Since getting home from our trip to the extraordinary and bustling city that is New York, we've been reminded of just how beautiful our little piece of the world is. We're appreciating how lucky we are to raise our girls in a place where there is space and freedom, and where the pace is family friendly.
Sure, we get busy and overwhelmed from time to time and the work/life balance gets out of whack, but it doesn't take a lot of effort to pick up the kids and escape for a weekend.
Life is, for the most part, uncomplicated.This is us relishing the last superb days of summer and celebrating the good life.
Strawberry picking at Beerenberg Farm, South Australia.
Camping on the beachfront.
What happens when you are asked at the last minute to please take on a premium stall at Australia's most prestigious trade fair? Why, you accept of course & then work like CRAZY to make it happen!
This opportunity to participate at 'Kids InStyle' came at a really pivotal time in the journey of Such Great Heights. We were teetering on the edge of taking our business to the next level - the demand for our products was becoming so great, we were getting emails from incredible stores daily asking to wholesale our product range. Yet, we were largely manufacturing our whole range ourselves, with a little help from some local artisans. We could no longer keep up! Such a wonderful problem to have for a one-year-old business, but overwhelming nonetheless. Kids InStyle is a trade only event for labels and businesses who wholesale their product to retail stores. The timing of the invitation to participate felt fateful to us - and so we decided to take an enormous leap of faith and go for it.
The 'things to do list' in that two weeks leading up to the fair was frighteningly long & included everything from stall design to establishing manufacturing partnerships. Preparing the marketing collateral was a big priority and graphic design is not our forte. If it hadn't been for the extraordinary talent and generosity of our friend Pete Day, we certainly wouldn't have got this done.Then the event itself was so nuts that in hindsight, it was pretty funny. We had to do 'shifts' in Melbourne for a couple of reasons - first because we didn't want to disrupt our kids too much, and second, because we both have day jobs that we needed to be at (more on this later). So we 'tag-teamed' the trade fair - Jo went to Melbourne first while I stayed at home with the girls, then we swapped roles and I went to Melbourne as Jo returned home. Here is how it played out...
Wednesday 31st July.
The day before the market began. Jo's alarm was set for 3am. Prepared a breakfast of champions (a banana and a packet of Twisties - gross!) and hit the road. The 8 hour drive from Adelaide to Melbourne was made bearable by the fully loaded iPod and some weird and wonderful country talkback radio.
By lunchtime, she'd arrived at the beautiful Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton, Melbourne.
The rest of the afternoon was spent setting up the stall. Sounds fun, and some parts are... But if there are any fellow artists/designers who are reading along, you know how totally gruelling and completely unglamorous this part is!!
Called it a day at 10pm & headed to an old & dear friend's house for a cup of tea, toast & a catch up. Slept like the dead.
Thurs 1st Aug and Fri 2nd Aug
The first two days were insane. Jo was totally bombarded with stockist enquiries & the response to Such Great Heights was overwhelmingly positive. Such an amazing feeling! Our stall sat amongst some of the best kids' labels around & to be honest, it was a bit daunting meeting the captains of industry. Although, our experiences were that everyone was so generous with their time & knowledge. Special mention to Bonnie & Neil, Beci Orpin, Incy Interiors, Love Mae, Lucky Boy Sunday & Gather Kids. These guys are all so well respected & were just really genuine, helpful & encouraging!
Jo caught the last flight home to Adelaide on the Friday night and fell asleep before her head hit the pillow.
Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th August
Then it was my turn to wake up at some ungodly hour & head off to Melbourne, this time by plane. I flew in, caught a cab to the venue, found the stall site & still had 3 minutes to spare! Too easy!!
Another great couple of days ensued, meeting & greeting such an amazing bunch of retailers, media reps, stylists & designers. I managed to sneak in a beautifully rustic meal with close friends on Saturday night, before wrapping the market up on Sunday afternoon with a book full of orders and an enormous feeling of elation.
But before I could relax, I had to get myself and the car home. Now, Jo will tell you that I'm not that great with directions and I'm not really a fan of driving at night (dodgy eyesight)... It took me about 2 hours to find the right highway to get me out of Melbourne city and heading towards Horsham - you don't even want to see the Toll bill :/ Let us never talk about this again!!
Pulled into Horsham way later than anticipated and woke the motel manager, who was less than pleased to see me at 2am in the morning, standing there in her dressing gown. After 4 hours sleep, it was back on the highway, only to get to Adelaide and pull into the day job car park, for a full 8 hr shift. Yep, crazy in the coconut!
But what an amazing experience it was!
Fortune favours the brave & Such Great Heights has most definitely taken the next BIG step.
Here is what a few of the industry heavyweights had to say about us after seeing us at the trade fair.
Papier Mache Magazine - 'Oohh & Such Great Heights, you were the stand out of the show!'
Inside Out Magazine - Listed as one of the trade fair highlights on their HomeLife blog
Kids In Style Blog - These are the moments from Kids In Style that triggered the childhood spark for us...Slight genius by Such Great Heights.
x Ryan & Jo