quincylampshades

Archive for the ‘bristol’ Category

Back in December I was unsure about Quincy Lampshades so I cast my net and looked for a paid job. I applied for a post I found via Gumtree – a small Bristol-based business was looking for a customer service assistant. I could do that, no problemo, what with my understanding of ensuring every customer’s happiness, especially when it comes to small business. The reply I received was unusual… I was rejected on the grounds that perhaps I wanted to supply lampshades to them instead! A sign? Or serendipity?

Today, after 8 months (during which time I happily decided to go full-tilt with Quincy), Belle and Boo are now proudly selling beautiful lampshades made by me.

“Welcome to the world of a bob haired little girl called Belle and her adorable bunny friend Boo – a charming world of innocence, warmth and adventure. Belle and Boo is a British lifestyle brand known for original, nostalgic ‘story book’ illustrations of children. The collection includes gift items, books, framed artworks, stationery, home wares and a beautiful collection of girls’ clothing.

Belle and Boo has universal appeal and is available in over 500 stockists worldwide. The collection is loved by grown-ups and children alike, with every treasured product designed to embody all that adults and children love about traditional, old-fashioned story telling.”

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 –

Sherrington Baker Boy Cap

Leather Mini Satchel

Whilst I adore going over to Bath to teach lampshade-making at The Makery and here at my home, I really wanted to bring the course here to my home town of Bristol. Et voila! I will be teaching at the Bristol Folk House on Sat 30th June, 10-1. Be quick – there are 10 places only and it’s extremely good value at just £28.25.

You can have anything you want when you go bespoke… My client wanted to light up her dining room with a huge shade (60cm diameter by 45cm high!!) for her mahogany standard lamp base using a gorgeous fabric by illustrator Heather Moore, a South African designer who runs her own label, Skinny laMinx. The result? Exactly what she wanted – a statement shade that gallops away with style!

Lionheart Magazine is a bi-monthly magazine for those looking for something that reflects their personalities and preferences. Editorial that’s smart, funny, friendly and a little irreverent, together with beautiful design, illustrations and photography. You’ll find craft, fashion, art, interviews and features that are interesting, inspiring and hearty.’

Be sure to buy Lionheart Magazine when you see it, or buy now. Inside you’ll find the heart of a determined woman and many others, mine included. You’ll discover my own surprise discovery – lampshade-making is in my blood.

‘Issue One’s theme is Bravery. Within it you will find creative writing, investigations, craft, fashion and interviews with a host of inspirational people. From design legend Pat Albeck, to Texas based blogger, Bleubird Vintage and Swedish nu-gaze pop duo, I Break Horses. There is also an article written by Cherry Healey, a guide to making your own quilt and pretty cake bunting, as well as an investigation into fearlessness and lifestyle choices and shifts. It comes wrapped up in thoughtful illustrations and dream-like photography, a purring lion heart running through it.’

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?

I used to be an editor. Law and physics were my thing. I was very good at correcting High Court judges and Chinese physicists. Originally, I wanted to be a journalist, but I got sacked six weeks in. My love of books, writing and illustration did not suffer, so when I read of a young woman determined to publish her very own print magazine I offered my support. A bit of proofreading perhaps? But no, Helen Martin wanted my stay-at-home-mum to small-business-owner story. These past months I have followed her progress in awe. This Sunday she launches her very own Lionheart Magazine:

 I wanted to inspire with a collection articles, illustration and photography that will affirm a reader’s sense of belief in themselves and their capabilities in some way … I knew that if I put everything together and made a physical, printed publication into the vision I could see, it could be amazing … My own paper inspiration, I have always kept. Then I tried to do as much market research and go to as many meetings with editors, publishers, stockists … to try and perform this dream, with as much knowledge as possible. Always hanging onto that ethos, so integral to Lionheart Magazine: print, created with no compromises – only a roar in the heart.

Read Helen’s writing here and watch a video here. Be sure to buy Lionheart Magazine when you see it, or buy now. Inside you’ll find the heart of a determined woman and many others, including mine. Or drop in to the launch party, Sun 11th Dec, at 40 Alfred Place, Bristol. I’ll be giving a lampshade-making demo and I’ll have an armful of shades for sale at market price.


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