The Harrogate International Nursery Fair is where I’ve been since I last blogged.  Sounds splendid and huge doesn’t it?  I’ve been visiting for 20+ years now and it’s always been a 3-day event.  That’s how long it takes to get round and see everything properly: very comfy shoes essential and a bit of step-smugness, as I go well over my 10,000 each day.  It’s always promised innovation, the latest trends, styles and colours and plenty of opportunity to catch up with other colleagues and my favourite  independent British and European manufacturers and suppliers. 

A colleague and I stayed at the fabulous White Hart Hotel,  which I thoroughly recommend).  Comfy shoes on, iPhone charged ready for loads of photos, and a nice big bag at the ready to collect all the leaflets, business cards and information I’d be needing for new, exciting baby equipment stock that I just know my clients will love, we set off, ready to be surprised.  And surprised we were.  As it’s awards season (Oscars, Baftas, etc) here are my Harrogate awards:

Best goody bag goes to…

Venicci a lovely Polish independent supplier.  Chocolate, pens, notepads, post-it notes – wow!  A girl will go anywhere for chocolate and stationery!  We have been Venicci stockists for nearly two years and look forward to receiving our first delivery of new colours for 2018 in Mid May.

Best hospitality goes to…

Baby Style, who had a gin bar on their stand!  Need I say more? Oh, and they’re supplying the Egg Oyster 3 which is brand-new and launching in August 2018. 

Best distribution contract goes to…

Little Poppets, for now supplying the beautiful range of Bozz foot-muffs and sheepskin rugs.  We put our order in for Autumn 2018.

Best bargain from an independent supplier goes to…

Roma in Dorset, where the lovely Emma and daughter Molly are supplying a superb package: Romavita stroller, buggy, carrycot, car seat, foot-muff and changing bag for an incredible £400!  Emma and Molly’s shop, Babybirds is worth a visit, if you’re in the area.  We are very glad to become stockists of Roma and already have the Vita on our shop floor!

Best products award goes to

Little Chick for their sleeping aid products. At Bumpstart, we stock the Breathable Bedside Crib, the swaddle and the daytime nest. This is something I care deeply about, particularly after all the problems we had with my youngest daughter when she was a baby.  They share valuable information about safe sleeping from the Lullaby Trust, and I’d recommend anyone with a baby to check this out.

The strangest fabric award goes to…

Silver lurex. On a pram.  Yes, really.  I liked it.  Certainly eye-catching.

And finally, the Booby prize goes to…

A furniture supplier, who will remain nameless, who was displaying a beautiful range of nursery furniture in a fabulous shade of grey, for which I’d have put in an order, but who then informed me that it was unavailable, as he was giving Mothercare exclusive stockist status! (So why display it…?)

My biggest surprise was the size of this year’s show; it was very much smaller than in previous years, which made me sad.  Many of the larger companies were nowhere to be seen, although the smaller, independent suppliers were so enthusiastic and keen to support independent businesses, which was great to see.

A word to the wise

Did you know that when you buy goods with a warranty, that warranty belongs to you, and you alone?  If you buy second-hand baby equipment, which had a warranty when new, you won’t be able to use it if there’s a fault with the purchase, as the warranty belongs to the original owner  I say this not to promote buying new, but because we were asked to “fix” a problem for a customer who’d bought second-hand with the original warranty in the first owner's name, and unfortunately we weren’t able to oblige.  A classic case of “Buyer Beware”.

News from the farm

Farmer Bumpstart has had a bit of a nightmare few weeks, it has to be said, poor chap.  Day after day of wet, cold weather is not what you need when you have hundreds of newborn lambs to care for.  The lambing sheds were literally bursting at the seams, especially when he decided to bring many of them back inside because the weather was just too awful.  I’ve made infinite cups of tea, bowls of soup and fed umpteen lambs myself too and have felt permanently "on call" for weeks.  It will be good when it’s all finished, and they’re out in the fresh air again.

As I write this, we’re waiting for the last 17 to produce, and we’re also waiting for some decent weather, so the fields will dry out, so please do your best sun-dance for us!

Until next time,

Helen x