Posted on 18 October 2015
Hello everyone! This week I wanted to tell you about something I take very seriously, and work very hard at trying to achieve - 'Keeping it Fresh'. What does this mean? Well, when people regularly walk past the store and look in I want them to see new and enticing products in our windows. New colours, funky designs, traditional with a contemporary twist, or just something plain gorgeous. The store needs to look appealing, vibrant, but above all inspirational. A 'must see' stop on a visit to Woodbridge.
It's wonderful when I hear customer comments like 'doesn't the shop look lovely' or 'it's really improved in the last few years', and I have to say it's a temptation to sit back and relax thinking everything is just fine. The store looks great, job done!
However, I believe that now more than ever fashion trends are influencing home furnishing, with established and emerging designers such as Lotta Jansdotter who has followed Orla Kiely in making the successful transition from textiles to homeware. I'm not just referring to duvet sets, towels and cushions - carpets and even beds have also become real fashion statements.
Award winning Alternative Flooring have expanded their amazing 'Quirky B' range of wool carpet, and with top bed brands Hypnos and Dunlopillo you can choose the divan fabric to match your winged headboard! This choice simply didn't exist three years ago. Parker Knoll are another example of a traditional company that is moving forward with some elegant new Classic fabric swatches. Never before have customers been able to express themselves so much in every room in their home.
So how do we 'Keep it Fresh' at Barretts? First of all, we change our shop window displays on a regular basis. Every two weeks at least one window will be re-dressed, and we now also include one of the Carpet Department windows with small room sets. We're lucky to have Sam Bouttell as our window dresser. Sam used be the Barretts Head of the Softs Department, and she has lots experience of creating just the right look. Sam is busy bringing her two young boys up, but she now comes in every other Tuesday for our window changes. Sam also designs our Suffolk Show stand, and she does a fantastic job all round!
Another way we help to 'Keep it Fresh' is that Michael (Store Manager/Fiancé) and I regularly attend home furnishing trade shows, looking for something special or even the next big thing. These include the Spring Fair (where we order most of our Christmas stock), Home/Top Drawer, Autumn Furniture Show, Decorex and several shows organised by the Association of Independent Stores (AIS). Whilst it's nice to get away, it's a serious business for us. Our customers expect to see beautiful new things when they come into the store, and it's our job to find them. We always try to get exclusivity for our area - another thing I think makes Barretts special.
I'll finish off this week's blog with a quick look and what's 'fresh' in the store, and that will hopefully entice you in!
Small Fish Jug £12, Large Fish Jug £21.50, Anchor Lamp £49
Avola Floor Cushion: 'London Cooing' £95
Sophie Allport 'Robin' mug £10, 'Robin' jug £18
Me with the catch of the day! Carp fish cushion £18.5, Rainbow Trout £21
Non-ticking Alarm Clocks in three finishes £35
The Jam Jar Lamps are in - lots of colours, £35 each including Edison Bulb
New Classic Fabric Swatches from Parker Knoll