A few years ago I had a phone call, from the Beach Shack Cafe in Sandown .
They were expanding their restaurant, to make an indoor area and were knocking down a disused toilet block to do so.
When they started, they stumbled on another little closed off section and when they opened it, there were LOADS of deckchairs hiding inside.
They had been stored there in the 1950's, the door had been closed and they had been forgotten about.
Total treasure chest of fabrics. They hadn't seen the light of day for a good 50-60 years, so the canvases were still as bright as they had been in their beach days.
Really old rare fabrics, in stripes that don't exist today.
We took them all away, washed them back and made some of our more vintage limited edition bags.
Added over on the Etsy shop, original Isle of Wight deckchair canvases, in unique stripes.
Totally sourced and sewn here on the Island. Full circle.
[enter code 'provenance17' at checkout, for 10% off your order over on Etsy]
book at the beach shack h e r e
This week has been a bit challenging
As those of you who have been following this little business for a while will know, when we first started, there wasn't really much in the way of up cycled products available.
Now up cycling is most definitely a more widely used term. As is ethical, sustainable, circular economy, to name a few. Don't get me wrong- thats AMAZING.
This is really good news, as obviously it means that more and more fabrics and items are being saved from landfill and made fit for purpose again.
The up cycling process is labour intensive. VERY labour intensive. But necessary.
Unfortunately, as with most things that become popular or on trend, the buzz word of 'up cycling' is now being used by certain newer brands, when in fact, the materials they use, were NOT intended for landfill.
THIS IS NOT ETHICAL
We worked for a very long time [YEARS], to establish and forge new connections and relationships to allow us to build a sustainable supply chain.
It is ENTIRELY transparent.
As consumers, stockists, retailers, sales representatives, makers, we always need to be asking for that transparency. That truth.
I would like to thank all of you who have bought or stock our bags and also for remaining loyal to us, when it would appear that we are now being imitated.
We have never spent lots of money on PR or branding.
The main focus has and ALWAYS will be, the saving of fabric from landfill. However, some have the funds to make themselves widely known, so may be mistaken for the original [this actually happened to us this week- its very frustrating]
It would make much more sense to work together, sharing fabrics and respecting each others work. Unfortunately, some businesses are very much businesses in the monetary sense of the word and that can make them very shortsighted.
Hopefully this will change. Soon.
I would just politely ask one thing of anyone reading this, [hopefully it may have some effect]
...look for the original, ask the questions. In the meanwhile, we're gonna keep our heads down and continue to save and repurpose as much fabric as we can, whilst bringing you the best quality, fresh products- in a quiet way.
No bells or whistles, no fancy branding or blowing of trumpets.
Thanks for reading, Gx
We are really pleased to reveal our latest series of bags as part of our Island Collaboration project.
Tony Trowbridge is a locally renowned, prolific artist, who works with paint and stencils to create his individual style.
We have worked with Tony, to create a limited edition series of tote bags, each one hand painted, with a unique, stencilled design, onto recycled trampoline canvas [sourced from Margate in Kent]
As Tony's work can be seen predominantly around the Isle of Wight as part of the fossil art trail, it made sense for the profit of each bag, to be donated to a local cause.
We spoke to Kathy Grogan, Education Officer for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust , about the Wildbeach Project in the bay, who explained how they are making use of the resources we are lucky enough to have on our doorstep
"Our Wildbeach Project is all about connecting children, families and schools with the coastal environment of the East Wight, providing access and repeated visits through learning programmes, family events and training"
So when you purchase your up cycled tote bag, [either online or EXCLUSIVELY at The Beach Shack, Sandown], not only are you the proud owner of a bespoke piece of local artwork, but you are also contributing to a very worthy cause- full circle!
See all the collaborative tote bags h e r e
We have just entered the Etsy 'Difference Makes Us' contest running at the moment, to help grow our little bag business...
We would use the funding to increase the visibility and audience of Wyatt and Jack and the work we're trying to do, as well as introduce some new products we have been developing recently...
Any help would be VERY much appreciated!!
Please like/ share this post and/or the voting link- every teeny tiny vote helps us LOADS!
Thanks so much for your continued and valued support!
As part of the Instagram March Meet The Maker challenge, this blog post is to introduce myself.
Im Georgia, founder and director of Wyatt and Jack.
Ive been running W&J for around 7 years now, [formerly known as Jamtarts and Tractors], until I was fortunate enough to receive investment, both privately and from the IOW Chamber of Commerce, which allowed me to rebrand as Wyatt and Jack [both of which are family names, relevant as its very much a family run company]
It started when a friends father [an IOW beach concessionaire], asked me to remove some PVC covers from some 1970's sun beds.
It was bright yellow fabric, with 'FOR HIRE' written across the top. I loved it and couldn't part with it, so i made myself a bag...someone saw it, so i made them a bag... and so it went on...
It was then I realised that at the end of each season, there was a lot of this fabric being thrown away. Often at expense to the concessionaire as they were having to pay the council...
I like a road trip, so i sought out the beach concessionaires from around the coasts of the UK and collected up as much fabric as i could...
I love my job. Sometimes its tricky to switch between roles and i hadn't really envisaged myself as a company director, anyway.... this video better explains what i'm banging on about...
nice to meet you and thanks for supporting the bags
I've written this before, not in such detail and not in such a personal way...but i think this is the time...
Ive definitely said before, that i wasn't a 'business woman'. Certainly not one of the power dressing- shoulder padded- devil-wears-prada types....
-and I'm not now. but i am a woman in business-and I've had to make some changes. I've had to be confident in my decision making and stand behind it. I've had to get up from various knocks- I've thought about walking away from the bags many many times... but i can't.
Its not an option. This is the 7th year of making them and its growing. In order for it to grow and still maintain the ethos that i cling onto so desperately, we need an high street outlet, with passing trade.
Everything is made here on the island, in the Bembridge workshop and people are gradually becoming aware that is the case.
Over Christmas last year, we were invited to take part in an ethical popup, based in Soho London.
There are a couple of Wyatt and Jack bag stockists in London- but this was Christmas and slap bang in the heart of the smoke.
So the bags sold out. Again and again. I couldn't believe it.
Afterwards, it was clear that as soon as they were put in front of a large audience- they sold in large quantities.
At the moment, I've reached a crossroads. Its been close to the wire the last couple of months, i'll be honest.
So whats next? Well as anyone who has come into contact with anyone who owns or runs a business will tell you, you have to take risks. All the time. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't, but i believe the risk we [and hopefully you, as our loyal supporters] are taking now, is a calculated one, that will certainly pay off and allow the business to grow in the organic way it needs to.
Based on the success of the product in SoHo over Christmas, the next logical step that i can see, is to have our own little shop, in a central part of London, for a limited amount of time.
Obviously, as a relatively small company, battling with cashflow as all small businesses do, it would be nearly impossible for me to find the funds up front to enable this to happen.
So here i am, putting forward a project, to help set up a Wyatt and Jack London Pop Up shop.
The money will go towards stocking the shop, staffing the shop and all the things that surround that.
The outcome will be that we create increased and centred brand awareness and enough sales and leads to enable us to move forward, with the end result of continuing to save this fabric from landfill, securing our transparent supply chain and, eventually, creating employment here on the IOW.
Obviously we want to give back as much as we can to everyone who can help us support this project.
Every pledge of £25 or more will see your name across the store in vinyl
£100 -£200 will receive a personalised embroidered tote of your choice
£200 + will receive a day in the workshop, here on the island, watching and taking part in the processes and taking away your own finished bag
£500 + will receive ALL of the above
Many thanks for your support and please share this post if you can- it all helps us to achieve our goal!
Help us reach our target H E R E
T H A N K Y O U