In April 2011 I left teaching to join my Dad, we started with a trade fair in London called The Stationery Show. It was great and I actually loved it! We had good feedback from the buyers and for our first trade show I think we did quite well. We had lots of interest, we met lots of great contacts, and we even managed to get advice on how to improve our product from some of the industry buyers.
( I suppose I better mention what it is we are trying to sell , it’s not a major part in my blog so I’ll keep it brief, it is called the Expansion File, it basically replaces lever arch and ring binder files as it can do what they do easily! My Dad designed it and we have just got a patent on it. I find it physically difficult to say it but my Dad was actually right about this, it works and it’s a good product… he is apparently always right but I beg to differ!)
However once we had returned from the show we found the phones quiet, emails ignored, and worst of all our confidence hit.
Then we got thinking, whilst at the show I remembered one gentleman approaching our stand, he loved the files, and thought they were a fantastic idea, ‘Where do you buy them from?’ he asked, ‘We are the manufacturer’, my Dad replied and before my Dad could elaborate the man stated, ‘Oh well in that case I’m not interested, I don’t buy from the UK’. Stunned by his attitude towards us as a British manufacturer I was concerned about what others at the show may think, and after a look around the rest of the show I found that we were probably one of, if not the only British Manufacturer in there!
Our prices were not extortionate, and our product didn’t need to be bought from abroad, I was happy that we were a British Company that uses British suppliers and materials. I think it’s actually something I’m proud of.
Onwards and upwards I thought, let’s start contacting them all AGAIN and let’s get back in touch with the NHS too, try and sell more than our new product, let’s tell them about the other things we do too! And so leaving my teacher training behind me I ventured even further into the unknown.
“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.”
– Muhammad Ali