January is always a busy month in the gift and home business. We always seem to be juggling many things at once. Our visual merchandising team, headed by Mark Ross, is traveling across the country to complete our showroom makeovers for the upcoming trade shows. Our in house product development team and art department are completing the Christmas 2013 collection and the sales team is hard at work seeing customers with our over 300 January product introductions.
And in the middle of all of this, Bobbie, Mark and I are headed off to Europe. This trip was planned for a few days in London and Paris. It was another inspiring and fun trip.
We arrived in London a little sleepy but ready to go with our first stop at the London Pulse Show which covered gift, fashion, stationary and home. If you ever have the chance to attend, it is twice a year in January and May. It is not big, but encompasses the crème de la crème of British wares some made in England and others abroad.
Our first stop was of course the Two’s Company booth. While our time there is quite short we take every opportunity to mix with the locals and meet the customers.
Bobbie with Patrick Newton, Managing Director, John Stevenson – Two’s Sales Agent Emeritus, and ?
Mark did his walk around giving Patrick and Caroline a big thumbs up on the display. We looked great in London.
I loved how Caroline used the spools to display the scarves in the booth. What a great idea for our shops back home.
Then we visited with Anne and John the directors of East of India, one of our divisions. The shows we go to are great opportunities for catching up with people we work with as well as meeting new ones. We had the chance to see all of the East of India new products and made a great selection for the Christmas 2013 and fall collections.
We spent most of the day at the show. By late afternoon the time change was catching up a bit. We headed back to Knightsbridge to settle in to our hotel. As we headed back however, we noticed the SALES signs everywhere. Sometimes those post-holiday sales yield some great buys so we headed out to Harrods and Harvey Nichols for some personal gratification.
The next day was our day of discovery. One slight hitch was the weather. In fact it followed us throughout the trip; bone chilling cold, rain, sleet and snow. One of my favorite things about London are the cabbies. They know what they are doing and where they are going. No need for GPS here. Moreover, they are patient and trustworthy. I don’t think there has been a London cabbie that we didn’t like. In any event, we were off for the day, jumping in and out of taxis. Our first stop was Selfridges and John Lewis, two of the leading stores in London. Many of the things we enjoy today about a department store were originated by Harry Gordon Selfridge. It was his concept back in 1910 to offer every possible service and entertainment in the store in order to keep the customer in the store. This concept is so important, especially in today’s most competitive retail landscape.Oxford Street in front of John Lewis
Prada, Valentino, Michael Kors, Alexander McQueen
We visited Conran’s, Sloane Street and enjoyed a superb lunch and dinner. We went back to Tom’s Kitchen in Chelsea. Try the Seven Hour Confit Lamb for two and the sticky toffee pudding, a British standby that is always good.