This weekend [sat 22nd and sun 23rd June], we will be touting our wares at the Brading Artisan Craft Market at Rectory Mansion [old waxworks]
click here for more details, opening times and directions
Psssssttt: if you can't make it click HERE to shop our 30% off sale items
We've just opened a BRAND NEW sale shop, over on Etsy.
Every couple of months there will be various discounts across various products... HOWEVER, to celebrate our GRAND OPENING, theres 30% off across ALL PRODUCTS in store
We're also running a 'BUY ONE GET ONE HALF PRICE' offer on our Block Colour Totes
Enter code 'one for a friend' at checkout
Im not one for a quote really... its not my thing
I always think its patronising when i walk around shops and see bits of wood carved with instructions on how you should live, or how quietly mad your family are... ANYWAY, on this occasion, it seems appropriate.
Growing up i never saw myself as 'one of the girls'. My boobs were always the smallest, i couldn't put make up on without bearing more than a slight resemblance to Tim Curry circa Rocky Horror, so i threw myself into sport and automatically thought that most girls didn't want me around anyway...
It was only on a friends hen night LOADS of years later, that she told me they really wanted me to spend more time with them... so my shyness had come over as being aloof!! unbelievable.. all those misunderstood years
I had a minor operation yesterday. Just a day surgery job. But it reminded me of those days.
The same women i had been sitting opposite in the reception a couple of hours earlier, were all now lined up behind half drawn curtains, alongside me, together, without make up, or jewellery and all of us sporting the very glam post-operative gown [this i believe is all the rage in paris]
Nothing to hide behind. All pretty vulnerable.
It got me thinking.
Running a business, being women, we are very rarely able to show our vulnerability. We have to be 'ball breaking', 'hard hitting' competing in what really still is a 'mans world' and sometimes, going head to head with each other.
But you know what. In that ward yesterday, all of us women, at our most vulnerable together, sharing stories and a few tears- there was a hell of a lot of power in that room.
Women leaning on each other, helping each other in what was for some, if not all, a difficult time, for one reason or another.
So, yeah, real Queens, they fix each others crowns.
They help each other up, they remember that behind our masks of makeup or carefully chosen outfit, we are all women, doing as best we can.. and instead of beating each other down, or comparing ourselves, we need to be solid in the fact that we are not in competition with each other- we are all the same- and we have LOADS to offer one another
A HUGE thank you to Reloved Magazine for featuring our vintage deckchair canvas tote bag in the 'outdoor adventures' section of this months issue
We feel very honoured to be in such great company!
Get yours H E R E
I read an article recently, about the effect 'Parents Who Work' has on children.
I [like many of others I'm thinking], battle on a daily basis, with the guilt that comes alongside working hard and being a parent.
As an online business specifically, trying to build a brand, the face of the business more often than not- is not a true reflection of the mechanics behind it. Of course it isn't, it can't be, [not entirely, despite Instagram trying to fool us all otherwise!]
Theres a certain order that we undertake at the workshop and it happens to be one of my lesser favourites. The bags in question are VERY labour intensive and a logistical nightmare, but they serve a useful purpose for the client and mean that large swathes of PVC and vinyl are saved from landfill.
This particular order, more than any other, keeps me away from my children for longer periods of time than i like.
For ages and ages I felt really guilty about working so hard trying to build Wyatt and Jack. That maybe I should take a more 'normal' job, with hours more fitting for family life.
I don't think this guilt falls just with mothers either- I'm sure fathers feel the burn to just as greater extent...
But then i realised something [whilst swearing at another broken needle, unwound bobbin or unhelpful dispatch company] My kids wouldn't have it any other way!
Both of my children realise [well,I say realise, the 3 year old just repeats 'mummy saves bouncy castles when they die] -that in order to do a job you like doing [because, lets face it, you're gonna spend a LOT of time doing it!] You have to put the hours in and you have to LOVE it. Like, REALLY love it!
Theres a lot of people to thank around me on a daily basis when it comes to support networks. My partner, my parents, extended family, my kids friends' parents, a supportive school, an understanding nursery, but you know what, the people i REALLY want to thank the most [because i definitely don't do it enough...] are my KIDS.
For being a constant source of positivity and keeping me in the present. For pushing me to continue with Wyatt and Jack by asking questions like: 'what about the fabrics mum?! They will just be thrown away!! or 'But you told us never to give up if you believe in something- so you can't!' [i know right?! thats annoying!!]
But most of all for understanding that I wouldn't be the person that i am if i DIDNT do what I'm doing with the bags. Also for rewarding long days with huge cuddles and cups of really badly made tea.
It makes me realise that all the time Ive been feeling guilty, I may have been accidentally instilling a work ethic, giving them an example [of sorts] of what may happen if you really stick to something you want to do.
Ha! Who woulda thought it?! Me, an EXAMPLE!!
Perhaps I'm not such a shit parent after all. Maybe none of us are!
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