As I unveil my first ever website, we’re all still stuck in the uncertainty of lockdown. It’s a peculiar time to say the least as my business was borne out of getting out and meeting people face to face! From the very first outing wearing the feather pins I made myself (and them being admired by people who wanted ones just like them!) to taking my brand on the road to some of the biggest equestrian events in the UK and Ireland, it’s a key element of what I do. To feel confident and turn heads when you’re out and about, you need to feel comfortable in a hat that suits you. And the very best way to match hat and person is for them to spend time trying on different hats and feather until they find the one which makes them go ‘wow’!
Last year I took the Hayfield stand to some of the most amazing shows. We went to the beautiful Royal Windsor Show, visited Ireland for the world-famous Dublin Horse Show, went to the Game Fair at Ragley Hall and the FEI Nations Cup and finished the year the Olympia, the perfect Christmas treat. Those events are special, but they feel a long way from home in the beautiful Welsh countryside and days spent crafting the hats and feathers! We have plans for this year that look unlikely to happen – the Royal Windsor Horse Show is cancelled; the Game Fair has been pushed back to September… At the moment I simply don’t know when I will next be setting up the stand and that is quite a strange feeling. However, onwards and upwards as they say! I’m lucky to have built a strong presence on Facebook and Instagram over the years and I’m enjoying connecting with my followers and customers there.
I thought it would be fun to share with you the planning and preparation which goes into taking Hayfield on the road. It gives me a chance to daydream about being at busy events with lots to see and do. It also means that next time you see me at a show, or notice on social media that I’m there, you’ll know all about the hard work that’s taken me to that point.
Firstly, there’s the job of deciding which shows to head to each year. This is normally done quite far in advance so that I have time to plan everything I need. I also try to space out the shows I go to, if I can. This means in between there’s time to unpack, assess sales, catch up with admin, dispatch online orders and make more stock. Oh, and have a good shower and wash my clothes!
Speaking of stock – well in advance of each and every show you’ll find me busy checking my stock levels so that I have enough time to make anything I need. I also keep a close eye on the raw materials I have (such as feathers, fedoras, ribbons, leather, glue, cartridges and so on!) so that I’m able to keep making without gaps in my supply chain.
As we get closer to the show date, I check the stand is in good shape and packed ready to take. I pack all the stock I’m taking with me, plus bags, decorative items and of course my clothing and personal items. It’s a lot of work for just a few days but I do adore going out on the road. The Hayfield England stand always get compliments from show staff and the public. An image of our stand from Windsor 2019 was even chosen to promote the 2020 virtual show. What a proud moment! So, here’s hoping I get to see some of you at shows before too long. For now, enjoy browsing my new website and keep an eye on social media for details of events (when we can go out) and new designs.