What have we been doing in July?

by Jacky Al-Samarraie

Thought it's about time I get into the 21st Century and start to use our new blog facility.

So I'm going to write about what we've been doing during July, as July marks a significant time for The Art Rooms. 

Last week we exhibited at Harrogate Home & Gift after an absence of 4 years. This show is where I launched The Art Rooms in 2008, so it was great to return. Although it's a local show, staying over in beautiful Harrogate is an essential treat and naturally it meant I could catch up with friends and indulge in the odd glass of Prosecco. 

The show like most trade shows had it's usual ups and downs and pondering amongst exhibitors about stand positions, footfall etc. but the usual fun bits too, which liven up the quiet moments.

We met up with some of our lovely existing customers and chatted to lots of new and potentially new customers. We also had some really interesting conversations about bespoke work, so if these things happen, more about them will appear in the future.


Straight after the show on Thursday morning I was on the train to London with Janet from G.F.Smith papers to enjoy Paperfest, a brilliant event organised by Abigail Warner. Cath Kidston was the keynote speaker. She told the story of how her brand was created................food for thought!

Home very late on Friday evening, then my first 'normal' weekend in months. Saturday morning was a catch up with a friend over breakfast at a lovely cafe on the Leeds Liverpool canal, followed by fabric shopping with my daughter, then a nosey round some new show homes. Should I move or spend some money on my existing home.................hmmm?


By Sunday the tiredness was overwhelming but I was determined to keep going with my first weekend back to 'normality' and met up with the 'girls' I used to work with in my previous life and we managed to mostly avoid Social Services talk.................a first! 

Then it was time to use the Alan Carr tickets I received as a Christmas present.................I love him, he's so funny.

Blurry photo below.


So the build up to this hectic week was equally full on. The day before the stand build-up for the show was the completion and presentation of my Business Growth Plan to my cohort whom I've spent the past few months with on the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme run by Leeds University. A brilliant programme which has focused me to plan the direction of the business for the next 3 years............I just have to put it into practice now..............interesting times ahead..................hopefully!

Participating on the programme whilst trying to create new products and plan for the trade show amongst what feels like a million other things has been so difficult but here we are at the end of July and my first real blog entry and life is calm..........ish and I have survived..................and relax!

So what is in store for August?

In a nutshell...........We have to manufacture the new products in time for Christmas and get them off to trade customers and publish them on our retail website.

We've just launched a trade website, so any trade customers reading this, please apply and register on www.theartroomstrade.co.uk for approval of a trade account. 

Then I have a little trip to look forward to, both work & pleasure. Derby to Oxford to Norfolk. Can't wait.

I'll be catching up with friends along the way too....................perfect.