Sunday, 3 April 2011

Liberty Best of British Open Call

Well, first up I must apologise as this post is not going to contain any photos to make it more exciting.

For months I have been anxious about the fact I signed up to pitch  my work to a panel of experts at Liberty in the hope they may be interested in stocking it. As the day drew closer I felt sick to my stomach with fear. I had been so preoccupied in every day life thinking about it that I've done all sorts of stupid things and been really clumsy (more so than normal). One morning I nearly pumped hand soap onto my toothpaste - that sort of thing...

I set my alarm for 4:45am on Saturday morning but I woke up after just 3 hours sleep at 2:30 and couldn't get back to sleep for worry. So, after another hour or so of tossing and turning I got up and plodded around and waited for my taxi to arrive at 6:00am. Next up I'm on a train with a couple of drunks from the night before and feeling mixed emotions - partly still riddled with fear and partly resigned to the fact it was happening and there was nothing I could do about it!

I got to London a few minutes early but then panic set in as there was the usual tube problems. I had read that previous years people had queued outside of Liberty for up to 5 hours! Urgh. I was worried that by the time I arrived I would be behind hundreds of people already, so needless to say when I got there I was pretty shocked to be able to walk straight into the building and join a queue of people going up the staircase. It didn't feel like it took too long to get to the top floor where they then split you off depending on your discipline as it were, so I got sent to sign in on one side of the room with everyone else who made women's fashion or accessories. Very kindly Liberty had tea and biscuits at the ready. I sat there for about 2-3 hours but it went by rather fast. Next up, my name is called out and the time had come to pitch my work! As I approached a table with just one panel member at it I quickly tipped out all my pieces very conscious of the fact you only get 3 minutes. I felt like all of my pitch went out of the window as I only got to say a few things I had planned before she called over someone else to take a look at my work. They seemed very keen on the buttons I make and talked about other things I could do. They took my card and that was it! I was so bewildered and still am, but understandably over the moon that they took an interest. So now I guess I wait and see if they contact me. It would be jolly nice if they did.

I think the moral of this story is, I'm so glad I went. When I signed up I thought I was so out of my depth and contemplated pulling out right up until the last minute. Thank God I didn't! It's good to take risks, it's the only way to get anywhere. I have some more nutty risk taking plans for the year. If nothing comes of them, so what? You have to be in in it to win it as they say. If you're a designer / maker then please consider signing up. Liberty have another date for the British Open Call in August. It's a really positive experience (no one was there crying!)

Also, a cheesy big 'thank you' too all of my friends who wished me luck - I feel like the biggest plonker for being so worried about it.


  1. well done on having the courage to go up there. i hope you do well, i love your work - you deserve to go far! xx

  2. You absoloute trooper! Well done for doing so well hun, I could never have been so brave. And just getting them to see your work, and take a genuine interest is it means you've succeeded already, no matter what happens next. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you! x

  3. Good luck and way to go!

    Did you pop into Selfies to take a peak at whats left of the Supermarket Sarah wall? I had a look on Saturday and didn't see any of your stuff left.. sold out!? Hope so! Unless it was hidden, if so, I hope you saw it!

  4. Thanks guys, I'm glad I went. Even if they didn't take an interest it still would've been a valuable experience. As I say, no one was there crying and leaving too disappointed. I spoke to one couple who pitched their work together and they were told while their work wasn't for Liberty to try another department store instead and other suggestions, so pretty useful.

    Martha - I popped into Selfridges about a month ago and couldn't see any of my work left. I've been asked to send more but waiting for more info. I think it's either sold out or she changes the stock regularly!

  5. It's not all on that big wall anymore, it's round a square post so it's all different in the layout. Did you tell Liberty that you were selling at Selfridges?

  6. Oh man! I should have gone to check it out again but I wasn't thinking straight. Yeah I told the one woman I first pitched to but they didn't seem to have much to say about that. It all went by so quick I don't think I said much at all!

  7. I'm so pleased about your change in attitude. You do have to be in it to win it, indeed. XXX


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