I am proud to announce the newest addition to the Helena Pielichaty backlist is now available in the shops. Well, ‘shop’ to be precise – it’s a niche product, this one. This shop is no ordinary shop; you won’t find it on every high street in England. To visit this shop you have to visit the fine town of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire. I recommend you arrive by train because then you get to see the magnificent railway station built in 1847 by James Pigott Pritchett and you don’t want to miss that. As you step out into the grand St George’s Square (you don’t want to miss that, either) you can say hello to the statue of Huddersfield born and bred Harold Wilson. Harold (Lord Wilson of Rievaulx to give him his Sunday name) was Prime Minister from 1964 – 1970 and again from 1974 to 1976. Other famous Huddersfield folk (statues pending) include Sir Patrick Stewart and poet Simon Armitage.
Having patted Lord Wilson, look straight ahead of you. In the distance you will see the soaring white arches of the John Smith’s Stadium, home of the mighty Huddersfield Town. Head straight for those arches. Now, when you arrive on Stadium Way you have a few choices. You could drop in to Costa or visit the cinema but I’d advise you go straight to the Stadium Megastore. Here you will find merchandise galore in the soothing blue and white colours of Huddersfield Town. Shirts, hoodies, scarves, teddy bears, tea, duvet covers, car mats, stickers, pens – you name it, the store stocks it. I guess it’s like all the other football clubs’ stores, only way better, of course.
Besides, what the Town Megastore has that the other stores don’t have is THIS:
Design© Mandy Stanley illustrator
How gorgeous is this?Baby Football Fan™ came out of an idea I had when visiting Huddersfield Town’s Megastore ahead of a match a couple of years ago. While there was a lot of merchandise for babies in general, there was nothing in book form. When my two babies were born I’d enjoyed filling in a scrapbook containing details such as how much they weighed, their first words and all those other milestones parents get gooey about. So I thought, what if I took that idea and gave it a twist, by tailoring the book for Huddersfield Town, the club I support? Not only would the book include baby’s details but also the details of what was happening at the club the year the baby was born. Genius!
I took the idea to Sean Jarvis, the commercial director at the club and he was as enthusiastic as I was about the idea. He gave me permission to use the club’s crest and branding, something I needed to make the book instantly recognisable to the fans. This was a massive bonus – without permission the book could not have gone ahead as it wouldn’t have had the strong identity it needed. Sean’s support throughout the project has been brilliant and I can’t thank him and Luke Cowan, the retail manager, enough.
Sean Jarvis, Commercial Director at HTAFC (left) and Luke Cowan,Retail Manager, with their world exclusive editions
I then chatted about the idea to my friend, Hilary Robinson. Not only is Hilary a children’s writer (you might have seen her ‘Mixed Up Fairy Tales’ illustrated by Nick Sharratt), she also runs a small publishing firm called Strauss House Productions. She gave me lots of sound advice and even offered to publish the book. On top of that, she put me in touch with Mandy Stanley, an award winning illustrator, who agreed to do all the artwork. Hilary also found a cracking printing firm in Sheffield – Northend Print Solutions – and voila – we were good to go.
A few months down the line and here we are. Huddersfield Town Baby Football Fan is now on sale in Huddersfield Town’s two Megastores. All I need now is for Huddersfield Town fans to have lots of babies and buy the book. It’s £20, so it’s not cheap, but it is a quality product, it won’t date and it’s something parents will keep forever.
The book on the shelves alongside all the other baby products. It’s currently right by the entrance to the John Smith’s Stadium store. Get in!
I am hoping other clubs will want their own edition of the Baby Football Fan™ brand. How splendid would it be to have one in every major club’s colours? I mean, it would be rude to keep such tremendous idea to myself, wouldn’t it? Spread the word, people. Spread. The. Word.
Huddersfield Town Baby Football Fan™ ‘My First Year’ is available exclusively through the HTAFC Megastores and online here.
Any major clubs wishing to find out more about having their own editions of Baby Football Fan™ contact me by e-mail on: firstname.lastname@example.org