Back in the spring of 2012, I was asked if I would be interested in taking part in Hankyu Department stores British Fair. The event is held at Hankyu's Flagship store in Osaka and showcases the best of British products, from clothing and fashion accessories to gift-ware, home accessories and food and drink.
Promotional material showcasing other British businesses taking part in the show such as Eribe knitwear, Bluebell Gray, Cari & Co, as well as food and drink from Eteaket, The Savoy Hotel, London, The Highlander Inn and Walkers Shortbread.
I immediately agreed and began working with my Japanese agent on ranges and designs for the Japanese market. The trip was for 2 and a half weeks, the first week spent in Hakata Hankyu store in Fukuoka in South-West Japan, and the second week spent in Osaka at the flagship Hankyu store.
Most of my time was spent making necklaces, demonstrating my craft, as well as helping to sell the range of necklaces, bracelets and bags that were all ready made.
The customers were able to come and pick and choose beads, and I would create a long 'eclectic' style necklace for them. The beads were presented like sweeties from which the customers could choose from.
Taking part in the show was fantastic, exhilarating, hard work and most definitely the highlight of 2012 for me and my business. It was such an incredible opportunity for me to see Japan, gain insight into the Japanese market, and I met some incredible people and fantastic friends over there that were also representing their brands and businesses from the UK.
It was such fun working with such a dedicated, friendly and enthusiastic sales team, and I look forward to what 2013 may bring for Handmade by Hayley in Japan.