Liberty Open Call 2016
I was thrilled and pretty nervous to be chosen by the fabulous Liberty of London to attend their open call for designers and makers last Saturday. I had sent in a photograph of my fine bone china ‘Moustaches on Parade’ mug to apply for a place on their ‘Best of British’ open call in December and was over the moon to have received an email invitation to attend on Christmas Eve.
There was a lot of work to be done in a short amount of time, including preparing my 4 minute pitch ( harder than it may seem!) with all the required information and reorganising my portfolio but it was all very exciting!
The day itself had an incredibly early start – 5am due to my travelling time to London and it was freezing cold. I needed an ice pick before I could even see through my car windscreen! We arrived at 10am, which was later than I would have liked, but as early as practically possible. The queue of designers was still pretty long but no longer across the main entrance to the store, which made me think we wouldn’t have to wait that long. That wasn’t strictly true as it was 4pm when I managed to register and take a seat on the 4th floor ready to be called in to meet the buyers.
I’d managed to warm up in the last hour or so as we were stood inside queueing up Liberty’s iconic wooden staircases. I was very grateful for the water and ‘Propercorn’ popcorn that was available in the waiting area and a seat!
I met with two of the beauty buyers, as there seemed to be more designers for the ‘Homeware’ category than the ‘Fashion, Beauty and Accessories’ category. They were both really friendly and enthusiastic; despite nearing the end of such a long day and asked lots of questions about my range of mugs, designs and packaging. They genuinely seemed to love my designs, took my business card and some photographs. Now it’s a case of watching this space to find out whether I will be invited back for a more in-depth discussion with the buying team. Fingers crossed!!
Looking around the store afterwards was a real treat- I spotted work by some of my favourite designers and some of the in-store displays were fantastic! The paper ‘Flowers of Liberty’ were among my favourites.
The open call also meant that I was lucky enough to visit some of the Lumiere, London exhibitions on Regents Street, Oxford Street and Leicester Square. Liberty had also taken part in the festival, with this gorgeous Cinderella dress by French-Korean artist Tae gon Kim as one of their window displays. It was made from fibre-optic LED’s and changed colour as we looked at it.