Stephanie Carswell, creative director of Hawthorn Handmade, reveals why CHSI Stitches is a crucial date in the company's calendar
What products and launches did you focus on at CHSI Stitches 2019?
This year, we launched our new Go Stich and Go Weave ranges, and Stitches was their first 'outing'. They went down better than we could have ever hoped and there was a real buzz about them with some wonderful feedback. Orders placed at the show and soon after have been doing incredibly well, with many shops already re-ordering as their customers are so excited to find a fun project that they want to make again and again.
Why is exhibition presence important to your business?
It's vital for us to get out there and receive immediate feedback and responses to new designs and ranges. We also use it to find out what's happening in the craft retail world. There's nothing better than being able to stand there with all our products on show and see the wonderful reactions to them.
What additional elements of CHSI Stitches are important to you?
This year I managed to hear the Craft Report and it was such a useful insight, especially with regards to the growth of soft crafts. The New Product Showcase is also key for us, with buyers putting us on their 'must-see' lists after they've browsed the display.
What was your biggest success at the 2019 show?
Being able to finally show everyone our new Go Kits, and receiving orders right from the first morning was a real success. Stitches has put us in front of major craft buyers and from initial meetings at the show we've managed to develop strong relationships with some of our biggest stockists.
Have you seen continued business from the event?
Absolutely! We are lucky enough to still be working with shops whom we met at our first Stitches in 2014. Trade shows seem to be shifting away from buyers placing orders at the show, with this happening afterwards in follow-ups. That hard work is really paying off and we've seen consistent growth in our sales from Stitches last year.
Keep up with latest show developments at www.chsi.co.uk