Its been a busy month here at W&S HQ. We have been enjoying some fabulous photoshoots headed by Fliss who is a bottomless pit of stunning ideas. Between us we are re shooting most of our products over the coming months along with lots of inspiring images of our products in situ to offer inspirational ideas for our customers.
We’ve introduced some new products including highest quality nickel door knobs (British Made) and wooden accessories from Creamore Mill. We managed to re shoot lots of Boot Room items (British Made) and thanks to our fabulous new photos and all this wet weather our sales of welly boot racks and the like have sky rocketed!! View here.
Laura and I have had a fun trip to London to visit the trade shows and were super happy to find some really wonderful new products that suit Willow & Stone down to the ground. This year we are bringing W&S back to basics. We gave ourselves (heavily enforced by Laura) some specific rules – everything we chose needed to fulfil specific criteria: It needed to be more than just beautiful. Was it useful, unusual, traditional? This has been a really successful exercise in careful buying, and considered planning – not something I normally manage!
Much of what we find at the shows goes straight into our Falmouth store rather than reaching the website. We always enjoy meeting with our suppliers – you can spend the whole year communicating via short formal emails so its lovely to put a name to a face and for us to learn more about the products and their background and the lovely people who make and sell them.
We met a lovely lady selling a new design of laundry dryer (view here)
. Her idea is that its perfect for those who do not have a ceiling height to accommodate a classic Sheila Maid (one of our best sellers so room for more we hope!). Her wall mounted design sits easily on two hooks and can fold almost flat against the wall when not in use. If the sun is out you can lift it off the hooks and take outside (in fact why not hang under cover incase it rains! Equally perfect for balcony where space is limited. A somewhat portable product that can be moved indoors or out frequently. They are not ‘cheap’ but they are beautifully made and unlike so much these days they designed to last and be loved.
A young lady had us sold on her collection of Seaweed based seasoning products which are perfect for our coastal location though these guys are from Pembrokeshire in Wales. I nicked a biscuit while we chatted and can confirm that it was inspiring!! They have been selling super well in-store so far.
In fact we also devoured a traditional Italian amaretto each whilst visiting a stand selling lighting. Although they were simply treats at the stand and not for sale, I saved the beautiful packaging and contacted the Italian manufactures on my return. They will be available in store soon and are quite simply to die for!
Books are rather a new area for us. We choose an eclectic mix. We tend to avoid the obvious and prefer either traditional informative books on design and interiors or richly illustrated and well bound books from talented illustrators and writers on gardening, art, interiors, natural history etc.
So many wonderful new Rifle Paper Co Products are coming in too. Prints, recipe cards, a huge collection of greetings cards, pencils and journals. We have a few bits of Rifle online here – the new items will follow.
Nkuku are one of our biggest gift suppliers and we have watched them grow over the years from a tiny stand where we first met them around 7 years ago to the mammoth and beautiful display we enjoy visiting now. Their new offerings are as wonderful as ever but the product range I think is going to be super popular this season are their terrariums. Affordable and beautiful, these hanging gardens require little maintenance or watering and are all the rage this year.
Esmie is a company specialising in incredible hand crafted papers. We’ve carefully chosen a few items to test the waters with including photo albums and guest books in really glorious prints. I'm excited to see the reaction these get in store.
Letterpress match boxes we’ve been coveting for years are now ours! We’ve ordered lots of designs and they all come packed with longer than usual matches which are great for lighting log burners etc. Interesting and unusual gifts ideas for log burner lovers or campers! See a small selection here.
On our return from London we all went to The Hall for Cornwall for a night of entertainment courtesy of comedian Stewart Lee. A brilliant (sometimes bizarre) night. Very very touched that W&S staff presented me with a voucher as a thank you, for the new spa at Merchants Manor in Falmouth. The new proprietor's have done a most fabulous job of the refurbishment of the hotel and feature lots of W&S ironmongery and details throughout. I'm looking forward to visiting the ‘Linen Rooms’ Spa in the next week or two and indulging in one of their incredible treatments. Read more here.
Finally, we are looking forward to our assistant manager Sian’s return from maternity leave in February!