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TOP 5… Father’s Day Gifts from Bristol Designers

Father’s Day is less than two weeks away already so I think now is probably a good time to give you all a firm nudge and make sure you get your dad something nice! I’m really excited about this week’s blog post because while I was sat here scratching my head thinking ‘where am I going to find some good, unique Father’s Day gifts?’ it suddenly occurred to me that I know lots of amazing Bristol makers who offer brilliant man suitable gifts to feature!

So not only does this feature solve all your father’s day gift idea woes, it also promotes lots of lovely and talented fellow Bristol based designer-makers – the majority of whom I know personally and can totally vouch for as incredible ladies who fully deserve your support! What could honestly be better than that?!

 

Fiona Clabon Motorbike Coaster Father's Day Gifts

1. Norton Motorbike Coaster by Fiona Clabon £4.50 – I’ve always admired Fiona’s retro inspired collage designs even before I knew her! …And what dad hasn’t always dreamed of having his very own motorbike – even if it does only support his morning brew! This coaster would make a great affordable gift, or you can get the whole retro themed set or perhaps a gardening design instead if that’s what your dad is into.

 

Karve Design Timepiece Cufflinks Father's Day Gifts

2. Timepiece Cufflinks by Karve Design £25 – These cufflinks are something truly unique and special made using real watch parts! I’m usually next to the lovely Chitra of Karve Design when I do The Frome Independent market and so it’s lovely to see her incredible jewellery and accessories are always popular since each piece is entirely unique.

 

Girl & Bird Personalised Map Print Tablet Case Father's Day Gifts

3. Personalised Map Print Tablet Case by Girl & Bird £24-£27 – Annah of Girl & Bird sews all of her products by hand herself so you can even opt for a personalised choice of map and backing colour for this tablet case! She has a huge library of maps available to choose from so if your dad is at all like mine and likes his gadgets, he can be sure to keep his iPad protected in style with a beautiful case like this.

 

Little Paisley Designs Garden Birds Mug Father's Day Gifts

4. British Garden Birds Mug by Little Paisley Designs £12 -Eleanore much like myself is a big nature lover and sells a beautiful array of products featuring her cute and colourful wildlife illustrations. My dad has always been an avid bird watcher, these days especially, so whenever I see gifts covered in birds I always know they’ll most likely be a hit with him!

 

Alice Shields Save The Honey Bee Clay Badge Father's Day Gifts

5. Save The Honeybee Badge by Alice Shields £12.44 – The last of my five amazing Bristol designer ladies is one I haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting but am a big fan of her work. I love that she is donating 10% of sales of this handmade product to the Bee Guardian Foundation and I expect lots of dads would appreciate that too! Besides birds my dad also loves bees, as well as all other insects in fact, so the message to ‘save the honeybee’ certainly seems like a good one to wear on a badge. Plus it’s a gorgeous design and made of earthenware clay!

Thanks so much for reading. I hope I’ve helped you find your dad a gift this Father’s Day or at the very least introduced you to some brilliant designer-makers from Bristol to order from in future! Don’t forget to browse the Sky Siouki online shop for Father’s Day gifts too! My next TOP 5 feature will be something super Summery… I’m thinking cocktails?!

 

Country Living Spring Fair 2017 Pop-Up Market

 

As you may well have heard I recently attended the Country Living Spring Fair as part of their pop-up market section for young businesses. There was a competition to be awarded one of these stalls for free for one day of the fair so I was delighted to get chosen to attend! The event was four days long so I was only there for the first day of the event on Thursday, April 27th but the venue was buzzing with people all day and a real joy to take part in.

 

Country Living Spring Fair 2017 Pop-Up

Wish I’d managed to take a few more photos but here is one of my stand all set up. I was quite pleased with how it looked as I’m constantly trying to improve on my presentation as I bring out more and more product types. Propping up my pegboard using an easel was particularly handy. My new stone placemats proved really popular all day. Their rustic feel obviously appealed well to the Country Living magazine fans! I also sold lots of cards and coasters as I usually tend to do. It’s interesting how at each event there is always a favourite product that I’ll sell lots of that day.

 

I also took this quick hyperlapse video walking around part of the fair to try to capture a sense of the atmosphere on the day. It was so big and there was so much going on all day making it a really impressive event. They even had little lambs and hens there! I nabbed the photos below from the Country Living Fairs Instagram account just to show how many stands there were in just one of the rooms.

 

Country Living Spring Fair 2017

 

Overall I found the Spring Fair to be a really successful day and everything was very well run. It was a pleasure to get to meet some of the magazine’s editors and so flattering to hear how much they liked my work! I hadn’t realised the editors had actually been the ones on the selection panel for the pop-up market and they told me that the competition was really fierce so I felt really proud to have been picked.

Having been lucky enough to attend for free, I’m unsure whether or not to look at doing the event again with a paid stand for now. I certainly think the Christmas Fair would be more worthwhile when paying such a large sum of money so I may just look into it nearer the time! Next up I’m back at The Frome Independent market on May 7th with my suitcase up on Catherine Hill… Come say hi!

 

NOT ON THE HIGH STREET Pitch Up 2017

Last weekend I made a trip up to London for the Not On The High Street Pitch Up 2017 event where, similarly to Liberty’s Best of British Open Call, they open up their headquarters to lots of hopeful designers to pitch their products! Not On The High Street is such a popular online shopping destination these days, especially for gifts and unique design, so this was an opportunity I couldn’t miss.

I signed up to NOTHS Pitch Up 2017 back in December via EventBrite which is open to anyone but there are limited slots. It crept up fast and all of a sudden February came and I realised I’d better get myself prepared and so I created a little handmade booklet to show my product photography to the panel. I knew from having done the Liberty Open Call that the 10 minute slot would fly by fast and what really matters is the quality of my products so I didn’t prepare a speech or anything. I know that over rehearsing will most likely only make me panicky and that I’m passionate enough about my brand that I can speak about it quite freely without needing to practice.

Not On The High Street HQ

NOTHS Pitch Up 2017 Preparation

I stayed with a friend in London the night before so I could get the train to Richmond the next morning without any faff. I’d signed up to be seen between 11am-12pm but I think this is just a general guideline since I arrived early but didn’t get seen until around 11:45pm. When you sign in there is a waiting room next to the reception where you are given a number and wait to be called upstairs in groups of about ten. There seemed to be quite a lot of people attending which felt competitive at first but a nice and friendly atmosphere developed thankfully.

NOTHS Pitch Up 2017 Waiting Room

Once I was upstairs I had to let them know what products I had brought with me which meant I needed to see potentially three different panels which I didn’t expect. I waited at the side of the room to be called over which didn’t take long at all and at first met two lovely ladies from the Home & Garden department. They were very complimentary and even had some great ideas for developments I could make. They were undecided however if my products were right for the very trend-led, contemporary style of NOTHS and so said they would decide together with the lady from the Art & Prints department after I’d seen her.

So I headed back to my chair at the side and waited to be called over once more, at this point preparing myself for disappointment. I was kicking myself for only bringing one A4 print with me since the email had said to only bring about 5 products and I hadn’t expected them to have time to look at a lot. Thank goodness I had my iPad with me and so I got my online shop loaded at the ready to show them my full range of prints online. The head of the department loved my work, and having unpackaged my print to examine the quality she handed over a Congratulations card without even discussing with the ladies from Home first! She asked that I’d post a couple of my A3 prints to her just to see them for real but said she’d put me through nevertheless! I was so overwhelmed at this point having expected to have to wait nervously while the two departments came to an agreement.

NOTHS Pitch Up 2017 Celebrations After

NOTHS Pitch Up 2017 Congratulations Card

After that they send you through to another room where someone takes your details and signs you up then and there which was really nice because it made the whole thing feel concrete having received an email confirming my membership already. So afterwards I went for some obligatory celebration lunch at Wahaca and then visited the new Switch House viewing terrace at Tate Modern. (Wahaca is delicious by the way and I was suitably hungry for the occasion.) What a day, I’m so overjoyed to have reached a new milestone for Sky Siouki!

 

For anyone thinking of attending the next NOTHS Pitch Up event I would say absolutely go for it! There is nothing to lose really bar a few travel expenses, plus the joining fee is half price if you do get through. It was very well run, dare I say better than Liberty’s Open Call since the allotted time slots mean everyone arrives at a staggered pace and I really wasn’t waiting very long at all. It felt like they had time for you, even bothering to ask where I was from and what I had planned for the afternoon to make me feel more at ease rather than rushing through it.

My biggest regret is of course not taking more prints with me, but thankfully I still got through! I would advise having a good look at the website and thinking about how or if your work will stand out as there is a lot of choice on there already and they did mention how mugs and cards in particular are a very saturated market where it can be hard to stand out. The reason they liked my prints so much was because of my unique contrast of painting against detailed sketches and exciting colour use. They mentioned trends quite a lot and whether products were gift-able so there are a few points so to bear in mind to anyone who goes to the next Pitch Up! Now I’m off to get adding my products to the website!

Crafty Fox Peckham, Dec 2016

Last Sunday was my final Christmas market of the year in London at the Crafty Fox Market Peckham. I have to admit it feels pretty relieving to have finished up my markets for the year as I am well and truly knackered now but it’s been a lot of fun and a lot of success which is wonderful!

Crafty Fox Stall

As it turned out Crafty Fox was actually my least successful market this year which I was quite surprised by since it was very busy all day. I perhaps a little naively expected London customers to have a little more spending money in their pockets. The event was really well run with upbeat music playing and a real buzz throughout the venue from start to finish. I was only just about set up before customers were already coming through the doors when it opened. It was lovely to meet new fans as always and learn from other traders at the event so there was certainly still a lot to take away from the day. The crowd seemed significantly younger on average than I would usually see at the Made In Bristol Gift Fair which I think was down to the area of London and I feel may have had some effect on my sales. I also couldn’t help wonder if the wildlife based theme of my work may appeal more to people who choose to live in an area with such a large amount of surrounding countryside like Bristol has.

Crafty Fox Peckham

I had always wondered if I’d been holding myself back by fearing driving in London and missing out on events like Crafty Fox so the purpose of going had always been intended as a bit of a test. It’s very interesting to now know, and a little comforting even, that I don’t need to feel I’m missing out on too much through living outside of the capital and it also reminded me of just what an amazing thriving creative community there is in Bristol. For now I’m undecided if I may revisit Crafty Fox as a trader but I’m certainly feeling more ready to conquer a London trade show now I’ve managed driving around in the city a little.

Crafty Fox

Like a lot of the traders at the market, I only had a small square table to work with so this was another challenge I conquered through doing the market. I’ve felt like my stall displays perhaps could have done with an upgrade since launching a lot more products this year so this gave me a good reason to invest in some new display props. I was pretty pleased that I managed to put everything on display using height to my advantage. This is another aspect that’s got me excited about exhibiting at a trade show as good presentation will be everything and I’m excited to start planning how I could lay out my stand.

That’s nearly it for me this Christmas but you can of course still order from Sky Siouki online! My final order date to get gifts in time for Christmas is Dec 19th. Shop here!

CHRISTMAS EVENTS 2016

Christmas is fast approaching already and I’m getting myself prepped with lots of new products on the horizon for Sky Siouki. Hopefully all will be available just in time for the gift buying season as well as for my Christmas events this year. I’ll be posting lots of reminders closer to the time but here’s my first official announcement of the events I’ll be selling at this Christmas!

TOTTERDOWN FRONT ROOMS ARTS TRAIL

NOV 19th & 20th, 12-6pm  – 57 Windsor Terrace, Bristol BS3 4UGTotterdown Arts Trail

I’ll be collaborating with Abi Coombs for the 2016 arts trail with an Into The Woods inspired venue showcasing Abi’s gorgeous woodland based etchings and screenprints and a selection of my bird based prints and products from the Flight collection. Local artist, Nathanael Draws, will be live painting a mural in the back garden on the Sunday and there’ll be some delicious homemade nibbles and mulled beverages on offer too to really kick off the Christmas spirit!

MADE IN BRISTOL GIFT FAIR 

NOV 26th, 10am – 4pm – Colston Hall, Bristol BS1 5AR

Made In Bristol

I always love selling at the Made In Bristol Gift Fairs at Colston Hall and getting to meet all the lovely Bristol dwellers who admire my work. I’ll be there once again this year, sadly just for one date though so make sure you come to this one on Nov 26th so as not to miss me!

 

CRAFTY FOX CHRISTMAS MARKET PECKHAM

DEC 11th, 11am – 5pm – CLF Art Cafe, The Bussey Building, Peckham, London SE15 4ST

Crafty Fox

Very excited about this one! My first market in London in fact and it looks set to be a great one. In the fantastic Bussey Building the venue has lots of space and light and the Crafty Fox markets are always incredibly well curated so I feel very lucky to have been picked to take part! There’ll be different designers on the Saturday and the Sunday so come on Sunday if you want to see Sky Siouki!

Liberty Best of British Open Call 2016

Last weekend I made a trip to London to go and queue up for Liberty’s Best of British Open Call 2016 and present my latest cushion designs to their buyers. For anyone who isn’t familiar with Liberty of London, it’s a huge department store right in the centre of London on Regent St and it’s kind of a big deal. It’s an absolutely beautiful building and has been there since 1875. To be stocked in the store would be an incredible achievement and has been a dream of mine for some time so attending the open call had to be worth a shot. I actually went to the open call for the first time back in August 2014 but this time I felt more determined for some reason and more confident in my new collection.

Liberty

I arrived at about 8:45am. The queue was already pretty long but once the doors opened at 9am we suddenly moved forward by quite a bit and thankfully I moved into the building out of the cold by around 10:30am, joining the queue going up around the staircase. Both times I’ve found everyone else in the queue to be very friendly and there is a lovely encouraging atmosphere. The queue continues up the staircase for quite a while as the meetings are held right at the top of the building but someone came round calling people forward who had homewares as there were obviously less people waiting to see the homeware buyers. At the top there are lots of chairs laid out and you have to register your name and category and then wait another hour or so to be called. This is by far the most nerve-racking bit!

Queueing Up The Staircase

Soon enough my name was called around 1pm and I was put in front of Ed Burstell, the managing director of the whole store, and Julie Hassan, the head home buyer! I felt super nervous when I saw that they were the panel I’d be presenting to but you’re only given 4 minutes so it went incredibly fast. Julie gave me a lot of very specific and useful feedback on my designs and I was impressed by how in-depth she was, even opening up the zips and reading the tags.

Although they didn’t say it, the general impression I got was that my designs are a little too subdued for Liberty’s shelves which in hindsight when visiting the store on my way out seemed very clear to me. I didn’t take any of my first collection because I’ve grown to feel a lot more proud of my latest work but when they saw a photo of my previous designs in my lookbook they were a lot more intrigued by it and I realised how much my design style has changed and perhaps Liberty isn’t where my work necessarily fits anymore. I’m so pleased I went anyway as it was such a great experience and I appreciated how honest Julie was. The first time I went I felt like the buyers I met with were perhaps just being nice to me so it was refreshing to get some real feedback. I kind of wish I’d taken a mix of my old and new work now but you never know how much difference these things would really make. I also found out that around 3,000 people applied by email to see the buyers on the day but only 600 were invited so I feel really privileged to know that I was chosen.

Waiting To Be Seen

This year I’ve set myself a challenge to go for 100 opportunities and Liberty was number one. Now that I have this experience to reflect on I want to focus on trying to gain stockists that my new work is more suited to next and from there I can hopefully gage the right direction to continue in. If you have any questions about going to the Liberty open call please feel free to drop me a comment!