Thursday, 14 November 2013

Discover Dogs 2013 - Earls Court

The preparation for a big show like Discover Dogs starts at least 6 months before we get there to set up.
It is a huge commitment to show there, as the costs of the stand and staff alone can be near £2000!  Many see it as a promotional cost and feel overjoyed if they can make their stand money back... but luckily we always do OK there and you are lovely to us - would be hard to do so much work just for a smile.
Holly&Lil have been at Discover Dogs since our very first year and have always thoroughly enjoyed it.  It is quite different from Crufts, where there are many dog owners who understand the quality of our work and the fact that, though our lovely collars look like fashion items they are designed and used by REAL dogs everyday.  At Discover Dogs we get a chance to introduce ourselves to many people who may not even have their dog yet.  It can be hard to explain why our collars are so fab but thankfully many of the breeders have Holly&Lil collars so the public get a chance to see that many 'experts' endorse  us. These Breeders and Show people buy from us, we are too small a company to hand out freebies but we are so grateful for their support.  THEY JUST GET US!
We arrive at DD on the Friday and set up usually takes 6-7 hours.  We have never favoured slat wall and such but Lordy it would be easier.  We all have our set tasks and Connor and Chelsea launch straight into Glass cabinet building whilst I get Lights up...
By the end of the day we are tired but happy!  
Our new collar the Union Rose takes pride of place
The next day as show gals me and Chelsea and Concha take to the stand - and creepily seem to be smiling at you all from every angle ........ SCAREY!!!!!!!!
We have so many of you come and say hello even if you are not buying though we are happy when you do
Simba always come to say hello with his wonderful owners Daniel and Christine who have become great friends.
The Hills and their puglets are always welcome

Claire and Beth, our Discover Dogs tickets winners,  came  and said hello.  Claire worked out what she wants 'next time' but Beth could not resist one of our new Black Ice collars for her teeny wee Nessa.

Holly dog herself made an appearance and had a lovely time,  despite the fact there were dogs everywhere, not her favourite thing.  Still she found so many people to play ball with that she was happy!  Noone believed her age she was running around like a PupStar.  Minnie who she 'tolerates' from our shop came down and of course Simba who she has a massive CRUSH on!

We must thanks Elaine from Snugglepugs who had an army of puglets in our collars and also Joanne and Anna, the Barking Blondes, both Molly and Mathilda were in their H&L's.
We try to make shopping at our stand as enjoyable as at our shop.  All Els Angels are well informed and rather charming I think?
I guess one of our real highlights was accepting our Somewhere on the High Street Open for Dogs Award 2013/4. ( More of that later)... I loved winning this as it is a HUGE pat on the back and loud cheer for all my wonderful Els Angels at Bermondsey Street.  I had a dream how my shop should be and they have made it come true.  I thank them and love them for it!!!!!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Creating a Holly&Lil design - UNION ROSE

I thought you might enjoy knowing a little bit about the work that goes into creating a Holly&Lil collar.  One of our latest designs is the beautiful Union Rose a design I, (Elaine, Hollys owner), have been working on for many years.
It started life when we were asked by Harrods to show some of our designs at their annual dog walk.  Most of what went down the dogwalk were from collections on sale in Harrods already.   

But they allowed me the opportunity to design a few specially for their theme... THE WIZARD OF OZ.
I had several ideas/images from the film that I knew I wanted to cover... The Rainbow, The Poppy Field, Ruby Slippers and Emerald City.
The Rainbow was a huge feat for our craftsman but I drew what I wanted and he produced the most amazing collar.  So lovely and smart yet super colourful. A joy! It has gone on to be used on the BBCs Search for Dorothy and was awarded to the winning Toto!
The Rainbow Click on Image to see on our webshop
I myself worked and sew the Emerald City and Ruby Slippers; a wonderful mix of Sequins, Crystals, Millefiori beads and Swarovski.  They are still some of my favourite collars to sew and up there with our best sellers. Click on Image to shop....
But the one I could not crack was the poppy.  At last I came up with some ideas on paper.

My man then worked on this design and our first collar was created in 2009 for the dog walk - it had 4 poppies on the collar for maximum effect and was created on a wide collar as Cookie, our in house Bulldog at the time would be wearing it!

And so the show came and Eddie, Lily and Cookie were the stars!  

Sadly Holly was not picked to walk but looked and gave Lily support from the sidelines

The Rainbow and Emerald City and Ruby Slippers became part of our ranges and we still sell them.  BUT I was not happy with the Poppy collar - it looked too much like propellers not petals.  PLUS the cost of making it was astronomical.  Would have taken it beyond the reach of most of us.
So the years rolled on..... and we tried and we tried.  Producing a flower was possible but producing a flower that a dog could be a dog in, was another thing.  
However I also opened up my thoughts and became interested in the Tudor Roses as well as Oz poppies...
And I loved the name Union Rose which was another name for The Tudor Roses - the traditional floral heraldic emblem of England and takes its name and origins from the Tudor dynasty.
And at last we had a look - at first with Petals and without the Green leaf. 
Holly tested the original design and we found the petals a tad annoying they held the dirt when she rolled in stuff.  I finalised that I wanted a black calf with yellow piped collar and decided a black patent heart gave that teeny bit of gloss to my design.  Then I realised that the green Leaf was the final touch.  And so the UNION ROSE was created and is now online on our webshop and will be available at Discover Dogs 2013 and in our shop from the 11th of November!  I hope you love it and feel all our agonising was worth it! Some just wait for us to do all the hard work them imitate the design - very badly - but this one is a corker and as hard as any we have done to produce so beautifully yet still take quite a bit of wear and tear. I feel stupidly proud and pleased with it and Holly has been wearing hers for MONTHS and it looks wonderful! 
The UNION ROSE please click on Image to shop