We have just returned from the first leg of a whirlwind tour of John Lewis Gift departments to say a big hello to all the lovely giftware department partners.The stores we visited were Oxford Street, where we took part in a special my John Lewis members exclusive shopping evening, Kingston, Leeds, Newcastle, Cheadle and finally Birmingham, before we headed home.
It was rather like a rock star tour but neither of us had the energy to throw any TVs out of the window and, well, we aren’t rock stars either.
As anyone will tell you when you run your own business selling homewares or any products – you hardly ever get to see everything, apart from in brown cardboard boxes, so for us it was a real treat to see the lovely things all merchandised together.
First stop: Kingston
It was really exciting to see the great display that the Kingston store had done for our giftware collection, and it was so encouraging that, as a new brand in this department, everyone was so enthusiastic. Customers had also been reacting very well to our products.
Second Stop: Leeds
An early start for us on Friday – driving to the amazing new Leeds store which has recently opened. All the partners there had worked really hard to create a home for our brand, and in the new environment it looked bright and exciting. We had the pleasure of meeting the giftware manager, Laura, and chatted about the inspiration behind the collection and the stories behind the patterns.
Third Stop: Newcastle – Mini Moderns in the toon!
This was a real trip down memory lane for us two, as we both studied in Newcastle, and can remember the time that the Newcastle store was called Bainbridges!
As you would expect – we got a real Geordie welcome from Callie and Jonny, and we were blown away by the display area of our products. The visual merchandiser had done a great job of colour blocking the stories. It looked amazing and we left feeling very pleased.
Fourth Stop: Cheadle
Not a part of the world that we are very familiar with but it also gave us a chance to hook up with Pam Harper from Ulster Weavers – which is always fun. And we did manage to plan new product developments for 2017 – so don’t ever think we don’t maximise our time!
Amanda from Cheadle spent a great deal of time with us – which isn’t easy at this time of year on a busy Saturday, and we had a really good chat and invaluable feedback. The display looked impactful and our A4 product story showcards looked impressive too.
Final Stop: Birmingham
We love Birmingham and have spent quite a lot of time there for various art events and even at one point a spot of DJing (I know!). The team there were so lovely and welcoming – as all the partners were across the 5 stores we visited. It’s a big store and we were very happy to also see our ceramic ware and enamelware in a room set in the home department.
And so back to Mini Moderns HQ – shattered – but we had such a great time meeting all the partners and hearing all their feedback. A big thank you to everyone who we met – we really appreciate you spending time to get to know us!
We will be planning another mini tour soon!