quincylampshades

Posts Tagged ‘fabric

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last one of these sold today. I made it at my kitchen table this morning and it was at the post office by this afternoon, ready to begin its overnight journey to a lovely customer in London.

This was a really popular lampshade, especially with parents buying for their children’s rooms. So why did I allow it to sell out? Because, quite simply, I didn’t buy enough of the fabric and it has now gone out of print. In my search for more I found that crafting cottons such as these have ‘seasons’ – they are printed for one season only and are usually in the shops for just one or two years until they sell out. It’s very rare that they are reprinted. Sigh. So, next time I see something I love I’m just going to buy a load of it, then keep my fingers crossed that you guys love it too! Another lesson learned. Wave goodbye to our friend the Owl…

 

Lampshade making is about to hit daytime TV! Anna Ryder Richardson will be demonstrating how to make a lampshade on the Alan Titchmarsh show on Fri 27th Jan at 3pm on ITV1. If you fancy having a go yourself, there are places available on my excellent morning courses at The Makery, where you can also buy all the materials you need to make more gorgeous lampshades at home, at very reasonable prices. Or you can always do one-to-one tuition with me at my home near Bristol. (Contact me) Here’s what a recent student of mine said:

Thank you so much for your tuition today, especially in the comfort of your lovely home.  I really enjoyed the one to one tuition as it was easier to focus on each task and to ask questions; and to go at my own pace.  I’m sure I could never have produced such a lovely lampshade otherwise!  Thanks for the inspiring chat about fabrics too.

Who is the Scottish Silent Quincy Lampshade Maker? Take your vote below!

I can’t claim that I have made every single lampshade by myself – in fact, 99% have been made with the help of my husband. He is silent because he has no Internet presence whatsoever. He is the maker because he helps me roll the second ring on to every PVC/fabric panel. The job is much quicker that way. But who is the Scottish Silent Maker? Take your vote below…

Mollie Makes has a great fabric fortune cookie tutorial over on their blog in honour of the Chinese New Year. If you want a different method, there’s a great one by Megan at Brassy Apple, which I blogged about last year. I use a modified version of Megan’s technique, using my trusty hot-glue gun and pipe cleaners. Every Quincy customer receives a fortune cookie with their order and I always have a stack of them to give away at markets and fairs – they are great conversation openers and act as samples for customers to match up fabrics to their home decor. Plus they are keepsakes for customers to remember my name. I still love making these little favours, especially when I need some encouragement in business. The fortunes, even though I know them off by heart, often give me a kick up the bum and make me do a double take.

Yesterday I visited two trade shows, both at Earls Court London – Top Drawer Spring and Home. Top Drawer showcases design-led gifts, lifestyle and fashion accessories for 2012, whilst Home was all about new homewares and interiors accessories. Both of these huge bright spaces were packed with really exciting stuff – like the bestest, most loveliest shop you have ever, ever seen. Trouble being that, as an individual, you cannot buy! These shows are for retail buyers – people who decide what’s going to be sold in the shops. As an exhibitor you’re there to show off your product and pick up as many orders as you can.

If I hadn’t had a list of people to meet, products to see and a car parking limit, I could have spent a long, long time wandering the aisles. Some booths were small and peppered with a select range of the exhibitor’s products. Other spaces were huge and set out like shops, full to bursting. Each space was brilliantly lit and tendered by the designer-maker themselves or by the brand’s representatives. It was the designer-makers who caught my attention – I recognised the fascination on their faces as they watched the visitors eyeing up their wares. I recognised the nerves, the hard work, the attention they gave to each and every enquiry made  – after all, this person could be placing the big order they went there to get!

I learnt some lessons –

  1. Must get business cards printed and carry them at all times (I introduced myself to some gorgeous fabric designers, including Thornback & Peel and Abigail Borg, but had nothing to give them).
  2. Must be more confident with business/trade/retail terminology (I must know what I am talking about).
  3. Do not attempt a trade show for another few years (I must have absolute confidence in my product, brand, business direction and ability to fulfil orders to stand tall in this very polished environment).
  4. Continue to use social media to follow through with contacts (a Facebook mention, a Like and Twitter follow reminds them of me and keeps me up-to-date with their work).
  5. It’s all in the detail. I will start using 12mm tape for the ring set rolling.

So, best of luck to Caroline from Warbeck and Cox, who I finally had the pleasure of meeting, and who found herself in the ‘Spotted’ section of the show – hurrah! (See our collaboration below.) And Lush Designs, whose work is truly luscious and who was just too busy taking a massive order for me to say hi! Take a look at their stand here.

It’s still odd to see Quincy Lampshades ‘out there’ in the big wide world. From a roll of PVC propped up in my hall and a bashed up box full of fabric, these lovely lampshades materialise at my kitchen table and are stored in my spare room. From my little brain ideas arise whilst my fingers furiously tap at my Apple mac. And here they are – nestled among terrific things. Take a goosey gander at the Blog&Buy Christmas Showcase. Tweet me, Facebook share. I could win a prize.


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