Archive for the ‘Stockists’ Category
Success! InsideOut in Exeter did a fab job of selling nearly ALL of the 50-odd lampshades I supplied to them in April, just in time to receive my new range. And here they are in all their glory… Dandi Flight, Lorenza, Bermuda Stripe, Peacock Feathers, Lacy Grey and Hello Luscious. Hello indeed!
Can you see it? Away in the distance? That wave of red, white and blue coming towards us? Slowly at first, then gathering momentum as people rush to celebrate the Jubilee and the London Olympics. Soon it will crash upon us in a burst of energy. But how quickly will it dissipate and recede?
Ensuring that all things great about Britain are not washed out to sea is a new online shop selling and supporting British design and manufacturing. I’m proud to be selling with Gloriously British – and buyers should feel proud in purchasing high quality British-made goods. Founder of GB, Sophia Armitage, says:
‘GB was born from a belief that us Brits are a supportive bunch who want to purchase British made, UK economy boosting products … this is a gathering place for the quiet heroes; those artists, designers and manufacturers who help to make up the backbone of Britain’s economy … if you buy something made in the UK the money you spend remains in the British economy. Our suppliers are not faceless businesses they’re genuine skilled workers whose ability, passion and expertise is part of what makes Britain great.’
Errors. I make them. My mistakes make my heart clang, my face burn red and my knees go wobbly. Thus my state when I discovered that shipping a shade to Canada was going to leave me quite a bit out of pocket. In the early days I haphazardly guessed International Shipping Rates on Bouf thinking I would never be shipping abroad. Wrong. Shipping to Canada/USA, Rest of World and Australia/New Zealand is not cheap, especially when boxes have to be generous to allow all that protective packaging. Of course, I honoured the postage and Pink Lace Butterfly is currently making its long journey to Edmonton, Canada. With Bouf’s commission and my mistake I am effectively giving this shade away for free… Hey ho. Lesson learned. Onwards!
Live Local, Love Local, Buy Local – should we endeavour to embrace this concept? Can it be done?
It’s difficult. I know. Our village has a monthly market selling local produce and crafts. Aside from selling at it, I rarely visit. Why? I am lured into the convenient world of online grocery shopping offered by the big supermarkets and I loll there. I can shop on my phone from the comfort of my bed for goodness sake! But, it is possible to get the best of both worlds. Popping along to the village market, picking up a few bits and bobs for dinner, buying the freshest of bread and chatting to friends really can’t be beaten. It might be a tad more expensive and a bit bothersome, but as your shopping bag bumps against your leg on the walk home you feel a connection to your community that can’t be had from an app on your phone.
This Christmas past I attempted to buy gifts from small companies or direct from designer-makers in the UK. It was a challenge. Amazon won out, especially when it came to compiling wish lists for the children. But, if you know where to look (and therein lies the challenge) you can find the most marvellous things. I am proud to say that I sell my lampshades with Love-Local – an online retailer specialising in gifts made in Devon, Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire. Here’s some of the best from the sunny South West -
Ice cream colours, duck-egg blue birdies, white cherry blossom, cherry-lipped Russian dolls and rose-laden romantic postcards all peek out of the wide window of Exeter’s Insideout store, catching the bright eyes of passers-by. (D’you know? If I didn’t make them, I’d buy them.)
In my head I am singing ’99 Red Balloons’… do you remember that song? For a while now I have beavering away making this awesome clutch of shades for Insideout – an award winning gift retailer with shops in Exeter, Dartmouth and Tavistock. Having crunched some very crunchy numbers in February, I was more than ready to supply Nicky with wholesale unit prices and was dead excited when she placed an order for 49 of my most marvellous shades. The order includes the new Fly A Kite Ice Cream by Riley Blake, Vintage Yellow Aviary by Joel Dewberry, Trefle Matroyshkas Cream, French Post by Michael Miller and the favourite, June Song Tea by Alexander Henry. The car is packed and I’m ready to deliver tomorrow. I simply cannot wait to see them in the window of the Exeter store, which can be found in the swanky Princesshay area of the city. It’s not often you can buy handmade lampshades like this in a high-street store, and at a very reasonable price. So support Handmade and British and let your friends know!
I’m a lean, mean, lampshade-making machine. Record number of shades made today – I have a big order to fill. Can’t wait to line them all up to show you – they are so, so good. And when I’m not making, I’m on the laptop. My youngest son took these pics of me working – I really like them. My favourite colour? Green.
My world grew this year. It billowed outwards and encompassed a world of new friends and touched lightly on the shoulders of business. With this alone, I am happy. I have been delighted by reciprocated kindnesses and taken aback by other’s selfless generosity. For me, this year has been about people.
I have made and sold over 200 lampshades. Selling via 5 online shops, one bricks and mortar, two pop-ups, a load of markets and fairs, and from my own home. I have supplied wholesale and forged a partnership with an interiors supplier. More on-line shops are lined up for early next year, but they’ll be fewer markets and shows – I have to be pickier. Discovering that my grandfather was a lampshade-maker in the 50s was a joyful surprise. Over 20 people have learnt new lampshade-making skills from me. I have embraced and enjoyed social media, networking, and selling. Lampshades have been ripped apart, sold for peanuts, got squashed in boxes. Pricing and quoting has been difficult (the amount of quotes I’ve given for bespoke lampshades without a reply in response is really quite surprising, and dispiriting). I have got through 12 rotary cutters, 2 steam irons, 2 metal rules, one pair of scissors, 100m of fabric, 50m of PVC, hundreds of ringsets, roll upon roll of tape, corner punched hundreds of compliment slips, price-tagged, listed, and spent many hours ironing! Oh, the ironing. I have grappled with a gazebo, carted around huge boxes, have frozen and fried to a crisp at various markets. I am in profit, and by a decent margin.
What does 2012 have in store? A new range of lampshades. An e-commerce enabled website. A rebrand. Perhaps my own shop on the Gloucester Road, Bristol, for one week only. What would you do, if you were owner at Quincy Lampshades?
My head has not been on the business this week. I have been daydreaming and taking it easy. So much so that I forgot to tell Lois at OurGreenRoom that I’m not available to work this coming week. And when I did? Frantic emails! One of her customers wasn’t going to get the lampshade they’d bought for their daughter as a Christmas gift. Lois was about to buy a lampshade-making kit and have a go herself! I couldn’t let her do it. So with a nasty hangover and not much sleep I drove all the way to Bradford On Avon and made a lampshade in Lois’s front room – all so that lovely lampshade could be given in time. And it felt good. Good that I didn’t try to duck out. Good that I exceeded expectations. Good that I redeemed myself. Good that I made our customers happy. It made me realise that, as a small business, you really do have to go that extra mile. (And there’s no such thing as time off.)
If you love big and bold like I do, but can’t find what you’re looking for in a Quincy Lampshade, may I introduce you to the devilishly divine and phantasmagorical collection from OurGreenRoom. All made by my fair hand, should you decide to plump for heaven over humdrum.