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Just as I was wrapping up for Christmas, on Christmas Eve actually, I got an email from the Liberty London British Design Open Call! So Christmas Eve was a pretty exciting day, not only because it was Christmas Eve and I was celebrating the end of the busy Christmas sales period, but now I had some crazy plans for January and a lot of exciting planning to get back to in the new year! 

So after a few weeks of planning, getting really clear on my numbers and when I could potentially deliver an order and of what size, and a few gruelling pitch practice runs with my boyfriend (who was surprisingly tough!) the weekend came around and we we're London-bound! 

It was a SUPER long day! I think we left home around 5.30am, flew in to London and headed straight for Liberty. I'd seen photos of previous years and knew the queue would be long, so I wanted to get in line as early as possible, so hopefully I could get the hard bit of the weekend over early and could relax in London for the rest of the weekend. 

We ended up queuing for about 7 hours, the majority of which was outside in the January sun. I stupidly wore pumps, and my feet were beyond freezing by the time we got inside. 

Okay, queuing and cold-aside, would I do it again?

To be honest I'm not sure! I'm glad I've done it and I'd definitely recommend doing it once in you're small business's life! I learnt a lot about my business and what I'm capable of achieving, but really most of what I learnt from the whole experience was really just self-discovered. The run up to the open call definitely did push me to look into things much more meticulously than I had ever done before, like my margins for example and delivery times for wholesale orders of different sizes. The whole thing has got me thinking on a bigger scale than I have been before, but this was also something I had planned to focus on in 2016 in general. Liberty just kicked me into gear a little bit quicker!

The pitch itself was over before I knew it, and to be honest it felt like a blur! I'm sure for the girl I was pitching too it was a super long day, and I felt a little bit like just another number through the door, not that that is her fault at all. I'd imagine it's pretty impossible to stand out amongst the hundreds of other designers they've seen throughout the day!

All things considered, I'd say its totally worth a shot. What have you got to loose after all! Just be super prepared for a really long day and bring someone with you to keep your space in the queue when you wander off to a coffee shop for a much needed break! 

January 18, 2016 by Emma Jackson

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