As a small independent brand we often go under the radar of large high street retailers, we aren’t moving in the same circles and even if we tried it is generally hard to grab the attention of a brand already so well established.

However recently, and entirely by luck we did manage to attract the notice of Next, who by chance saw one of our images on twitter and added it to a mood board of theirs highlighting potential new brands to add to their online platform supporting British made labels. We went through to the following stage and the one after and so on, while Next explored the possibilities of using our ties, bow-ties or pocket squares. As it turned out it was the gift sets that caught their eye the most in the end, recently added by us to the new website (as detailed in our previous blog post) and from there we set off on an exciting journey to create several new ones exclusively for them. Four to be precise, two in the groom set style and two in the gift set style, all new prints and freshly coloured ribbed socks. It has been a very interesting process, not just the selection and the final stages of being chosen but everything that comes after that, the order itself and how a brand used to working on such a small scale can cater for something big.

The order luckily was manageable (and luckily our lovely manufacturers could fit it in at short notice) the size was doable and didn’t create too many issues but nonetheless mistakes were made and lessons were learnt! Of course things are more complicated when there is another business involved and in this case there were two as there was another company between us and Next acting as the middle man so to speak. You have more to do and more to answer and you need to be more thorough.

Our issues were rookie mistakes – firstly we needed extra samples made up at the manufacturers for Next to keep on their studio sample boards and to use for their online photography but we didn’t ask our manufacturers in time so we only had the official quantity made up and therefore had to do the photography ourselves, not a major issue (we are used to doing our own photography after all) but it took more time and cost us more and meant our product imagery was late to Next. Secondly the manufacturers ran out of our labels mid way through the order, how did you let that happen I hear you ask and good question! We have had hundreds if not thousands of labels stocked at the manufacturers for our orders over the years and had no idea they had run low, but see what we mean, rookie mistake, always check you have enough labels! Thankfully we were able to get more and crisis was averted.

We loved having this project, it was something new and different for us and challenged us in new and different ways. We learnt to be clearer with everything as you cannot expect other people to understand the significance or importance of orders or quantities or delivery times etc. unless you make it clear yourself. It was strange but cool to be making up items for another company instead of just for our own site, it was unusual for us to be ordering boxes, gift boxes, tissue paper and postcards in bigger quantities for a change and there was a lot of forward planning and organisation but then suddenly everything arrived and the studio was a hive of activity with boxes piled high and sets of socks and ties stacked up, labelled and ready to be packed.

The packing itself was great fun, the four different gift sets came together beautifully, each had its own individual colour tissue paper and gift box within the main box, so its own theme really, with a couple of our postcards thrown in for good measure. Then those gift sets were stamped with our Dancys logo and transferred into big boxes before being swept off to Next HQ. Happy ending all round! Was it stressful? Yes (mainly our own making). Was it enjoyable? Yes. Would we do it all over again? 100%.

Keep an eye on next.co.uk for Dancys gift sets coming soon!