It’s taken me twice as long to deconstruct after Pulse this year compared to my first visit, with more of my lovely network exhibiting this time I had a lot to see. Pulse is my favourite mix of wholesale banter, welcomed press opportunities, viable collaborations & friendly networking; along with a few mystery surprises thrown in for fun.
I turned up bright and ready to walk the floor of Olympia on sunny Sunday, everyone is always fresh ready to talk on the first day, perfect for my visit. I started close to home in the Makers section, where lots of Crafty Fox traders could be found many of whom were still recovering from the market a week before (nutters). However they are still some of my favourite because I can really see the evolution of those brands, with many starting as a young business at a craft market and developing in to their first trade shows like Pulse.
I was warmly welcomed by Jenny and she was as vibrant as ever trying out the real estate trick of a sunny yellow accented back drop. I never need any more convincing about her products as I have a lemon linen pouch in my bag from 2 years ago that still works, proving quality & style can go hand in hand.
A little bit of sparkle always goes along way with Rosa, for me the uniqueness comes from her selection and use of acrylic. Stunning patterns and finishes paired with her flair for design and you get vibrant statements to wear.
Jacqueline has created such a dynamic brand taking her transitioning designs across a wide selection of products. Perfectly exploring exciting collaborations like styling with geo-fleur and jewellery with Kate Rowland, I never know what she is going to make next.
Kirsty & Adrienne both sporting some impressive hair goals at the moment made the trip down from Birmingham to get everyone involved with the creative behind Frilly. They were responsible for one of the most popular envelope in the press area, containing a token for their vend-o-matic machine drawing you to find their stand and complete a postcards to help decide what destination to honour in their next snow globe necklace. Laser cut jewellery collections that are so kitschy, cute & clever, they are an essential.
Now just a few more from the Makers section: I think a good mix of growing popular designers and new faces in there for you to choose from.
I have just put up my framed plant print from Brie in my new flat, it so easily suits every space. Fresh from a garden centre collaboration, I was excited to see some new fabrics on her stand alongside her classic prints & cards.
Inkase was a name I picked out from the exhibitors list but was so happy to meet Chloe in person and have a right old natter about everything from design to the joys of the north. I love a good marble effect and admire a lady who manages to build such a well rounded brand around another full time job.
Another bold abstract pink graphic backdrop from my favourite creative leather brand. More experiments with gorgeous foils, trendy geometric shapes and rainbow splashes of colour … need I really say more? Trying out a new set of floor to ceiling white shelves that proved practical for the crowd of stockists that had to line up for their delights.
Another cheeky name from Pulses exhibitions list that drew my eye, a design finalist on the Great Interior Design Challenge. Lucy launched a illustrative home interiors range that is full of character. Her stand was crammed full and a practical art piece made of animals frolicking through the greenery, palm tree included of course.
Recommended by the blogging community for their lay flat notebooks all made in the UK and crafted in small quantities. Inspired by all the right things and as close to classic craftsmanship as you want whilst producing perfect results every time.
I loved the Shop Talk lineup last year so was keen to catch a few sessions this time too. With the oh so lovely Kristabel amongst the first panel talking through ‘Getting the Media On Your Side’ I tried to keep passing by the cleverly located centre stage to catch snippets throughout the show.
Tuesday was my real sit down and take notes moment sitting for 2 sessions: ‘Knowing your Customer’ a Keynote given by Ruth Wasserman Head of Design at Made.com and ‘How to Grow & Compete on a Limited Budget’ a must see from Rachel Peterman Founder of Carousel & Co.
I am going to go in to a little more detail on some of my take way tips and tricks in a separate post, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
I get my lovely invite to Pulse as a press member so get to enjoy the perks to be found beyond the velvet ropes at the back of Olympia. Taking in the prepared materials and planning my way around the show, thanks Seen PR for putting on the spread.
It also means I get to really enjoy it when I bump in to fellow design lovers (and dedicated bloggers/vloggers) like Natasha & Fab who were touring around like myself trying to scope out their favourites in retail design.
Taking notes on the trends put together by Unique Style Platform, plinths containing Christmas Trends: Bloomsbury & Indulgent and A/W 17/18 Botanical, Functional & Spice Trail products that you could then search out in the show.
Returning for the last day I still managed to find a few Makers I hadn’t talked to yet and then got stuck in to the Living section. With a few more tired faces as the show drew to a close I set up lots of meetings for later and follow ups on new collections.
We all have a friend that pulls this line on a night out, part of Sarah’s core collection & accessories in her lux finishes. Launching new rock glam homeware ranges and unique slogan bridal pieces that make perfect companions for that special day.
Another design blogger recommendation, a design and print studio based in Hackney Wick creating handcrafted thoughtful products. I love that their whole brand is based around Alice in Wonderland quote ‘Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast’. Lots of Riso printing going on here too.
The use of statement blue on Lizzie’s stand drew your eye between the rows and made the perfect backdrop for her bold card designs. Also with a little help, her copper pipe and wood shelves were a great example of a simple construction creating lots of impact.
Alison has great brand style, lovely connections between her designs and quickly jumped on my radar at Pulse. Lovely typographic choices amongst imaginative graphic patterns that made me stop and stare.
I am a long standing customer of the ladies from Cambridge Imprint their patterns make me swoon. With a lively, hand-blocked, artisanal feel in an actual rainbow of colours available across a wide selection of stationery and desk accessories. New pricey collaboration with Grenson to create Persephone print shoes that I want, want want.
This stand was a collection of 4 dutch design brands including all things we like with some lovely wooden plant hangers filled with Memphis Tableware. The stand itself was a little treasure trove of pastel’s and points of interest.
Chase & Wonder is the brain child of married duo in rural England that you can now find it some of the worlds finest emporiums as well as hundreds of independents. Inspired by past victorian splendour, antique curiosities each product is printed and produced splendidly with many being hand finished.
Wrap was founded by designers to celebrate the best in contemporary illustration. Whether its for inclusion in their magazine or creating their collection of stationery and cards everything is uplifting and designed exclusively for their brand.
Katie is a stunning architectural illustrator and produces a range of products including giclee prints, wallpapers, lampshades, notebooks & greetings cards. Her stand was full of new map collections from global icons to London sites there is something everyone will recognise.
Handcrafted organic skincare & remedies made from things the earth gives us and wrapped up in wonderful packaging. I liked the Savon story and wouldn’t mind some of their products filling my bathroom cabinet.
Lisa creates tropical paintings which creates a vibrant decorative home style that can suit lots of tastes. The product keeps that hand-painted quality adding to the character of the final products.
When it comes to display sometimes more can be more, the industry’s leading brands have larger spaces stocked full of perfectly displayed products. I always leave this section till last to explore and take in the clever ideas they bring to the table.
There was even more if you can believe it! An entire Fashion section with a pop up by Secret Emporium a lot more Living brands, a stand by UAL and of course more of the big wholesale names. There really is a little something of everything; whether you are after neon coloured rubber Christmas trees decorations or personalised letter pressed envelopes. I had more photos, more brands, more stationery for sure but I think that should keep you going for now.