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Goodbye 2017!

2017 has been a mixed year, but mostly good.  Some things haven’t been mentioned before either on Facebook or Instagram so now that I have a blog, I am going to look back at 2017 and give a general run down of the year.  It’s going to be a long one!

Behind the Scenes …

Although I took on a business unit at Threlkeld Business Centre, near Keswick in 2016 (the Summer in fact), I finally moved the majority of my vintage stock into it during the early part of 2017.  This has enabled me to have my stock all in one place, although there are a few stragglers, and some items are kept in a shipping container and in my garage!

The unit is also my showroom and it is ideally located, with good access to all parts of Cumbria, The Lake District and surrounding counties.  I think I can safely say that I have the largest stock of authentic vintage hire items in Cumbria, and the usual response when couples come to my unit is:  WOW!  Visiting the showroom is by appointment only so please get in touch if you want to view, with no obligation.  This time of year through to late Spring is the best time to come along, as I do not usually have time in the Summer months to make appointments and stock is going in and out and the place gets a bit disorganised (understatement!).

I have had a van for deliveries since May 2015, but it wasn’t until the Summer of this year that I finally got graphics put on.  I contacted four other signwriting companies before I got in touch with A1 Graphics and Applications in Annan.  Of the other four companies two were not interested in the business because they never got back to me despite several attempts at contacting them, and although the other two actually produced designs for me, I felt I could have done better myself!  Ross of A1 Graphics immediately understood what I required and although I probably tested his patience by tweaking things constantly, the graphics were finally applied in July.

I am constantly adding stock, although I am trying to be a bit more careful otherwise I will run out of room at the unit and mine is the second biggest unit at the Business Centre!  New items include vintage rugs, persian rugs, Chesterfield sofa and armchair, Continental style sofa and armchairs, metal barrel hoops (great for floral displays), more mismatched chairs, vintage school chairs (you know the ones … with bent metal legs … a classic!).

I have quite a few vintage pieces that need some work doing on them before they can be hired out and it is definitely a case of so many ideas, so little time!

Another project that took longer than expected was this website.  Thanks to Rebecca of Rebecca Watson Design and Sean of Lake District Web Services for putting up with my constant changes and the longest gestation period of a website ever … it is still not really finished, but at least it is live!

The Brides (and Grooms) …

This year I worked with over 40 brides, supplying vintage hire items to venues across Cumbria, as well as Yorkshire, Lancashire and Northumberland.  Some orders were Hire Only, whereas other involved setting up china, fete games, display ladders, dressing tables, the photobooth, styling table centres, welcome tables, ceremony tables and aisles.  For my larger orders I have help from my friend Jane, who as well as being a farmer, runs Jane Clark Textiles – Workshops and Classes in Embroidery and Textiles.

Although all weddings are special, there was one wedding that stands out for me this year and that was the wedding of my daughter, Sally.  Sally had her wedding at The Lingholm Estate, Portinscale followed by a reception in a Marquee on the terrace outside the main house.  The weather leading up to the day was fantastic (this was the end of May) and luckily for us, was also fantastic up until the time of the reception.  Then we watched the storm move in over Derwentwater and there was a downpour during the speeches and most of the rest of the meal!  However, it was a fantastic day and Wilde & Romantic provided all the vintage china in the colour scheme of white, pink and gold, vintage champagne saucers for the toast, a table for the desserts (all desserts were made by the bride who runs The Yummy Pudding Company), a tea station, fete games, gold sequinned table runners, bird cages for the table centres, whisky barrels as extra tables, a dressing table for the cake and handmade bunting for around the marquee.

 

Champagne Sacuer

Venues …

I have worked at lots of lovely venues this year, with new ones being Simonstone Hall, Hawes, Low House, Armathwaite, Abbey House Hotel, Barrow in Furness, Whitehaven Golf Club, Chequers Hotel, Dalton in Furness.  I am very proud to be a recommended supplier for New House Farm, Blaithwaite House and Three Hills Barn.

Collaborations …

This year saw my first styled photoshoot, organised by Megan from Typical Type and working with the following lovely suppliers:

Tiree Dawson Photography | Brackens of Bowness | Aqua the Salon | Aimee Chorley MUA | Legend Bridal Designs | Neat Creative | More Bakery

The shoot was set at Kirklinton Hall and two themes were covered … French Elopement and a Studio 54 inspired Disco theme.  I provided various vintage props, mainly for the French elopement shoot, plus a few retro items – coloured glassware, Babycham glasses and my own personal metal flamingos for the Disco shoot!

Bicycle

 

Another collaboration is with the talented calligraphy artist, Jilly Liley, of Jill Liley Lettering.  I have a large selection of chalkboards, mirrors, slate pieces, vintage windows and doors to hire and, if required, Jill will add her magic touch and turn them into works of art!

Flowers and calligraphy

Earlier in the Summer I discovered Emma of The Fellside Flower Company, who has set up a seasonal flower growing business on a plot of land to the rear of her house in Long Marton.  In 2017 I will be adding hand-gathered locally grown seasonal flowers as an option with some of my packages and hire items.  For example, flowers can be added to the vintage bicycle baskets, milk churns, metal hoops, chairs, table centres and other vintage vessels and containers.  I am studying for a City & Guilds in Floristry at Newton Rigg and although I will not be trading as a wedding florist, it will be another string to my bow as I continue my personal and professional development to add to my degree in Contemporary Applied Arts (Embroidered and Printed Textiles).

TWIA 2018

I was amazed and honoured to be nominated by a 2017 bride for the Venue Stylist section of The Wedding Industry Awards 2018 – North West region.  I had to submit a personal statement and images and following voting from lots of my 2017 couples, I was excited to discover I had been shortlisted and then went to the Regional final in Manchester in November where, to my complete surprise, I won!  The next step is the Final at the Cafe de Paris, London later this month and the train and hotel have been booked (along with cat sitters!).

The Future …

Tomorrow (1 January 2018) is the third anniversary of the business.  It has been the biggest learning curve of my life and I have had quite a long life, being of a certain vintage myself.  The business all started because my eldest daughter, Katy, wanted a vintage wedding and not being able to hire the items I wanted locally, set out to buy everything!  This is not something I recommend now, of course!  Everything (and more) has been ploughed back into the business but I am hoping that the next couple of years will be the turning point … I just need to stop buying more stock!

Happy New Year!

Janet xx

 

 

 

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