Wild & Fine on Tour
JUNE: FOUR WEEKS, THREE EVENTS, TWO GLOSSOPHOBES & ONE AWARD-WINNING JEWELLERY BRAND
The Wild & Fine team are usually to be found busily creating in the studio, styling photo shoots for new products or sitting at a desk writing the next email, social media post or blog article to keep everyone updated with our news. However, every now and again we shut the laptop, turn off the blowtorch, put down the hammer, fold up the polishing cloth and take our show on the road.
None of us is terribly comfortable in the limelight, feeling happier to allow the jewellery, the pictures we take and the words we write to do the talking for us most of the time. A month of being somewhere new almost every week and being the faces of the Wild & Fine brand is a bit daunting, but once we get into the swing of things it can be really inspiring to have the opportunity to meet people who love the brand and to introduce Wild & Fine to those who have not heard of it before.
Our first stop, at the beginning of June, was Portobello Road and a week-long pop up shop event at the heart of this bohemian shopping district. In the mid 19th century, Portobello Road was a country lane connecting Kensal Green to what is now Notting Hill. It is a great effort of the imagination to reconstruct this quiet rural byway from the buzzing commercial hub that it is today. The hard work of the Friends of Portobello has ensured that the area is refreshingly free of the branded chain stores that pepper other urban streets up and down the country. It is a hive of industry for independents, start ups and dreamers and we couldn’t help but feel energised by our short stay there.
The pop up shop that Wild & Fine was a part of featured some truly chic independent brands including Sienna Alexander (ultra-stylish Italian-made sunglasses), Bucci Holidaywear (carefully curated collection of warm-weather fashion and accessories), Rikiki London (adorable, top quality occasion wear for kids) and Luca Nua (daring Brazilian swimwear for the passionately uninhibited). It would have been possible to purchase all the staples for your summer ’19 wardrobe at this event, safe in the knowledge that it would be extremely unlikely that anyone else on the beach, at the pool bar or on the deck would have stumbled upon these style gems.
The next thing on the June events schedule was the Shipston Home Nursing Summer Shopping Day. SHN is one of our local charities and does fantastic work providing palliative care to patients in their own homes, giving them the comfort of professional care in familiar surroundings, at a time when they would otherwise need to be in hospital. This cause is very close to our hearts and we always try to get involved and support their local initiatives. This is really no hardship, as their events team is fantastic and the Summer Shopping Day brought together some wonderful independent brands in the beautiful (if out-of-the-way) setting of Cider Mill Barns in Pebworth near Stratford Upon Avon. Offering everything from art prints and apple brandy to jewellery, candles, cakes and cards, this event had a great atmosphere and attracted a good crowd who were as interested in the shopping opportunities as they were by the homemade cakes and delicious lunches available.
We had the good fortune to be located next to Nadia C, importer of ethically sourced, handmade hats from South America. The hand-painted designs were a ray of sunshine on a rather dull day (weather-wise) and we very much enjoyed trying them all on with various different Wild & Fine accessories.
The end of June (27th – 30th) finds us at Handmade Oxford, an international contemporary arts festival with an exciting programme of talks, classes, demonstrations and evening theatre performances. All the action takes place against the backdrop of the landscaped ornamental gardens at Waterperry, as if nature was challenging the exhibitors to come up with something more beautiful than it could do itself.
When you are exhibiting for four straight days, it is great to get to know the other crafts people around you and we particularly enjoyed meeting Emma O'Brennan-Pizer, the creator behind Wilful Ink Interior Accessories, natural wood sculptor, Benedict Homer and Helen Round, a textile designer and print maker who finds inspiration in the flora and fauna of coast and countryside (so we had a lot in common).
With these three events already in the diary, June was always going to be a busy month. However, in May we decided to enter the Blenheim Palace Start Ups Competition 2019 and, at the end of the month, were delighted to discover that Wild & Fine had reached the final, along with eight other local start ups.
Our delight was tempered by fear, as we are all terrified of public speaking, and the big finale involved pitching - Dragon's Den style - to the senior management at Blenheim Palace. However, having got so far it seemed foolish to let our fear stand in the way of giving it a shot. We prepared, re-did, edited and re-edited a presentation and spent so long learning what we were going to say that our dogs and the Warwickshire countryside got sick of listening to us.
On the evening of June 26th, we arrived at Blenheim Palace, jangling with nerves but determined to do our best and get it over and done with! If it hadn’t been for the friendly, supportive natures of the other finalists and the organisers we may have wandered off into Woodstock to find a strong drink!
It's lucky that we didn't, as we were amply rewarded for our determination when, at the end of the evening, it was announced that we had won! You will soon be able to find Wild & Fine products in the gift shop at the palace. We haven't stopped smiling since we found out!
Inspired by meeting so many talented creatives and entrepreneurs this month and enthused by our success at the start ups competition, July will see us taking stock and getting back into the workshop to restock the online shop and develop some new designs. It is more than likely that there will be a good few trips to Blenheim Palace too. Talking shop has never seemed so exciting!