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A woman in bright red trousers is holding a microphone and talking to a room full of people. Behind her is a stunning huge leaded windor and the walls are all beautifully lined with wood.

Shall we talk?

Did you get many Christmas cards this year?


Every year I see more and more people announce on social media that they won’t be sending  cards but will be donating to charity instead.  I have no issue with the former, but personally I think that if you are going to donate to charity just do so, you don’t need to virtue signal to everyone in your social media following.  But I digress.


I expected that this year I would receive only a  handful of cards, and certainly in the early days of December when there were less than 10 cards on my wall the evidence suggested my prediction was correct.  However, perhaps everyone was  just a bit busier than usual for our card collection was pretty much on a par with last year.


I still send Christmas cards.  Perhaps one day I will give in and send the more environmentally friendly Christmas email, but for the moment I prefer the physical to the electronic.  I have always made my own cards, although last year I  have cheated a little and cut up those I received the year before and stuck them onto cardstock.   The remainder get turned into gift tags.  Perhaps when everyone else stops sending cards I’ll have to stop too!


I read recently that if you can’t put “see you next year” in your card and mean it then perhaps you shouldn’t be send the card at all.  As so  many of my cards go to friends and family across the country and indeed the world, that promise is not possible (and certainly not very environmentally friendly to carry out even if I had the time and the money).  But I think my father would be quite distressed if I failed to send him a card even though my chances of flying out to California every year are quite slim.


The annual card collection, and ideed the circular letters that so often come with them are markers in our year.  More than that, they are glimpses into the lives of our friends, particularly the ones whom we haven’t seen for a long time. Connections.  Every now and then we do manage to catch up and in most cases it is as if we only saw each other last month, only with a lot more news to share.  In those cases where the reunion is less uplifting then in my experience there is less likely to be a sharing of cards in the years to come.

And then there is the other kind of communication, the one that usually chills my blood and has me running to the hills.  Networking.  Perhaps it is too many memories of being the wallflower at school dances that makes me feel that I will be left out, not part of the clique, nobody to talk to, nobody to dance with.


I have recently been accepted onto a growth and investment programme run by Creative UK and was asked if I would like to bring some of my clothes to the Christmas Networking event.  The theme was sustainability so it seemed a no brainer, other than the fact I didn’t want to go!

But go I did and I followed the tips of Networker Extraordinaire Jeni Smith of Net Kno

  • Research the speakers, their interests, publications etc.
  • Have a reason you can’t pull out (I was selling but you could arrange a meeting before or better during the event)
  • Wear something bright (my gold skirt started lots of conversations)
  • Have something you want to know or ask or share.

I had a great evening.  This was like no networking event I have ever been to before and I left with ideas, contacts, collaboration plans and a happy heart.

So I would like to do more of the above.  Meeting people, talking to them, sharing ideas.  I’m just not going to call it networking because I think that word puts the fear of God in most of us.


I want to talk about sustainability in the fashion industry.  I want to talk about what you want from your wardrobe.  I want to talk about what you want from fashion producers.  I want to talk about textile waste and man-made fabrics.    I want to know what you want from me.   I want to talk about where I can get the best coffee and walnut cake.

I’ve not quite worked out how to do this.  Maybe as informal as letting me know if you are passing Brancepeth and have half an hour for a chat over a cuppa or something more formal and giving out a date saying “I’ll be the one wearing a pink hat and tea and cake is on me”.  Maybe we just have a conversation on line via socials or email.  But let’s talk, who knows what we might discover


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