally moved inside to the lovely union jack bunting bedecked upper gallery area of the store itself, where row upon row of gold chairs awaited, for a further (seated at least - phew) queue before we met our designated panel of experts.
After the somewhat nerve wracking wait, the actual designated presentation time went in a flash. The feedback I was given however, was very positive, the advice of which direction to head in next for optimum market appeal, just what I needed to hear and all in all - I left feeling very positive and encouraged.
Had I not been concentrating hard on lugging a ruddy great peacock against the tide on Oxford Street on a Saturday lunchtime, I may even have had a small skip in my step....
I believe Liberty hold Open Calls annually, for more information on the next one keep an eye on their blog http://blog.liberty.co.uk/
The day will also be featured on 'The buying Game' by Maverick TV, due to air on BBC2 this Autumn following the rise of the various designers who Liberty took on. I'll be watching, fascinated, to see how everybody gets on.