Things have been moving and shaking profoundly; I have been waiting for the dust to settle before sharing the goings-on with you.
Guess what happens when you wait for dust to settle? It doesn’t. Turns out you just gotta roll with it. Or you’ll be waiting a long time.
So rolling with it, I want to share with you my most recent experience at Pure London.
Making the Pure Decision:
Two months ago, I intuitively decided to participate in my first fashion tradeshow with Pure London, Olympia (from 24th to 26th July 2016) and showcase our collection to international buyers. Pure London, the most dynamic fashion tradeshow, attracts 1000s of buyers from all over the world and I decided that I needed to know what that is all about.
I had already been visiting and speaking with buyers in London and building the key distributor relationships.
SO the timing seemed apt for a tradeshow.
Getting Industry Leaders to say YES:
Since I was going to be at Pure in a big way, I decided to pitch to Pure London organizers about putting up a panel discussing positive fashion trends inviting industry leaders to share their wisdom.
Three amazing speakers said YES to the panel and so off we went with it:
Tamsin Lejeune, the founder of Ethical Fashion Forum and MySource.io– She has an online platform with a huge reach connecting buyers and brands and manufacturers and suppliers.
Merryn Leslie, the Owner of 69b Boutique, a celebrity stylist as well as former editor at i-D magazine, one of our favorite magazines.
Kresse Westling, MBE- A champion of positive fashion who has built a luxury accessory brand called Elvis & Kresse using reclaimed firehoses which have served UK for over 25 years. Talk about tough and beautiful.
In the run up to the Pure London event, I found that time ran out quickly!
I ran into a burnout and a breakdown.
I came out of it with this simple breakthrough – “BE in the Flow.” (Stop trying to control everything!)
Finding myself in the flow, I unexpectedly ended up starting to write a book I am going to save the details of that for another day.
But this much I must say- I never had so much fun writing anything in my entire life!
Before PURE : Getting ducks in a Row
When I found a break in the flow with the writing, I realized that I had three weeks remaining to get my Pure act together. SO with the multi-faceted Daphne Diluce, I was ready to GO.
We got my brand brochures and postcards and business cards and swing tags drafted, designed and printed. We sent over the stand design to Pure London contractors to put together my space. We ordered a gorgeous orange/yellow carpet that was just very sweet and perfect.
Additionally, I decided to run a raffle draw at the event as part of our promotional activities. I planned to give away one of our artisanal silk scarves. Excitingly, I got my favorite ring designer Julie Peel sponsoring an ethically sourced bespoke diamond ring for one of the winners! Another friend Juan Lopez was sponsoring a full hydrofacial (as a prize) courtesy of his new soon-to-open SkinMedico clinic in Chiswick!
Things were looking great!
Everything flowed very well until the day before the event, when I had my first panic attack!
All Hell Breaks Loose: Managing a Crisis!
I had put arranging clothes to the end; this ended up stressing everyone out. In the last minute, we were all running around like headless chickens figuring out how to get all that ironing done.
Conveniently, my brain shut down on me. My very bold presentation structure and content needed to be put into a powerpoint deck too. Instead of the beautiful gold satin ribbons I had ordered for my label tags, the mailman delivered underwear for 6-7 year olds in a similar sized pack.
Suddenly it looked like I was staring DISASTER in the eye! My confidence was hitting a low point at this inopportune time.
LESSON LEARNT: Please get the clothes ready and out of the way a week ahead. Everything else takes care of itself.
Anyway, things floated around well, Daphne came, dressed the stand and showed me a way to move it without losing it. Her body glided as she put up the boards, dressed the flowers and got the stand prettied up and clothes hanging from rails. It seemed like she was humming a tune under her breath unwilling to let anything shake her. I followed the lead.
I reached home at 9pm with still a LOT to get done. Stress and tiredness were seeping out painfully through each of my cells and my body seemed to be boiling up. I tried to get into this flow thing. And the flow said, sleep for 3-4 hours and wake up ready to get your presentation sorted. Forget all else.
I woke up, listened to the “Flow” which dictated that I glide around like Daphne had, clean the mess in my house (!!), get showered and dressed before I sit with the presentation once again.
The Panel: Leading Positive Fashion Trends
I reached Olympia at 9 am, now calm and ready to get on with the show. Right before the panel, I had another mini-panic attack (dont ask what else can go wrong with preparations for an event like this!) and I worried if it was too late to pull out of the panel. I had forgotten my lines! Was I going to make a big fool of myself in front of these altogether amazing people?!
Merryn Leslie saw me and kindly said: “Get a hold on yourself love.” Haha.
And five minutes later, I was in front of this full audience, all of them passionately listening to us talk about positive fashion. I couldn’t remember any of my lines but it went remarkably well. The amazing thing about chairing panels is, your speakers will do the talking.
Tamsin spoke about the tremendous success Ethical Fashion Forum was having in the world of conscious fashion, and how sustainable practices made consumers more loyal to brands. She invited startup fashion entrepreneurs to join the new course they were starting on how to run a sustainable fashion business. Merryn Leslie shared about what goes into her decision-making as a buyer who stocks sustainable brands at her boutique 69b. Kresse Westling, MBE shared that she was happy making products that her customers could use forever using reclaimed firehoses (I LOVE her stuff); she didn’t particularly care to change styles season after season but made things that lasted forever and if her customers ever needed to repair their purchases, Elvis & Kresse took care of it for them. One thing Kresse said that stuck with me was- She didn’t use the word “sustainable” on the E&K site because it was becoming increasingly redundant and instead she just shared the brand’s story and practices that showed her consumers what the values were.
My take on this subject is this: DFYNorm is all about inspiring women to step into the POWER of who they each authentically are. When you embrace your CORE, I believe you are in harmony with the nature and therefore, you will be good to yourself, to the planet and its people. All problems in the world are a result of disconnection.
We all agreed that we didn’t need more and more stuff no matter how green-washed it was. We needed to “buy less and choose well”.
The conversation it seemed could go on forever as the audiences started asking more questions.
When the panel was over, I felt 100 pounds lighter!
One of the highlights for me was when Tamsin Lejeune later visited our stand and tried on our Shibori dress and rocked it!
I wish we had snapped a photo of her in it because she looked so soo good in it. She also tried the Garcon shirt and rocked it and said it was the kind of thing she could wear to her Mayfair events. I have a feeling she is going to buy them! (No pressure Tamsin! 😀 )
I met new buyers who seemed to be into the kind of fashion that we have made here and also made several other fortuitous contacts.
BIG LESSONS from Pure London:
- Push Through Your Resistance. Resistance can take so many dramatic forms and you can literally feel like you are sick and dying. (Read Steve Pressfield’s the War of Art to know how to beat this thing down!)
- Buyers know what they want. The process is simple. All you need is to qualify the YESes and move on from the NOs.
And yes, we have picked out our Raffle Winners! Congratulations!!!
Want to know who won the diamond ring courtesy of the designer Julie Peel?
Kate Osbourne from Anima!! Kate was previously associated with Ethical Fashion Forum and is friends with Tasmin Lejeune. Congratulations Kate!
Lara Weston won the Hydrofacial with SkinMedico. Congratulations Lara!
Elys Philpotts from Brand Lab, a new technology platform to faciliate business between fashion brands and buyers has won an artisanal silk scarf! Congratulations Elys!!!