I must admit after winning Theo's prize retweet back in August 2014, I never knew what to expect. I had never attended an #SBS event before and since I would be doing this on my own, I was feeling a little apprehensive to say the least.
I arrived on the Thursday night of the 29th January and stayed at the Hampton by Hilton in Birmingham, which was well situated near to the International Conference Centre where the #SBSEVENT2015 was being held. The weather travelling up was not great and before setting off I wondered whether I was doing the right thing. That night I chatted to a few lovely people in the lounge of the hotel and proceeded out for a meal with other #SBS winners that evening. I decided to have a fairly early night with the long day ahead the next day.
Friday 30th January and my first #SBSEVENT will always be special to me, the nerves subsided and I was so impressed by the entire day. As expected Theo and his other contributors were simply amazing, the work that must get done behind the scenes is simply astonishing and lots of credit must got to the Sponsers and of course Theo Paphitis. He is a remarkable man. I was amazed at how much effort and time he gave to the question and answer session. My hope next year will be to have the confidence to ask a suitable question.
After the question and answer session, I noticed a queue starting to build, this was the queue to have the picture taken with Theo. I entered this queue when the questions ended. The line at that stage stretched way back but the wait was worthwhile. While waiting I was simply amazed by Theo's patience, he must of been a few hours having his picture taken with fellow winners. After I managed to get to the front of the queue I gave Theo a book on Longitude and a brochure of our website Pendulum of Mayfair Ltd . He clearly took everything in and realized it was a book about marine chronometers that we sell and restore in our London antique clock shop. Luckily it was a very apt present as he has a couple of chronometers of his own he told me. Hopefully it will now be in his bookshelves back at his home and he will have had opportunity to glance through the book. After having my picture taken with Theo I was so nervous, I nearly managed to leave my phone with the lovely lady who volunteered to take some extra pictures with it. The day ended and I will certainly be coming again next year.
On reviewing the entire day, everything was perfect, and all speakers were great. As a person passionate for this country my only wish for next year is to maybe hear from a few company's on the stage that have made a success of manufacturing and selling things built in Britain. Unless I am mistaken all the contributors with the exception of Theo himself who supports British made goods through #SBS and other avenues, have managed to build a business through importing products made overseas in the main.
We have built our family antique clocks business in the UK and all our items are restored here in our own workshops. Our staff are trained in-house straight from school, and they come from the local area. British craftsmen learning a trade for life. My wish over the coming years is that we put the 'Made in Britain' labels back in abundance on the highstreet and do not mind paying extra for it. How can it be correct for companys to import cheaply from places like China with no minimum wages while we have to pay these in our country. We have of course benefited through cheaper prices but we have lost many great British manufacturing firms along the way.