CHSI Stitches; My First Trade Show

I spent Sunday and Monday in Birmingham visiting the CHSI Stitches Trade Show, it was in equal quantities exciting and overwhelming.

This was my first ever experience of a trade show and whilst most people probably go with a strategy of how they are going to spend their time there I decided the best thing for me was to just get a feel for how things work, have a look around and speak to some suppliers, old and new.

Andy came with me and on Sunday we made our way up to Birmingham, checked into a nearby hotel and then headed over to the NEC for the last two hours of the days events.

It was massive, if you've ever been to the NEC you'll know how huge it is and the show covered just two halls. I still don't think we managed to see all of it, it's quite easy to lose your bearings in there - but the fabric areas called to me and I soon found myself in a sea of jerseys, cottons, rayons, silks, lace, you name it!

This lovely display of draped fabrics greeted us on arrival... just stunning!

One of my favourite things was getting to meet people that I had spoken to on Instagram, on the phone or over email. I met Jules from Sew Me Something who was showcasing her gorgeous patterns and who I chat to on Instagram, I bumped into Rachel and Kate from The Fold Line who were there with Charlotte from English Girl at Home and I spoke to Tilly and Joanne from Tilly and the Buttons (fan girl moment here).

Slightly exhausted and exhilarated we headed back to the hotel for dinner. My head swimming with fabrics, trims, haberdashery and stunning quilts.

Bright eyed, bushy tailed and full from a hotel breakfast the next day (who doesn't love a breakfast buffet?!) we headed back to the show where I got properly stuck in with chatting to people, making contacts and meeting possible new suppliers. I fell head over heels in love with a particular fabric that I have lined up for the March Luxury Box (little tease for you) and found gorgeous buttons and haberdashery goodies that I think you are going to love.

I also had a mega fan girl moment when Lisa Comfort of Sew Over It walked past me. Andy actually spotted her before I did thanks to me watching all her vlogs on YouTube all the time.

There was a full timetable of presentations, workshops, seminars, and even a catwalk. I didn't attend any of them this time around but next year I think I will definitely make more of the weekend and book myself in to some of them. I'll go with a plan next time!

Look at all the colour!

Once we got home and unpacked I settled myself down with a cup of tea, a load of paper and a stack of business cards and flyers that I collected and made notes to help make sure I remember who I spoke to and what I spoke to them about. There was a lot to take in so making notes is essential.

All in all I think it was an extremely successful trip and I am so excited about the coming months. I may have actually dreamt about fabric last night... genuinely! I'm already excited to go back next year.


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