Tuesday, 24 January 2012

24/1: Pin Meet 5 - Report

Here's a short run-down on the pin meet last Saturday at John Lewis, Westfield Stratford City...

This was the fifth time that we have got together as an unofficial meet and each occasion goes from strength to strength. Last Saturday seemed a far cry from the first meeting back in December 2009 when four of us gathered around a table.  Well it did in terms of venue and numbers, but in terms of friendship, a good laugh and some excellent trades, then it was just the same! 

I approached John Lewis about the venue on the day that Westfield, Stratford City opened. This was in response to comments and emails from fellow collectors as well as my own 'Wow' reaction to the concept art for the London 2012 shop in the store. Thanks to Honav's involvement, John Lewis could see the opportunities for using that space to support Olympic collectors.

However, none of the earlier discussions could prepare us for how well both companies had supported us. The room looked magnificent with the views over the Olympic Park and pin frames from Honav set up on display boards at one end of the room. Tables and chairs for the traders at the other end and some cabinets of Olympic merchandise in the middle.

A view of the Stadium Suite at John Lewis
Pin displays

Pin displays and the view across the Olympic Park

I'd asked Honav if they may be able to supply some pin displays to showcase some of their future designs. They were happy to oblige and offered 6 frames of pins showing recent and future retail designs as well as some of the sponsor pins. This was a great opportunity for all of us to see pins we've either never seen before or only ever seen in photographs. More about some of the new pins we saw in future blog posts

One of Honav's pin displays
One of the reasons for wanting to hold the meet in John Lewis in the space connected to the London 2012 shop was to try to encourage new collectors to join us and tempt members of the public to see what pin collecting is all about. To support that, the store had posters printed and made store announcements through the morning to tell shoppers what was going on.
Honav produced a flyer to describe pin collecting to the people that passed by and you can see a copy on the London Pins download page or using this link

John Lewis advertisement for the pin meet
The approach worked because as well as the collectors, we had a steady stream of shoppers taking an interest in the pins and talking to traders. I'm not sure how many we converted into pinheads, but at least there are more people aware of what the hobby is all about.

As for the meet itself, I think it can be described as very successful. We originally had 33 collectors signed up to attend. On the day we lost 6 through work commitments and illness and we hope that these collectors will be able to join us at the next meet.

The turnout was excellent. As well as the 'old-timers' we had lots of new collectors and it was great to see everyone enjoying the trading. It was great to hear that although the first-timers approached with a little hesitation and felt unsure of the pins they had to trade, by the end of the day they had enjoyed their experience, had made some trades and planned to come to the next one. Proof once more that the group warmly welcomes new collectors.

For those of us that have attended before, it was wonderful to catch up with friends and chat through the latest London 2012 pin gossip. I think everyone there made some good trades on the day.

Pin trading in action
In terms of sponsor support, I'm very pleased to say that BT gave us a bag of their 200 day to go pins so everyone received one of those. Cadbury offered a selection of their pins, so they were handed out in a lucky dip fashion based on the first-signed up, first served principle. But sponsor award of the day must go to Lloyds TSB. Not only did a representative of the company attend to meet collectors, but he handed out some of the new silver frosted logo pins, some 1 year to go pins and also the (infamous) diving pin. If any company wants to see how to use pins to promote themselves and create a positive message about the company name - I refer you to Lloyds TSB. Lloyds - we salute you!

On the day, the collectors and traders were joined by two members of the press. Both the BBC London 2012 team and insidethegames.biz covered the hobby and the meet. Their articles can be read using these links

BBC London 2012

So, in summary, a great day and proof that although we started small, the Olympic pin collecting craze is continuing to grow in the UK. There was talk of the next meet and planning has already started. If you're reading this and thinking you may be interested, then please sign up for the next meet. You never know what pins you may walk away with!


noel 9 said...

Great day out. I have learnt a lot from Saturdays successful pin meet. One of the Main things I will take from the get together is I am really going grey these days AND wearing Purple shirts with stripes aint slimming.... and I need to lose a few pounds.

Until Next Time

Pippin said...

Noel, I guess that the coffee bar with all those pain-au-chocolats didn't help much either?

noel 9 said...

I had one expensive cup of coffee only that day. Honest.... I would need to have sold all my pins on emay to afford a cake or a muffin. The only chocie I had on saturday was a Cadburys Spots and Stripes Pin.

Matthew said...

Good job Paul, but then again I wouldnt expect anything less from you, hopefully i can be there next time