Countdown to the NYIGF (New York International Gift Show)

 As usual it seems it is the end of the month and I have yet to blog, which is amazing because I have so much to report.  The big news is Keith and I have been furiously preparing for the New York International Gift Fair,  which takes place in mid-August at the Javits Center and Piers in NYC.  The show is designed to present the latest innovations in furnishings, tabletop, accessories and more to retailers and designers in the metropolitan area.

We feel this will be a good opportunity to expose (there has to be a better word) our British Cottage products to a wider audience.  For years we have been manufacturing our own designs, first in England, and now at our factory in Hungary.  Bespoke, handmade, and hand delivered are our standard operating procedures, not a marketing ploy. 

So this will be a test to see if our British Cottage vision is viable out of our comfort zone in Red Bank.  Our pricing has always been reasonable, partially because there are no middle men, we are direct importers, and also because we are committed to staying affordable.  While we may have one or two rock stars and three or four moguls as customers, mostly we sell to people with tuitions and car payments and orthodontistry to worry about. 

Which brings me to my next point, one of the problems with selling a product that is built to last is that the customer only ever needs to need to buy just one.  There is no built in obsolescence at British Cottage.  A pine farmhouse table never goes out of style; it doesn’t break.  In fact, it can actually improve with age.  So we are happy to widen our customer base.  According to some reports as many as 35,000 will attend the gift show.

And we are not only bringing furniture but also one-of-a-kind antiques and accessories we have picked up in our travels to Europe.  We’ll have dough bowls and Staffordshire china, antique maps and botanical prints, authentic British flags, watering cans, you name it.  The items in the photograph are just a few of the things we plan to exhibit.  We’ll be on Pier 94, booth # 43060, come see us if you get a chance.  Or stop by the store; Red Bank is easily accessible by car or train if you are coming from the city.

The Last Day of June

When I first decided to blog I set myself a weekly target which soon ratcheted down to once a month; thus I better get cracking as it is the 30th of June already!  But boy has it been a busy month…
much of it was spent in England, scouring the countryside for quintessentially British items to use in our booth when we exhibit at the New York International Gift Fair in August!

For those of you who don’t know what that means, the Gift Show takes place twice a year in NYC at the Javits Center and the Piers–it is enormous.  Thousands of vendors, selling everything from candy bars to couches, present their wares to retailers in the tri-state area, all 35,000 of them.  So what is British Cottage doing there?  Hopefully branding ourselves. 

For at least 15 years we have been building our own furniture designs, first in England, now at our factory in Hungary.  Always bespoke and bench made, sometimes with reclaimed timber, sometimes beautiful, lovingly harvested new pine from a managed Scandinavian forest (but that is another blog, how we were green before we even knew what green meant).  Anyway, we muddled along quite nicely, enjoying a very solid customer base in the the centrally located coastal community of Red Bank. 

But then things changed.  Our cherubs grew up and away, the dogs went to heaven and instead of enjoying our leisure time we were working twice as hard for half as much money as the dreaded recession caused business to slow to record levels.  So instead of packing it all in we decided to take it up a notch.  We’ve had several wholesale relationships in the past supplying stores in Westfield and Nantucket, so why not the whole metropolitan area?

So that is the plan.  We’ve produced several items that we think are truly unique and would work in a variety of homes. We’re going to layer those with all the British Country style accessories we all love, real Staffordshire, garden items, vintage maps and prints and hopefully we’ll take New York by storm.  As many of you know our pricing for our quality is extremely reasonable and if all goes well hopefully many more will find out!