A couple of weekend's ago we attended an AFCI event at the Holiday Inn in Coventry. For those of you who don't know who the AFCIUK are the trade industry group for the Craft industry in the UK, formally CHA. I wanted to share with you some of the highlights of the weekend as its the first of these we've attended and we really didn't know what to expect.
The weekend kicked off with some great forums and seminars with speakers from in the industry. It was really interesting hearing other peoples stories and take on the current craft industry. It was also really encouraging to hear so many companies flourishing and new companies springing up suggesting the Craft Industry itself is still going strong.
We were treated to a lovely lunch and more seminars in the afternoon. As the day progressed bonds began to form with companies that were in similar situations to ours and had similar challenges to ours. As the weekend went on these bonds became friendships and if I've taken anything away from this weekend its 2 new fabulous friends, Wild Spider and Sticker Kitten.
Meet 'Wild Kitten' :)
James & Sarah Douglas from Sticker Kitten and Toni Wilderspin from Wild Spider. These guys are awesome and you MUST check out their websites as they have some amazing products.
We really had a great weekend sharing stories, tips and experiences and meeting them really made our weekend. Sometimes its really great to hear that someone is going through the same as you! One of the best things about this industry I think is that everyone (for the most part) wants to share, whether that be teaching techniques, sharing ideas or contacts, this really is the friendliest and most open business I've been part of.
The second day started (after a very late night at the bar the night before :/) with some really interesting talks from members of Anti Copyright theft experts and a representative from Alibaba.com. This is certainly a topic close to many designers hearts and I really did feel like I came away reassured by Alibaba that they were investing a lot of money into cleaning up there act, but also that there are steps I can take to protect myself.
In the afternoon we were invited to a session with Create & Craft as one of their suppliers.
We were given a presentation by Create & Crafts new CEO & COO who told us of all the improvements that are going to be made to their TV studios and their postage services. They also told us they plan to do more TV in America which was really exciting for us to hear.
They ended the afternoon with a quiz which was super hard and I will confess Google gave us a little help! :) Second place got me a lovely bottle of Champagne thank you very much! And my lovely friend Toni from Wilderspin won one too!!
We also got to catch up with our friend Toni Darroch from Stamps By Me
who brought her son Tom. He is absolutely adorable and I cant believe how good he was through all the presentations. He also brought me 2 flowers from the garden so I was very honoured :)
By the end of the weekend our head was full of information and ideas and we had talked so much my throat was sore but it was well worth the trip. We met loads of amazing people who were so welcoming and happy to help take the next step in our crafty journey.
Both Ant & I are so excited about the next chapter in our adventure as business owners and we can't wait to share it with you all!