Yesterday was our first day at the Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace and what a day it was!
After months of preparation, we set up our new stand in the gardens of the Palace along with some of our fellow Royal Warrant Holders – luckily the sun was shining as the VIP guests poured into the grounds. This was a unique chance to show our products and tell our story to the Coronation Festival guests.
As you know, we hold a Royal Warrant from HRH and have been supplying him and his family with hosiery and knitwear for a number of years. We were excited to be able to present him with a Corgi box of socks which includes a new, specially commissioned range.
As Chris was demonstrating the art of hand-knitting using an original Griswald machine, who should visit the stand later that afternoon but HRH Princess Anne who stopped to chat to us about our new range of socks.
In the evening guests and exhibitors at the festival were treated to the first of a series of gala concerts, staged with the stunning backdrop of Buckingham Palace. It was a wonderful evening which ended with a magnificent performance by fellow Welshmen Only Boys Aloud, conducted by Tim Rhys Evans, and the lovely Katherine Jenkins. Tim told us he was wearing his lucky Corgi socks especially!
When Chris and Lisa arrived at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday there was still a lot of work left to prepare the gardens for the guests that would be attending over the next few days. There were trucks and fork-lifts coming and going throughout the day so Chris and Lisa had to don some rather fetching high-vis vests while they set up and stocked the Corgi stand.
By the time the Festival was officially opened the following day, though, the grounds looked spectacular. With over 200 exhibitor stands, food and drinks outlets, the Gala concert stage and even a catwalk, it was quite a sight to behold.
The Corgi stand
In the run-up to the event we worked with our PR company mela and branding experts Smörgåsbord to design a new stand especially for the occasion. As you know, we recently had some new brand and publicity shots taken so we wanted to make these the focus of the stand.
We also wanted to highlight the fact that many of the products we produce at Corgi are made or finished by hand and so included a 120 years old Griswald knitting machine– one of the originals used to found Corgi back in 1892 – on which Chris and Lisa provided knitting demonstrations across the four days.
The first day of the Festival was reserved for invited guests and press and media and also included a Royal Tour.
We were very excited to welcome HRH The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall to our stand as the first stop on their tour of the grounds. We presented HRH The Prince with a special collection of Regimental Socks that we have been working with him to produce over the past few months (more on this coming soon). HRH The Prince was delighted with the Collection, which represents the regiments and battalions with which he is linked, and the presentation caused quite a media flurry as photographers and cameramen gathered to capture the moment.
Following Prince Charles’ visit Anne, Princess Royal also stopped off at the stand to ask why we hadn’t produced socks to match her regiments yet! Chris and Lisa assured her that they would be more than happy to do in the future.
Besides members of the Royal family, we welcomed numerous other special guests to the stand over the course of the four-day Coronation Festival.
Some of the Welsh Guards volunteered to come and model some socks and even took away a few pairs to wear during their dismount ceremony the following day.
Actor and comedian John Cleese popped by and left with a pair of blue striped socks.
Tim Rhys Evans, Managing director of both Only Men Aloud and Only Boys Aloud is a proud ambassador for Corgi socks and came by to pick up a few pairs. While he was there, Tim was also treated to a live sock-making demonstration by Chris.
We had a wonderful time at the Coronation Festival – it was truly an honour to be part of such a prestigious event. Thanks to Media 10 and Fast Track Agency for organising such a wonderful display of the very best of British PLC.