You have found the blog section of Vintage Bluebird Gifts and Interiors. This section is filled with news from the latest and greatest things that are happening in home interiors and the design-led gifts market. We will keep you up to date on any changes and updates with Vintage Bluebird and our friends. We will also endeavour to keep you informed on what is happening in Ashbourne, Derbyshire where we have our home so you can decide the best time to pop in and visit us.
Before bidding everyone a Happy New Year there is an inevitable time of reflection on the outgoing year. The weather was awful and the economic climate dire but despite this (one way or another) Vintage Bluebird survived and prospered throughout the year and we head into 2013 stronger for the experience.
It is now 15 months since we relocated to Ashbourne and this move has been the making of us. I was asked recently by Derbyshire Life magazine to comment on the town and the first remark that sprang to mind was that Ashbourne is probably the friendliest town in the country. A bold statement based on pure unashamed opinion. But a statement I will intend to stand by for the foreseeable future. Imagine a town where people say ‘hello’ to you in the streets, where people make efforts to shop locally and support the town, where there is a strong voluntary community network and where strangers are treated as friends we have only just had the pleasure of meeting. This is my biased opinion of Ashbourne. Of course there are tensions; but tension can be the glue that binds us as well as the force that threatens to tears us apart.
On this final point Ashbourne in its dim and distant history created a novel solution to resolving any niggling tensions. The whole town congregates each year on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday and plays a football match involving around 3,000 or more participants. One half of the town verses the other separated by nothing more than the side of the river Henmore you were born on. There are very few rules except commonsense gamesmanship to keep the match flowing (such as not introducing a fake ball or committing common law murder) but outside of this the game is a no holds barred example of mob football. The excitement is already mounting for this year’s game, the beautiful colourful cork and leather balls are receiving their finishing touches; and scores and vendettas will be settled over the two days of play in this most cathartic of exercises. The town will then be carried forward into another year on the shoulders of the spirit of Shrovetide Football and all talk will be of what happened during this years match.
As for us; we will board up our windows on Saturday night and re-open on Thursday after the match has run its course. Shrovetide Football is not much of a spectator sport or a time to do any business; these two days belong to the players, the people of Ashbourne. And when we re-open we do so safe in the knowledge that everyone shook hands, had a drink and put their tensions and troubles behind them. This years match takes place on 12th and 13th February.
Great to report back into the blog that a small project has really taken off now for Vintage Bluebird Gifts and Interiors.
Since we opened the shop back in April last year we thought that personalised gifts would always be a great string to our bow. Gillian started making personalised bunting as a result and we get a good number of orders each month and are getting regular repeat orders. Usually the bunting is made for Children as something a bit different to give for Christenings and birthdays. We can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to know more, get a quotation or place and order. The website will be updated in a few weeks so we can sell the bunting online.
So with this success story we started to look at other things we could make and a chance conversation with an upholsterer got me thinking about lampshades. The problem is always that you have to take a guess on what to stock. So you’re always guessing which size, which fabric and whether the shade is to hang from a pendent or to sit on a table or standard lamp. So the solution is to have all the fabrics and all the lampshade rings and to then make the shade to order once the customer has made their decision. And as it only takes about 30-40 minutes to make a shade from start to finish it is no less inconvenient for the customer than say, getting some keys cut. We still have some shades on the shelf for people to walk out of the shop with but they really are just samplers now.
There are also some further and exciting opportunities that have been borne out of this project. We are can offer to make the lampshade from a fabric of the customers choosing, so as long as we are provided with enough material then a shade can be made. We can offer tutorials in making lampshades so that eventually we will be able to hold classes or parties where people can try a new a different skill. There is an element of trial and error to getting a perfect result so we can help teach how to make the perfect shade. We are also going to sell lampshade making kits through the shop so that if somebody just wants to ‘go it alone’ or requires just the minimal advice and assistance then we can help.
Until the next blog…
This Sunday Neil and Gillian from Vintage Bluebird will be making their annual pilgrimage to Pulse at Earls Court London. This will be the second time we have visited the show and so much has changed in the intervening year. The shop has moved to its new home in Ashbourne, the handmade lampshades and personalised bunting service (in-house only at present) has started taking off and the website continues to grow. Our visit to the show is to decide which suppliers we are going to work with as we will be adding jewellery to our offering in the next few weeks.
Pulse is the summer’s largest design focused retail gift and lifestyle show and the only one that takes place in London. There are nearly 500 wholesale suppliers broadly covering gifts, home wares, fashion accessories and wellbeing. There is a further part of the show called launch pad where exhibitors showcase new and innovative products. We love this show because you tend to get the smaller and independent suppliers showcasing their wares. The show also gives us the opportunity to broaden our offering ahead of the summer season.
The organisers of Pulse anticipate upwards of 7,000 visitors this year making the show a key opportunity for many suppliers to meet with the retailers. The show is also a bellwether for sentiment within our sector of the economy. Both fellow traders and exhibitors alike giving strong indications of what the current climate is like and whether prevailing sentiment is positive or otherwise.
So all being well we will have a fantastic offering of jewellery for our customers by the end of the day on Sunday. Buying at shows really is one of the pleasures of running a retail outlet like Vintage Bluebird because when all is said and done we are all really buyers at heart.
Repeat Repeat is an Award Winning contemporary design company which began in Stoke-on-Trent England, as collaboration between designers Gillian Naylor and Mark Faulkner.
After the success of their first tableware range in 1985, Repeat Repeat continued to design and manufacture contemporary and original tableware, combining traditional local craft methods and modern industrial processes. Each piece of bone china is individually hand decorated with a printed ceramic transfer and selected pieces are finished with skilful hand painting.
Repeat Repeat is a significant player in the up swell of pottery design and manufacture in the Potteries area of Staffordshire. Described by the people at Top Drawer buyers show as the Stoke Renaissance the UK is showing its’ teeth once again when it comes to the design and manufacture of fine bone china.
Vintage Bluebird Gifts and Interiors are proud to sell Repeat Repeat products online and through our shop in Ashbourne, Derbyshire. Take a look at the Frida, Silhouette and Sketchy range of mugs in our online shop