Blackhorse Lane, Holland and Sherry, Tusting and Stefano Bemer: Pop-up week one
Man, I love the pop-up shop.
It's being going so long now that I know exactly what it will be like, and I look forward to the atmosphere, the chats, and the conversations with readers.
It's exciting putting your products out carefully on display. It stimulates my curiosity seeing what everyone else has brought. And I love the camrarderie, of the five or six of us manning our stands, talking about craft and going out for coffee runs.
Perhaps most enjoyable for me, though, is seeing readers. There are a hundred or so that come regularly, plus maybe the same again that come for the first time, each time.
They tell me what they've bought in the past, and what they liked or didn't like. They give feedback on site navigation, or other brands they've seen. They're rarely people that comment otherwise.
It's invaluable from a business point of view, of course. But it's also really fun: it gives a much-needed physical, personal angle to what is otherwise a purely online business.
Han from Blackhorse Lane was doing well yesterday.
He's in a nice sweet spot I think, where readers have been reading about the brand for a while, but haven't had much chance to see the jeans in person.
He has the new chinos with him - in navy and green, with beige to come. Both are great, though my favourite was the green, and that seemed to be reflected in sales, with a lot of the green going on the first day (yesterday).
And there's the new Type 2 jacket, which is in a really slubby denim that's interesting - unusual but quite organic feeling (both are shown above).
Holland & Sherry have brought bolts of cloth that are all end of lines - so not available anywhere else.
They date from between three and 10 years ago, and vary hugely in price, from one length for £70 to another for £5000. The latter is a Super 240s that was part of an old range called 'Caesar'.
My favourite was a gun-club check (shown above) with some strong pastel colours in it. And fortunately it's toward the cheaper end of the range.
However, my rule is I don't buy anything until readers have had first dibs. So it's there for anyone that wants it!
Tusting are showing their new Century collection, which is quite a change from what they've done historically. It's cleaner, darker and simpler. More city than country.
The lines are derived from aircraft, in honour of the pilot that founded the company 100 years ago, and have a RAF-blue lining.
There's also the original Heritage line, which is available to buy now, while the Centenary is made to order, with full delivery in a month or two.
Finally among the brands, Stefano Bemer had a nice first day, with a few inquiries about the new Essenziale collection and a couple of bespoke appointments.
The price of Essenziale seems to be the key attraction, at €850 for a shoe with a hand-sewn welt and the same materials as the full Bemer line ('Classica').
My favourite in the range is probably the chukka boot, due to its low profile and the segment taken out of the back, above the heel.
That can make a boot a lot more comfortable for someone - like me - that finds a lot of ankle boots uncomfortable.
James Girdwood, who runs the shop with me, has a new delivery of his cordovan products: T-cut wallets, notebook covers and watch straps (above).
He's also updated the J.Girdwood website with those things, finally.
The Bridge Coat, Dartmoor sweater and PS Oxford Shirt were the things readers were most interested in seeing among my products.
And shorts. Which doesn't make sense with the season, but does in the sense that trousers/shorts are one of the hardest things to buy online, and this is a rare chance to try them on.
So the more shorts the better.
Thank you to everyone that came yesterday, I look forward to seeing more over the next three weeks. And remember the come-one-come-all opening party is on Thursday this week from 6:30pm.