The Liberty open call is something I’ve had my eye on since I started my business, I’ve been checking the website every few months religiously and to my excitement in December last year, they were advertising for applications. For those of you who don’t know, their open call day is where you get the chance to show your products to Liberty’s buyers. It just involves getting past the application stage and having a lot of patience and body heat to stand in the queue and wait your turn! I eagerly applied and was told I would hear back within 5 working days if I was successful, I actually forgot after that as I was so busy over christmas and then on Christmas Eve Eve I got an email to say that I’d got through! I now knew the date and time and that I would be given 3 minutes with the buyer, 3 minutes!! I needed to think of a way to impress the buyers and to make them remember me but in just 3 minutes this was going to be tricky.
In the end after much deliberation I thought I’d make a bespoke envelope for my best sellers and hand that to the buyer as I sat down. Below is an image of the finished envelope:
I decided that as I lived in London, I wanted to be close to the front of the queue so I worked out that if the doors opened at 9am, then I should be there for 6am to ensure a good spot. I was basing this decision on what I’d heard from people who camped out for the latest H&M collaboration or apple iphone and 3 hours before opening seemed to be a good bet. Much to my husbands disappointment I asked him if he would queue with me, I couldn’t believe it when he said yes – I definitely owe him one!
So we got to the queue via Uber at 6am to find 4 people in the queue ahead of us! Perhaps we were a little too eager….there was someone sleeping on the street in a sleeping bag and we couldn’t work out if it was someone queueing or a homeless person. 2 hours later when the person arose it turns out that a young lady had slept the night outside Liberty to save the first spot in the queue for someone else! I hope she was paid a fair amount for that! It was SO cold, we had ski thermals on under our clothes!
So we settled in, got our chairs out and poured a hot cup of tea from our thermos and started chatting to those around us, there was a really great vibe in the queue and everyone was excited to be there. We were all telling each other about our businesses and showing our products. The time went by pretty fast and just before 9am the doors opened and we were invited in to thaw out. As we climbed the stairs the nerves started to kick in and we got separated out into our different categories at the top, Home, Fashion etc. I was in the home section and was the very first person to be seen! My heart was beating what felt like a million miles per hour but the buyer was lovely and made me feel more relaxed. I quickly showed her my cards and gave her the envelope I’d made with my bestsellers inside. I’m not sure if she really noticed the envelope but she was really positive about my cards and said she really liked my style. She took a business card, noted something down on a bit of paper and before I knew it it was all over! I shook her hand and said goodbye and Matt and I were out the building by 9.15am!
Overall it was a great experience and definitely worth doing, I’m still waiting to hear if they place an order, but if not it was still worth my time and efforts. It’s inspired me to change one of my ranges and to continue with one of my new ranges which they loved, so all in all it was worthwhile. I’m now looking forward to my next trade fair…..Pulse 2016!