One year ago Maria and I never would have imagined that May 2018 would be one of the most momentous months of our lives. As From Belo we began the month feeling nervous about attending our first market and we have finished May now being finalists in the prestigious Independent Handbag Awards, in New York.
I am currently sat on a plane struggling to open a bottle of “Green Smoothie”, while writing this, heading to the awards. This is a vision that a year ago we would have been classified as a pipe dream (well apart from the struggling to open bottles – for some reason I have always been useless at this!).
Char at the BELO stall for the "Ethical Brands for Fashion Revolution" event.
I remember being a nervous wreck leading up to the market as I just wanted everything perfect. Although I am apparently a grown up, it can be an utter challenge sometimes not having Maria with me in the UK to hold my hand during these first-time business experiences.
However, I had a great team of family and friends that came to support our dream as well as participating in a market full of amazing people, inspirational people who were all working on their own dreams of ethical fashion.
Belo's question board - getting filled up with lots of great answers!
My biggest advice to any startup fashion/artisan based/creative company is to just get out into markets – even if sales aren’t amazing straight away – the networking is fantastic, plus it really helps with your storytelling.
From attending our first fabulous market we were then invited by the fabulous Krissy B Styling to our second market, “Style yourself Sustainable” – run by the fabulous Rachel Kan. Again, another fantastic and wonderfully organised event that featured not only brands and panel discussions but also workshops to teach sewing skills/how to recycle.
Char at the Suffolk Show - showing off our full collection of bags
Finally, we finished May off with the Suffolk Show, a show I had attended for years with my father and his business when my age was just in single figures (yes…quite a long time ago now!).
This show is quite local to me, so attending was quite a special moment. Prior to the event, From Belo was lucky enough to be featured in The East Anglian Daily Times and The Ipswich Star, with the tale of how/why From Belo started and faces plastered all over the business section.
You sometimes don’t know how publicity is going to go, but I honestly have never had such heart-warming moments, like those I experienced at the Suffolk Show.
Having the local community come and support you and say thank you for what your doing – is something I rarely receive in the NHS and was not expected at all at the Suffolk show.
Thank you to everyone who came and chatted with us – it really made my experience at the show so heartwarming and amazing. Moments like these really help give us the drive to continue on this roller-coaster journey.
Belo - is now a finalist in the international Handbag Awards on June 13th 2018
So now May is over – let's bring on June and The Handbag Awards. Watch this space next Wednesday!
With love from