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2016 International Spring Fair

The numbers are yet to be crunched and figures properly analysed, but the response so far from the 2016 Birmingham International Spring Fair has been very encouraging.

A chat with the team on the Nemesis Now stand, where they had released the new range of Bad Taste Bears material for the first time to the trade, revealed that retailers still hold the brand in high regard and the feedback was very positive.

Pete Underhill visited the stand on several occasions during the five day trade show and was thrilled to hear passers-by point out the range and stop for a closer look. He even had to have his photograph taken with one particularly enthusiastic young lady.

Pete Underhill gets emotional and reaches for the tissue!

With development of new material seriously underway in time for subsequent release dates, things are looking very exciting indeed.

Before the 2016 Spring Fair opened, Pete Underhill, the creator of the Bad Taste Bears, made this statement on social media:

“As Oddco were leaving the scene, they hooked me up with Nemesis Now who were keen to work with me to develop a whole new angle to the Bad Taste Bears. It was obvious that a different approach was required to introduce ursine misbehaviour to a new generation. Over the years, the retail climate changed which quietly and very gradually saw the Bad Taste Bears slip away from the High Street. This meant fewer fresh encounters as people spotted and reacted to seeing them in shop windows, so the dynamic shifted. Every business needs fresh faces, new blood. The generation which was yet to encounter the bears simply wasn’t being introduced to them.

Nemesis Now have a massive and broad understanding of the gift market, so when they proposed taking the Bad Taste Bears beyond the display cabinet to take up functional roles in everyday life, it made perfect sense. What followed was months of meetings, sketches, discussions and visuals, suggestions and sculpts, culminating in the range which finally ready to march out into the High Street (online too, of course).
On Sunday 7 Feb 2016 in Hall 4 Stand C30 of the International Spring Fair at the National Exhibition Centre near Birmingham, the new range will be introduced to the retail trade. 
I’m so excited, and a little bit nervous.

One interesting aspect of this experience was bringing it home to me how lazy I’d become. In working with the same team for two decades, I’d come to take for granted that each stage of taking my idea through to the final product, knew precisely what to do, understood what the bears are about, how they look and behave. A simple fifteen minute pencil sketch of mine fed into the ‘mechanism’ at one end would plop out at the other end a fully formed, marketable, packed nugget of naughtiness.
And here I was, passing my baby into the hands of an entirely new team. 
Consequently, I needed to show how this thing worked, what it looked like from each angle, the colours, the texture, the subtleties that I crave and had previously received. This forced me to not merely whip out a pencil and dash off a sketch and fling it into ‘the BTB machine’, I was forced to review, refine, consider and most of all, not assume “Ah, it’ll be fine!”.
Where a product like a figurine would previously leap from my page within minutes, I’m investing much more in the early stages, tweaking and tuning forms to fulfil their role and in doing so, I’m arriving at a better, fully formed concept which pretty much defines its own path through the manufacturing process. 
Yes, I’d got lazy, but this new energy I’m instilling in the work, and that it has given back to me, is invigorating.
Furthermore, as this initial wave of new Bad Taste Bears material is about to hit the stores, we are most of the way to finalising the second phase, and I’m loving every minute of it!

To everyone who has lived this experience with me, thank you so much for your support and enthusiasm – Stay Naughty!”

Pete Underhill