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Behind… the new Lavenham Leather Tote by Annabel Brocks

Lavenham Leather Tote - Rainbow Edition - Annabel BrocksIf you follow me on social media, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Annabel Brocks. Not just the brand and the stunning products, but the lady herself too. Belle is one of the sweetest, nicest and most creative people I’ve ever met, and is an absolute joy to be around. I love seeing her Annabel Brocks brand continue to grow and develop, so you can imagine my delight when the new Lavenham Leather Tote popped up on my radar. As this style of bag is new to the brand, I took the chance to catch up with Belle, to find out all about the Lavenham Leather Tote… are you ready?

Behind… the Lavenham Leather Tote by Annabel Brocks

I’m really excited about the new Lavenham Leather Tote – it’s gorgeous! Can you tell me how you came up with the design?

Thank you for your kind words, I am glad you like them! Following the success of our Pina Festival bags lots of customers asked if I could design a larger bag. It had to be roomy enough to carry  a laptop/tablet, bottle of water, make up and generally fit in everything you might need in a day.

I wanted to offer two base colours which work well to complement other products in our collection. I am a tan girl in the summer months but the navy is equally eye catching and can be used in the cooler months too. I wanted a strong colour pop and classic bag so I designed two variants. The classic Lavenham is your day to day bag. Elegant, but with the tassel and contrast stitching it can be dressed up or down. I played around with trims and just fell in love with the rainbow. To me this sums up my designs – contemporary,  fun and the colour pop will brighten any outfit.

Tell me about the special edition lines – what made you create them and how have people received them?

I wanted to introduce Limited Editions for those customers who like to have exclusive products which are not mass produced. We are offering a certain number and once they are gone they are gone. We have loyal customers who like to have something unique.

Tan is a big part of the Annabel Brocks range with many of the belts having a tan base – what made you pick navy and tan for this range?

I always design around what I would wear or need in my wardrobe (so I can of course steal samples!) and the tan to me is such an easy to wear colour for Spring/Summer but I know I will use this year around. However the navy is such an easy to wear colour and I am not really a fan of black bags as I wear blue or white jeans. The navy is so striking worn with one of our sweatshirts or t shirt and jeans. I looked at other colours but you can’t go wrong with tan and navy.

I love the tassel detail on the Lavenham – what made you add this to the bag?

I just wanted to add a bit of interest to the bag and our contrast trim tassel does just that.  I have also incorporated the contrast stitch detail so it matches the design on other areas of the bag and who doesn’t love a tassel?!

What kind of testing period did the Lavenham have? Did it take a while to perfect the design?

I always do all the testing on any protypes and used the bag around the house and used it to go to the office. I wanted  to see how much I could cram in and used it on my daily errands. The children used to laugh as I  used it as an additional shopping bag. Could it carry wine (yes) , crumpets (yes and yum),  a magazine (yes) , a bottle of squash (yes), M&M’s (yes)?  I thought bingo, it ticked all the boxes for me so I was happy to sign it off as an approved new product.

What details about the Lavenham Leather Tote do you really like?

I am biased but I love the simplicity of them, but being a horsey girl, I love the fact both saddle and bridle leather are used to make the bag. The smell, the way it’s a natural leather which is strong and provides the structure which will wear and soften, and I think every crease in leather adds to the charm. The detail is subtle from a distance yet strong when inspected closely. The rainbow Lavenham Leather Tote is one of the best things I have designed. I literally squealed when the sample arrived and I am not letting my one leave my side

To find about more about Annabel Brocks and the gorgeous collection of bags, including the Lavenham Leather Tote, see the Annabel Brocks website.

 

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/annabelbrocks/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/annabel_brocks/

Twitter – @AnnabelBrocks

Website address- www.annabelbrocks.com

Annabel Brocks Faux Fur Head Warmer – Advent Competition

annabel brocks head warmerToday I have a winter must-have for you from Annabel Brocks. I have one of these and I LOVE it – it’s an Annabel Brocks Faux Fur Head Warmer.

Why am I giving away a Faux Fur Head Warmer from Annabel Brocks?

I am lucky enough to own a head warmer from Annabel Brocks. I own the natural faux fur and pewter version and it is so snug. I mean, SO snug. Like the one I’m giving away here, it’s completely reversible so you can wear it with the fabric detail on the outside or the faux fur detail on the outside. It’s up to you. It suits every and any outfit. As an aside, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Annabel and the team and they are SO lovely – the products are great, but so are they.

Why do I like the Head Warmer?

The head warmer is designed by Annabel Brocks herself, and is made here in the UK. The Head Warmer is reversible, as I’ve mentioned, and one size fits all, so you don’t have that issue if you’re buying them as a gift. There’s a MASSIVE range of colours available, and although I adore mine and this one in the bubblegum pink tweed is stunning, there’s no colour combo I don’t like. Annabel Brocks is best known for its faux fur head warmers, but there’s a really impressive range of other products available too, on the Annabel Brocks website.

Would you like to win a Faux Fur Head Warmer from Annabel Brocks?

Who wouldn’t! I have one to giveaway… and the competition is only running until midnight on the day this blog is published. If you read this afterwards, worry not – you can find the head warmers over on the Annabel Brocks website. However, if you’re in time, all you need to do it pop on over to my Rhea Freeman PR Facebook page, watch the video that will be pinned to the top today and enter. That’s it! Of course, I’d love it if you’d tell your friends by sharing the post.

I hope you enjoy my advent calendar competition – best of luck!

Annabel Brocks – Faux Fur Neck Warmer – Advent Calendar Competition

neck warmerToday I’m giving away this gorgeous Faux Fur Neck Warmer, kindly donated by the lovely Annabel Brocks. Annabel has donated a bubblegum pink tweed and natural faux fur version. It’s so snug and looks so stylish too.

Why am I giving away a Faux Fur Neck Warmer from Annabel Brocks?

It’s a superb product, designed by a very, very talented lady! I own the pewter version (which is pewter velvet on one side and a slightly darker faux fur on the other) and it’s lovely. It makes you feel special when you put it on and it keeps you warm… and I know that at this time of year, both of these things are much needed!

Why do I like the Faux Fur Neck Warmer?

Designed by Annabel and made in the UK, the neck warmer is exceptional quality and a really lovely addition to any winter wardrobe. It has a clever design that incorporates a split in the middle on one side, which makes it easy to post one end of the neck warmer through, to keep it in the perfect position all day long. The one I’ve been given to give is bubblegum pink tweed, but the range online contains other variations in faux fur and tweeds, so there’s something to suit all tastes.

Would you like to win a Faux Fur Neck Warmer from Annabel Brocks?

You absolutely do! I have one to giveaway… and the competition is only running until midnight on the day this blog is published. If you read this afterwards, don’t worry, you can find the whole of Annabel Brocks’ range, including neck warmers, on Annabel Brocks website. However, if you’re in time, all you need to do it pop on over to my Rhea Freeman PR Facebook page, watch the video that will be pinned to the top today and enter. That’s it! Of course, I’d love it if you’d tell your friends by sharing the post.

I hope you enjoy my advent calendar competition – best of luck!

A Christmas collaboration in action – equestrian prizes galore

Christmas collaboration - equestrian gifts galoreI’m very excited to be able to tell you about a competition I’m participating in – by which I mean, I’m providing a prize for. This amazing Christmas collaboration was arranged and organised by the lovely Becci from Super X Country. It unites a number of businesses, all providing a prize for one lucky winner. It’s a fairly simple competition in terms of the entry mechanism. But more and more I am convinced simple is the best.. you can enter over on Super X Country’s Facebook page.

Who’s the Christmas collaboration between?

The competition is between eight equestrian businesses – each providing a great prize. The lucky person will win a prize worth over £500- how good is that?

So, first up we have Annabel Brocks. I am lucky enough to work for Annabel and own one of her lovely headwarmers and neck warmers, so I can vouch for these products first had. The winner of this competition will win a sumptuous faux fur reversible head warmer. Definitely the most stylish way to stay snug this winter and beyond!

Then we have Super X Country, the brilliant brand created by the ever-so-lovely Becci. Super X Country creates custom cross country sets for riders of all levels, allowing people to get their own colours (and some really fun designs too!) without breaking the bank. In addition, Super X Country also sells gilets, breeches and lots more, all designed with the competitive eventer in mind. As part of this competition, you could win a customer cross country set.

Then there’s me. I’m offering a one hour coaching call. Now, as you know, I coach a lot of equestrian and country businesses, but I can also work with riders looking to develop their social media presence, work with brands, etc. So my bet would be that that’s the kind of advice I’ll be providing in this session, but it will be up to the winner.

Events Through A Lens is offering a shoot worth £150. I’m not 100% sure what this shoot entails, but no doubt it’ll be a great experience and lots of fun too!

LD Equestrian is run by Lydia, again, a bit of a star in my book! She’s developed a range equestrian apparel for the modern equestrian that’s elegant and stylish as much as it is practical. And she’s giving away one snug LD Equestrian hoodie.

Next up we have Caracal Equestrian. Ailsa is the lady behind Caracal and is one of the most creative people I know! She creates (and when I say create, I mean designs and actually makes!) gorgeous show shirts with pops of colour via stunning fabric choices. They’re SO pretty. And there are bespoke options too.

Muzzle & Snout is a fairly new business, headed by the lovely Debra, that handpicks gorgeous gifts and accessories and showcases them. There’s a stunning range of products available to suit all budgets and tastes. For this competition she’s giving a hip flask, unicorn socks and earrings.

Last but my no means least, we have Rico Reins. This company sells, well, reins, but in a HUGE range of lengths, widths and styles. So if you have a teeny Shetland or a HUGE Shire horse, Rico Reins will have the right reins for you! And as part of this competition, Rico is giving away a pair of Bio Grip Reins.

Why is the Christmas collaboration such a good thing?

You probably know my views on how positive collaborations can be, but just to reiterate, I want to use this example. So, here, each of the people above have provided a prize that someone would like to win to make one large prize bundle. So rather than, say, Rico Reins just offering a pair of reins, or Caracal just offering a shirt to their following, they, like I, am offering the same thing but there’s a difference. Everyone is getting exposure to each other’s audiences. So all the brands benefit. But more than that, the AUDIENCE benefits too. I could offer my following a prize of a session with me. They’d like that. But my audience is largely equestrian and country… so they would LOVE to win all of the above too. And I am sure the same applies for all the other brands too. Super X Country’s audience is horse riders, predominantly eventers, so all the above works so well for them too.

And that’s the power of collaboration, whether it’s a Christmas collaboration or any other, EVERYONE should win. And I think this one ticks all those boxes and then some. Well done Becci!

How can you enter this Christmas collaboration to be in with a chance to win?

Simple… pop on over to Super X Country’s Facebook page

Equestrian and country gift guide – for her – part 1

equestrian and country gift guideThis year, I’ve decided to embrace the Christmas spirit full on, and share with you some of my top finds in a series of equestrian and country gift guides. First up, I’m addressing gifts for her… and I’m doing this in a series of videos (along with for him and for children…) so stay tuned.

How have I put the equestrian and country gift guide together?

Well, let’s be clear, I know there will be a LOT of gift guides online this year, but I wanted to tell you how I’ve put mine together. I specifically asked the brands who I am featuring to be involved and picked the products I wanted to feature too. In order to be involved, I needed the product, which I said I was happy to return. Some brands very (very) kindly said I could keep the product they sent, some I have bought for gifts and some I already owned, but the vast majority are being returned… and some you’ll see in the not too distant future… but I’ll tell you more about that soon. I don’t have any issues with people who do it differently at all, but I wanted to tell you how I’ve done it. In the equestrian and country guides you’ll see lots of products from brands I work with, and some from brands I have the pleasure of networking with via my groups on social media. I’m not saying this is a definitive guide, and I am looking forward to getting inspired by lots of other equestrian and country gift guides as Christmas approaches. These are products that I know extremely well and adore, or ones that have caught my eye online and I like how the company operates.

I love supporting small businesses, and I think showcasing products in this way (as well as buying them as gifts!) can help. I’d love it if you’d consider giving this video a thumbs up on Youtube (the video below is on Youtube) and even a channel subscribe – that would be brilliant. But it’s completely up to you. So, without further ado…

 

In this equestrian and country gift guide, you will find…

Annabel Brocks’ reversible faux fur head warmer and neck warmer in bubblegum pink tweed, and her wool Bugsy Hat in navy.

Hiho Silver’s Exclusive Foxtail Bracelet, Exclusive Cherry Roller Bangle (find out about the Cherry Roller Bangle’s iconic design), and a number of CZ Roller Beads (find out why I love the CZ Roller Bead).

Fairfax & Favor’s Henley Drivers in navy (find out about the wow factor your friend/relative will get from Fairfax & Favor’s packaging here).

Evemy & Evemy’s Alpaca Socks (read about Evemy & Evemy founder, Sophie Carroll here).

 

You’ll find links to all the products underneath the equestrian and country gift guide – for her – Youtube video.

It’s a Burghley Horse Trials Must-See!

Annabel Brocks Quilted black Gilet With Natural Collar fIf you follow me on social media, you may have seen the short videos I have been putting out this week with my must-sees at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. In case you missed it, here are some of my top picks… in alphabetical order…

Annabel Brocks– whether you’re looking for luxurious clothes for autumn/winter or fabulous products for some winter sun, Annabel Brocks (in the Lifestyle Pavilion) is a must see. I adore the faux fur head warmers and am kind of looking forward to the winter and when I can wear them again! In addition you’ll find capes made using tweeds, faux suede gilets, kaftans, ponchos and even sun hats! Definitely add them to your list!

Butler Stewart – for tailored tweed, make sure you check out Butler Stewart. For ladies and gents there are off the peg garments as well as Made to Order and the new Made to Measure collection (the latter being launched at Burghley). And if you saw Oliver Townend at the trot on Wednesday, you will have already seen some Butler Stewart in action…

Dogs & Co – Melanie and the team are LOVELY, but more than this, the products are exceptional. I regularly rave about the UniWalker (it’s been a favourite too, but I call it by its old name, the Figure Of Eight), but the rolled leather collars and the brightly colours microfibre ones have also really caught my eye…

Fairfax & Favor – yeah – I love them. I have my eyes on a pair of Explorers as my next purchase but give the Reginas, Drivers and Windsor bag my hearty seal of approval. At the start of Burghley, Fairfax & Favor launched the new Electra velvet Chelsea Boots… and don’t forget the Amiras. The over the knee beauties.

Hiho Silver – for all your equestrian and country jewellery needs, obviously! At the start of Burghley, Hiho launched a new 4 Star solid gold bead with diamonds that fits on the foxtail and Cherry Roller Bangle. The company has also released a special Burghley charm and some other stunning sterling silver, solid gold and gold vermeil pieces. So go and see them.

Lula Bo – I found out about Lula Bo through the lovely Emily and Inkpot & Press… and then drooled over the products. At Burghley, in addition to all of Lula Bo’s other carefully selected products, Clare Shaw’s scarves will be on sale. And they are lovely.

Mackenzie & George – THE place to go for your belt and fedora needs! Mackenzie & George’s Chester Belt was my favourite in a recent vlog, and after seeing Imogen Murray in a felt fedora and feather pin from M&G at the trot up on Wednesday, I want one more than ever now! In addition, Mackenzie & George offers a personalisation service, so you can have your belt or clutch bag personalised with foil or just a simple debossed finish. LOVELY!

Noble Outfitters – a brand I’ve long admired – will be unveiling the new autumn/winter collection. With rich autumnal shades to complement any skin tone, technical prowess for busy people and clever touches too, Noble Outfitters is somewhere I would spend a bit of time!

Rudds Wellies – yep – we all need them – and Rudds Wellies are lovely. They’re made with a special rubber to give them a 12 month no split guarantee, have a super comfy lining, stirrup friendly soles and lots of other features too. You can find them in Rural Craft, which is also where you’ll find Mackenzie & George.

Teddy Edward – since I spoke to Stephen, founder of the brand, for my ‘a few minutes with‘ feature, I have become a teeny bit obsessed with the company’s range of British made products. Combining classic designs that are easy and flattering (amen!) to wear with Great British manufacture, I’m ever so slightly obsessed.

 

If you’re going to Burghley, there’s a chance to win some GORGEOUS Hiho Silver jewellery by taking a selfie, posting it on your Instagram and tagging with #HihoStyleSpotter, created with the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, Hiho Silver AND judged by Hiho Silver ambassador Sophie Callahan. Actually, she’s written a a blog all about it here!

How collaborations work between brands… with Hiho Silver

How collaborations work between brandsI’m very excited to be able to bring you a real life example of how collaborations work between brands. Or, at least, how they can work when they’re done well. And, to make it even more exciting, WE HAVE A CASE STUDY. Oh yes. How collaborations work between brands using a real life example. The real life example uses Hiho Silver, who recently completed a superb competition online that allowed people to win a lovely prize each day for 10 days, to celebrate reaching 10k fans on Facebook.

How collaborations work between brands… and why it matters

If you follow this blog you will know that I am a big fan of collaborations. Why? Because they work. They generate feel-good for everyone involved. Customers win. Businesses win. And it doesn’t have to cost all that much either. What’s not to love? Collaborations can add lots of value to your brand, your followers and the company you’re collaborating with too.. so why doesn’t everyone do it? It’s simple, it takes quite a bit of leg work and often an ability to put your brand’s needs on a level to brand you’re collaborating with. For everyone to win. Everyone needs to win. But that’s a whole different blog.

Now, onto the case study – Hiho Silver

As you may or may not know, I am very proud to count Hiho Silver as a client and the people behind this brand as friends. Hiho Silver is interesting for so many reasons, not least because of the amazing exclusive country and equestrian jewellery designs they create. But more about that another time (or just follow them on Facebook or Instagram, or have a look at their website to see for yourself!). Another thing that is superb about Hiho is the company’s ability to fully embrace new ideas and work with others. It’s refreshing, forward thinking and is one reason the brand is as successful as it is.

ANYWAY. To celebrate Hiho Silver reaching 10k fans on Facebook, it was decided that we’d create a competition to thank the fans for their continued support. The Hiho Facebook community is a special one and gratitude is a theme that runs through everything Hiho does, and it’s always nice to have a reason to celebrate. As it was Hiho’s 10k, it was decided that one prize would be offered each day for 10 days. And that fans could enter on Instagram and/or Facebook. The entry mechanisms were slightly different (and native to each platform), but both options were there to give people maximum opportunity to get involved. So far, so good.

So, where does the collaboration come in? And how do collaborations work between brands?

Hiho collaborates with a number of brands throughout the year on a range of different projects, so it made sense to speak to some of Hiho’s ‘friends’ to see if they wanted to be part of the celebrations. Why? Just to get free stuff? No. It was more than that. The brands that Hiho collaborates with have been chosen because they have a similar target audience – ie – they make/sell products and services that the majority or a significant portion of Hiho customers would be interested in. For this competition, Hiho decided to speak to Annabel Brocks (who provided a stunning Contrast Leather Belt), Evemy & Evemy (who provided a Pluma Silk Scarf), Mackenzie & George (who provided a Chatsworth Belt and personalised keyring), Femmes Fatales (who provided a day’s shooting) and Fairfax & Favor (who provided a Pembroke Handbag). In addition, Hiho provided an Exclusive Hammered Pheasant Necklace, an Exclusive Spinner Ring, an Exclusive Cherry Roller Bangle with CZ Roller and a Leather Wrap with horseshoe or cartridge slider. So there were 10 prizes in total. And so it began. One prize a day for 10 days… and didn’t Hiho’s fans love it! Oh yes. And then some.

Did the brands involved benefit from the collaboration?

And did the brands that were involved benefit too – oh yes. Exposing some of their products to Hiho’s fans and followers (and their fans and followers as people frequently shared posts on Facebook even though this wasn’t an entry mechanism… because it can’t be according to Facebook terms and conditions). Hiho put together two graphics each day during the competition and posted these on its various social channels. In many ways it was a simple competition, but the planning to make the simple competition work was quite involved. Worth every second, but it takes time. To make collaborations work between brands – between anyone – you have to dedicate some time to the cause. And then the results really mean something. And everyone wins. Which is what it’s all about!