Transatlantic BIDBI

  • Julia Gash, CEO BIDBI
  • 2014-08-22

I’m at Toronto Pearson Airport, waiting for a plane to take me home and back to BIDBI after having a long weekend away in this country of opportunity.  Of course, I’m not so decadent as to take a flight across the Atlantic for a few days respite.  A long week of work at the NY Now trade show in New York, preceded the laid back life I enjoyed for a few days in Canada. Talented, our own tote bag brand showcased its new collection to the good American folk at NY Now. 

Setting up for the show can sometimes go smoothly and sometimes it’s hell on earth.  This time, it was the latter as the courier company we used decided to throw away our instructions and with that, our beautiful display unit went missing in New York.  After half a day of angst and a never give up attitude, I managed to track it down, the two packages having been split into two separate locations across New York.  It was hot as a furnace and I felt that I had truly gone to hell.  With help from the British Gift & Jewellery Association, who organized our stand, I managed to erect the display and go home (to my friend’s pea size apartment) and collapse in a heap.  I did get some downtime however, which included a visit to MOMA where I saw an exhibition of one of my favourite artists: Toulouse Lautrec, whose fin-de-siecle prints of Paris are simply amazing and a source of inspiration for my own work ...

Things got better and better, once Winnie and Carmen, our Canadian distributors at Lifestyle Market, joined me.  We spoke to customers from California to Cincinnati, Vancouver to Vermont, many of whom loved our customized USA and Canadian Cityscapes.  It’s also interesting to see how a trade show differs from continent to continent.  The way you communicate your brand to different cultures is so important and I learned lots from Winnie and Carmen who also showcase Talented at Canadian trade shows along with the other lines that they distribute.

Here's two of our USA Cityscapes ...

Packing up with Winnie and Carmen was so much fun … much more enjoyable than the stressful experience I had at the start of the trip.  They share my love of a job well done, lust for learning and can see the potential for Talented in North America.  Together we are exploring how we can remove further obstacles to growing Talented in the Americas, by establishing an eco-print factory in this continent, replicating our successful BIDBI model in the UK.

My time in Canada was not all rest therefore as I headed to Invest Ontario’s office on Friday morning, to investigate the possibility of establishing BIDBI in the region.  Carmen and Winnie are already on to it of course. Carrying out essential research and undertaking pilot sales to test the market.  Here's what may be waiting for us in Toronto ...

I now return to UK to take part in the final two trade shows of the season and get ready for two new and key staff members that join our BIDBI and Talented Sales & Marketing Teams.  Once they’re trained up I then start on the BIDBI North America Business Plan, which has been a twinkle in my eye for two years and now begins to feel like the beginning of something real.