Well, what a month it has been!
As mentioned in the last (proper) post, we’ve been shopping….!
At the start of the month we headed over to Poland to meet with our current suppliers as well as meeting with new suppliers to discuss new products. It was great to see that all of our own design products are being made with English skins, something that we find really exciting, given our previous supply chain investigations!
On our last visit, as it was a wholly exploratory business trip, we opted for the public transport which was great, but steady. This time we hired a car which, for me was an experience in itself- I had to drive on the wrong side of the road. This did result in a few hairy moments and to say the least, I now have a little more sympathy for lorry drivers on our roads having come from the continent! The driving did however provide some forms of entertainment as well as fascinating insight into where investment is being focused in Poland. Whilst trundling through the back and beyond, concentrating hard, I hear sudden screeches from mum, “Five nuns! I’ve just seen FIVE NUNS in a car!”. We (my mum, aunt and I) are all only sorry that there was not a camera to hand at the time… Driving through the Polish mountains was stunning, but life is tough and little has changed in the last 100 years, making winding mountain roads fascinating and subsequently less than ideal territory for looking out of the window… ! In the southern mountainous regions, small parcels of land are still farmed with horses- clearly sustenance farming is still pretty common here which is amazing given a lot of money is being funneled into renovating large towns and cities.
I always LOVE going to Poland. Everyone knows where it is. Everyone has an opinion of it, positive or negative, (cue sweeping generalisation…) primarily based upon immigrants they’ve met, worked with and lived with here in the UK. I have a very positive outlook on Poland, based mainly on my heritage, but also based on the buzz that comes from being surrounded by a nation of people proud of where they’re from and where they’re hopefully going. As a nation there is a lot of development and it’s amazing to see how much things have progressed and the sheer volume of tangible development from notable investment in a mere year. It was also a great excuse to get a few of my well practiced (!?) Polish words in when I could, making me feel that I have made some progress in the last 6 months of better learning the impossible language. It was great to have a day in Krakow at the end of the trip to mull things over. We had anticipated that the logistics and meeting would fall differently than they actually did, meaning that it was nice to have some thinking time at the end before flying home to the action station that is HQ.
So, having come home with a few furry goodies (have you SEEN our POM keyrings, oh so fab!) and plenty of sheepy ones in the pipeline, we decided it was Spring Sale time on our existing lines, definitely worth checking out if you want to get your autumn slippers in early or start planning for those winter gifts. Otherwise we are tottering along getting older (birthdays stop after 21, right…?), finishing part time jobs and being somewhat sociable. Whilst at a wedding recently it was really great to meet Jemima from The Tartan Fox , proving that every opportunity is a networking opportunity! I always find it so helpful to chat with people that bit further down the road then we are. On which note, we’re gearing up, notepad and pen in hand, for the Annual WiRE Conference which is very exciting and always jam packed, more on that next time.
Finally, as we come full circle almost entering in to year two (almost), we are heading back down to London this weekend with our slippers, but also with our fab furry pieces. Whilst our last visit wasn’t the greatest of successes, it is better to be out there for people to see you , then to be stuck at home and no one know you even exist, so here’s to getting out there.