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Stands to see at The Game Fair – Tom Lane

It’s Game Fair week! So, this week, there will be a blog each day about a fabulous stand to see, and today it’s all about Tom Lane! I’ve been aware of Tom Lane for a little while now and have really loved seeing the product range they produce grow. I also have heard nothing but great things from my friend Harriet Edwards – aka A Girl About Country. She absolutely adores Tom Lane’s Lambswool Jumpers, so I was keen to find out what further delights will be at The Game Fair!

So, without further ado, it’s over to Jayne Ireland from Tom Lane.

Stands to see at The Game Fair – Tom Lane

How long have you been exhibiting at The Game Fair?

Our first Game Fair was in 2016 at Ragley Hall (as we only launched in 2015). I am really excited to be going back there this year!

Which product are you most excited to show the people visiting The Game Fair?

I will be launching my new collection of shooting socks this year at the Game Fair, which I can’t wait to share with everyone. The collection has a huge variety of styles and colours. I have also created a larger range for ladies (starting in a size 3) for the ever growing ladies shooting market. We specialise in Merino and Alpaca for our shooting socks and they are all made in the UK.

What’s your newest product? What makes it special?

My newest products are my ladies zip neck jumpers. I have chosen some pastel blues and pinks for this range and they have had a great reception so far.

If you could sum up Tom Lane in a sentence, what would it be?

Tom Lane is a lifestyle brand proudly designing and manufacturing clothing, luxury socks & accessories in Britain.

Do you have a typical customer? Or do you find your products have a broad appeal for all ages?

I find that we don’t really have a typical customer. We certainly have a broad range of customer ages – I like to think we have something for everyone.

What are you most excited about for this year’s event?

We have taken a bigger stand for the Game Fair this year, my business has grown so much from our last visit to Ragley and it’s exciting to be able to showcase all of our new collections.

Where can visitors find Tom Lane at the event? Are there any special offers they should know about?

Our stand number is D325. I am putting on lots of show offers across the ranges to celebrate the Game Fair. See you there!

To find out more about Tom Lane, see the website here. And to find out more about The Game Fair, see the website.

Caracal Equestrian – Stock – Advent Calendar Competition

Caracal EquestrianToday’s advent calendar giveaway is another treat – this time from Caracal Equestrian! The lovely Ailsa, the lady behind Caracal, has given me a beautiful stock to giveaway, in a stunning floral print.

Why am I giving away a stock from Caracal Equestrian?

Caracal Equestrian is a young British equestrian brand that creates really beautiful pieces of show and general equestrian apparel. The company is probably best known for its show and stock shirts, that are made in Britain and combine coloured cottons with classic whites to make beautiful products. There’s a huge range available including stripes, florals, the new range using fabric designed by Robin Roadnight (these pieces are soooo beautiful!), polka dots… the list is nearly endless. What’s more, Caracal offers a bespoke service. This can be in terms of the fit or in the combination of fabrics used. I think Caracal’s products are really special and combine modern shapes and etiquette with a bit of fun and colour… so I love ’em!

Why do I like the stock from Caracal Equestrian?

What competition outfit is complete without a stock? Exactly. Adding a bit of colour is a great way to add a bit of personality to a competition outfit, and a stock, I think, is a great way to do this. The stock, created using the same fabric as the Anabelle stock shirt, is just so pretty. It uses aquas, greens, pinks and whites in a lovely floral pattern, and really would be a joy to wear. It’s also really practical with the slit that allows the stock to be posted through.

Would you like to win this stock from Caracal Equestrian?

Of course you do! I have one to win… and the competition is only running on the day that this blog is published… so get in quick! If you read this afterwards and you love Caracal Equestrian’s style, just pop on over to the Caracal website and have a look around. 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!

Doris & Co – Hold Fast Mug – Advent Calendar Competition

Hold Fast Mug - Doris & CoToday I have one stunningly lovely Doris & Co Hold Fast Mug up for grabs. I have one and use it every day… and get rather cross if others get given it with their tea in… but enough about me and my ‘protective’ feelings towards my Hold Fast Mug…

Why am I giving away a Hold Fast Mug from Doris & Co?

Doris & Co is a sister company to Hiho Silver, and a business I am very, very proud to support. The British made creamware that Doris & Co is known for is beautiful, lovely to hold, beautifully designed… and hard as nails. The phrases and words on the mugs are all thoughtfully chosen and make you feel warm and fuzzy… without any nausea(!). The designs are gorgeous and exclusive to Doris. And the brand is friendly, welcoming, inclusive and fun. I love that the pieces are as beautiful as they are practical. I love ‘nice’ things, who doesn’t, but two toddlers, the naughtiest dog I have ever met and more means that delicate things don’t say ‘nice’ for long. Despite my best efforts. But Doris & Co products are the exception. They’re dishwasher proof, robust, well made… and I haven’t managed to break mine some two years on. I’m not trying to, far from it, but you know what I mean!

Why do I like the Hold Fast Mug from Doris & Co?

You may have noticed a very strong equestrian and country theme to my blog, clients, musing and content. That’s not something that’s done for show, it’s just me. I have horses, I’ve worked with horses in the past. We live at the back of beyond. I spend a fair amount of time outside, and so on. The Hold Fast Mug captures so many of the elements that I love. There’s a strong equestrian theme, there’s a strong nod to the countryside, and you’ll know by now that I LOVE a quote or saying. And ‘Hold Fast’ gives a good nod to that too. It is my favourite mug for many reasons, and if I can share a bit of Doris & Co with you this Christmas, well, the pleasure is all mine.

Would you like to win a Hold Fast Mug from Doris & Co?

I have one Hold Fast Mug from Doris & Co to give away… and the competition is only running until midnight on the day this blog is published. If you read this afterwards and you love the mug too, just pop on over to Doris & Co’s website and see Hold Fast and some equally lovely ‘friends’. 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 few minutes with… Marc Brown – Sporting Hares

Marc BrownFresh from being named as a finalist in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, I caught up with Marc Brown, the brains behind Sporting Hares. Marc isn’t new to this blog as we’ve chatted about packaging before, but as an admirer of the brand and what it’s achieved in a very short space of time, I wanted to have a chat with Marc and find out more about his business and what makes it extra special.

Tell us about you and your background

I’m from a farming background having spent all of my life in Mid-Wales. In 2011 I graduated from University in Marketing and, within weeks, started up Sporting Hares which, for the past six years, has dominated everything I do with the exception of the odd break for tennis, golf and shooting.

What made you want to start Sporting Hares?

The sheer unlimited scope that you can work with. There is no glass-ceiling on your ambitions and everything is an option.

How is Sporting Hares different?

We have a unique, personal ethos at Sporting Hares. We all focus on the highest quality results in our work which passes through in to our products, marketing and branding. We run from a working farm and live the lifestyle we instil in our brand, making it all the more authentic.

What makes your products special?

Sporting Hares BeauchampEvery product we bring to the market has gone through a long process of ‘is it unique?’, ‘can it improve the life of the consumer?’, ‘does it carry our Brand DNA naturally?’. Even the tiniest of touches have gone through a stringent process before being confirmed on all of our products because we love what we do and we want our market to love their new Sporting Hares piece.

If you had to sum up your business in five words, what would they be?

Exciting British Countryside Lifestyle Brand

Do you have a motto or ethos?

Our ethos is to maintain the highest craftsmanship in our products and match it with the highest customer service. We are our own customers, so we know the difference going the extra mile to meet the needs of the market can make.

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring business owner, what would it be?

You have to love the product/service you are providing. Business is so much easier when your own products/service excite you.

One thing that helps you run Sporting Hares more effectively

I simply could not be without my Laptop or Phone. They allow me to do any job (with the exception of order packing) anywhere in the World.

Best thing about running a business?

No glass ceiling. The world’s your Oyster.

Worst thing about running a business?

Trying to shut off. My friends all finish at 5 and have no responsibilities until 9 the next morning. I’m constantly doing/reading/writing something work-related.

Top business blog you follow

In all honesty Rhea, your blog!

Top business book you’ve read

Alan Sugar’s biography. Inspired me to apply for The Apprentice in 2014 – got through the auditions too.

Sporting Hares GiletOne thing we might not know about you

I am a through-and-through swot. I loved my academia years. After averaging the highest grades in my University, I was rewarded with Afternoon Tea with HRH The Prince of Wales.

Top business achievement

Being crowned Fashion Entrepreneur of 2015 by the Entrepreneur Wales Awards. Just this morning (11th September ’17) I learned Sporting Hares has been named a finalist in the prestigious Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2017.

Where can people follow you or your Sporting Hares online

Our website is www.sportinghares.com. We are also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as #sportinghares

A few minutes with… Sophie Carroll – Evemy & Evemy

Sophie Carroll - Evemy & Evemy In this week’s a few minutes with, I catch up with Sophie Carroll (nee O’Neill), founder of the lovely country brand Evemy & Evemy. Here’s a bit more information about Sophie, her business, vlogs she follows and more.

Tell us about you and your background

My background is in marketing and I have worked for luxury British fashion brands, including a by Royal Appointment company.

What made you want to start a business?

I started Evemy & Evemy as a creative outlet for my passion for country lifestyle and British fashion. I have always really enjoyed fashion/styling and envisaged having my own business, so I decided to launch Evemy & Evemy in Autumn 2016.

How is Evemy & Evemy different?

A fusion of fashion with traditional country style. I take inspiration not only from the Great British countryside but also catwalk trends.

What makes your products special?

Our collection is predominantly made from fabrics crafted in Britain or Ireland. The mills have a rich heritage and I think this adds an extra layer of luxury to our pieces. Our pieces are also made in England.

If you had to sum up Evemy & Evemy in five words, what would they be?

British town and country lifestyle clothing.

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring business owner, what would it be?

Evemy & EvemyDefinitely have goals but don’t be too fixed in your ideas, let your business evolve over time and enjoy the journey.

One thing that helps you run your business more effectively

Shopify! It is so beautifully user friendly.

Best thing about running a business?

I love seeing customers enjoying their Evemy & Evemy products, that’s what it’s all about for me.

Worst thing about running a business?

Not sure yet – ask me when we have been running for a year!

Top business blog you follow

I really enjoy watching vlogs, Holly Casto is always entertaining and informative and of course, Rhea’s videos are always great! Smart Insights is also a great source for marketing trends.

Where can people follow you or Evemy & Evemy online

www.evemyandevemy.com

Instagram @evemyandevemy

Pinterest @evemyevemy

Facebook @evemyandevemy

Twitter @evemyandevemy

A few minutes with… Stephen Reeds – Teddy Edward

Stephen Reeds Teddy EdwardI’ve seen Teddy Edward pop up on my Instagram feed more and more over the last few months, and when two bloggers I work with – Andrea Owen/Mud on my Mulberry (see her ‘Blogstars feature here) and Harriet Edwards/A Girl About Country (see her ‘Blogstars’ feature here) started talking about the brand, I knew I needed to sit up and pay attention. Luckily Stephen Reeds from Teddy Edward was happy to be quizzed… and here’s what he had to say…

What made you want to start Teddy Edward?

I have been working in the fashion industry for over 25 Years making lots of money for other people, the time came in my life where I wanted to do something for me but something that I could be proud of!

How is your company different?

Firstly I wanted all my products to be made in Great Britain! I also believe there is a gap in the market for quality classic products with a contemporary edge for men and women which are made in Britain.

What makes Teddy Edward’s products special?

Not only are they made in Britain but when you try them on, you can feel the quality of the fabric and the attention to detail on the fit. All our products are properly tailored so it doesn’t matter your size, they always fit well and feel great!

Can you sum up your business in five words?

That would be: Having fun, made in Britain.

Do you have a motto or ethos?

Not really, as we are a new business still working it out but what we believe in is: 

Teddy EdwardUnderstated Luxury. Totally unapologetically, British.

If you could give one piece of advice to another business owner, what would it be?

Simply if you believe in it, do it before it’s too late!

What’s piece of technology that you use to support Teddy Edward?

That’s simple : Shopify is amazing, not only does it manage our website, so we can do it ourselves without specialist assistance, it is our EPOS system and manages our stock! For a great price!

What’s the best thing about running your own business?

Being able to design lovely luxury products.

What’s the worst thing about running your own business?

Managing the cash flow!

Do you have a favourite business blog?

I don’t have have one as I like to shop around to get various opinions.

Do you have a favourite business book?

I have not read one in a few years as I get all my information from web/Google/blogs or friends/old colleagues whose experience or opinions I value.

Tell us one thing we might not know about you?

I am very short and bald but enjoying life to the full.

What’s your top business achievement?

Like many people who have been in the fashion industry a while, I like to think I have a few but the one I am most proud of is starting my own brand and business.

Where can we find Teddy Edward online?

www.teddy-edward.com

Instagram is:

Teddyedwardclothing

Twitter is:

@TeddyEdwardUK

A few minutes with… Rosie Neave – Pheasant Plucker & Son

Rosie NeaveThis week’s ‘a few minutes with…’ is all about Rosie Neave from the fun and fabulous Pheasant Plucker & Son. You might have seen her gorgeous products with fun prints on Instagram, that’s how the business first caught my eye, but there’s a lot more to it as Rosie explains…

Tell us about you and your background

I’m Rosie and I recently moved back to Lincolnshire where I was born and brought up. I’ve spent the last 15 or so years living in big cities like Leeds and London so it’s good to be back. I originally trained in Multimedia and started my career as a graphic designer but somewhere along the way, I fell into working in marketing and PR for arts organisations such as English National Ballet and the Royal Opera House.

What made you want to start a business?

I’ve got two small children who are now four and three and I started thinking about starting a business when my youngest was a baby. My mum has always run her own businesses so it didn’t feel too intimidating and I really wanted to have the flexibility of working for myself. I liked the idea of making decisions for me rather than someone else.

Pheasant Plucker & Son MugHow is Pheasant Plucker & Son different?

As a small business, Pheasant Plucker & Son is really ‘hands on’ and I’m closely involved in everything that goes into it – designing the products, sourcing the packaging, doing the marketing, product photography, dealing with customers, overseeing the orders, you name it! It means that when people shop with us, they’re ordering from real people so we’re able to offer a much more personal service. For example, someone ordered some candles the other day for her Mum who is going through chemotherapy – she dropped us a note with the order and we made the parcel extra special for when her Mum opened it. I think it’s little things like that that sets us apart from other larger businesses.
What makes your products special?

Our products are special because although they have a very country feel, they’re quite contemporary and bold – I like to use a lot of bright colours and strong typography in the designs. Everything is made in the UK and nothing is mass produced; they’re usually made by other small businesses that I try to build on-going relationships with. When I’m designing our products, I try to imagine different people using them so I hope they have a broad appeal.
If you had to sum up your Pheasant Plucker & Son in five words, what would they be?

Fun, quirky, colourful, practical, stylish

Do you have a motto or ethos? Not as such but a friend has a framed print in her house that says ‘work hard and be nice to people’ and that always seems a good thing to aspire to.

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring business owner, what
Pheasant Plucker & Son Candlewould it be?
Work your ass off and stick at it… and try not to get too discouraged when things get tough.

One thing that helps you run your business more effectively The support of my family – I couldn’t do it without them.

Best thing about running a business? There are so many brilliant things about running a business! Some of my favourites are being creative every day, having new ideas in the middle of the night and my phone making a ‘ker-ching’ noise when an online order comes in!

Worst thing about running a business? The hard days when it’s difficult to prioritise what to do first and you have a gloomy feeling that you’ll never have another customer again.

Top business blog you follow – I get Seth Godin’s daily emails. There’s often a real nugget in there, which makes me think differently or inspires me.

Top business book you’ve read – I really enjoyed Anything You Want by Derek Sivers. I read the whole thing cover to cover in one evening.

One thing we might not know about you- I’m obsessed with my chickens.

Pheasant Plucker & Son Tea TowelTop business achievement – I haven’t achieved it yet. I’m always looking forward for the next step.

Where can people follow you or your business online (website, social media
handles, etc)

Shop: www.pheasantpluckerandson.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pheasantpluckerandson

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/pheasantpluckerandson

A few minutes with… Melanie Clarihew – Mackenzie & George

I’ve been an admirer of Mackenzie & George for a very long time – not only the products but the
Mackenzie & Georgegorgeous branding too. And you know what else? The people behind the brand. Here I chat to Melanie, one part of Mackenzie & George, and chat about her business.

Tell us about you and your background

Mackenzie & George is run by my husband Chris and I.  Our story starts all the way back to 1974! Chris’ father, Bill, had a belt factory for over 40 years, producing ladies couture belts for department stores and brands like Harrods, John Lewis, Austin Reed, Jaeger and many more. In 2008, Chris had recently finished university, and with jobs few and far between in that economic climate, he started selling some of his fathers belts at Covent Garden Apple Market. Long story short – the selling really sparked an interest in the making, and so Chris started learning how to make the belts (although he has been in the factory on school holidays since a toddler, so knew some of the basics). I had recently lost my job around the same time (I’m from a music/marketing/events background), and started helping Chris, and together we looked at working with different natural and long wearing materials and incorporating traditional saddlery techniques we taught ourselves via YouTube! Eventually we started to do a few craft shows for his parents, with our own mini collection on the corner of the stand, until we took the plunge and set up our own business in 2012 – Burghley Horse Trials being our first ever Chris & Melanie - Mackenzie & Georgeevent. 

What made you want to start a business?

A combination of a terrible job market and seeing an opportunity that really bought the best of our strengths together.  Although most people would think we’re mad living and working together, we get to share all the triumphs and tribulations, and see each other at our very best (and worse!). 

How is Mackenzie & George different?

Attention to detail. Each process is thought out to the tiniest detail. For example, you won’t find a rough edge on any single part of our products – each and every sharp corner and edge is shaved off and hand buffed before being inked and sealed to give the smoothest – and most comfortable – feel and look.  It’s details often overlooked, but makes all the difference to final finish of a quality product.

What makes Mackenzie & George products special?

We pride ourselves on exemplary materials (vegetable and oak bark tanned saddle hide, solid brass hand polished buckles) that we worked hard on developing with small family run manufacturers that Chris has known for pretty much his whole life!  In addition, we take great care to ensure our products are practical, wearable and will last for many, many years (we even guarantee it!). 

If you had to sum up your business in five words, what would they be?

Honest Timeless Quality Handmade (with) Love  (I may have cheated!)

Do you have a motto or ethos?

Wearability that lasts. It’s what we consider when designing and testing designs and improving our techniques

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring business owner, what would it be?

Get up early – it’s something we’re only learning now really; it’s amazing how much more you can get done with an extra couple of hours in the morning (an 8 week old baby is helping us keep to this!).

One thing that helps you run your business more effectively 

Shopify is amazing. We use it for our website and POS, and it is great having everything in one place, plus all the apps that integrate make it a really powerful tool.

Best thing about running a business?

Something different every day, and fully utilising every bit of grey matter! In one day, our roles can consist of fashion or graphic design, product and machine engineering, (sometimes quite complex) maths, copy writing, craftsmanship, accounting, sales, website design/backend, marketing and even painting/building stand props/workshops!

Worst thing about running a business?

Impossible to turn off. And no one to palm off jobs too. In our first few years we regularly worked 12- 18 hour days, and have gone to shows having been up (quite literally) all night finishing orders! Melanie - Mackenzie & George We’re a bit more on top of demand now, but desperately need an apprentice in the workshop.

One thing we might not know about you

At school, I was voted most likely to run my own business, but also most likely to end up in prison.  I’ve never quite worked out what the shared attribute I have that makes both those things likely, but glad I ended up doing the former! 

Where can people follow you or Mackenzie & George online 

Mackenzieandgeorge.com

http://www.instagram.com/mackenzieandgeorge

http://www.facebook.com/mackenzieandgeorge