The Barking Mad Dress Sale

Many of us dream about buying that designer dress in London, Paris or Milan, only to realise that we can’t afford it.   In my case I have too many unworn clothes bulging in the wardrobe as it is, with endless frocks I’ve bought from M+S or Next with labels still attached.
I’ve got together with my very good friend Sarah Milne in organising ‘The Barking Mad Dress Sale’ after realising we had too many unworn clothes that no longer fitted.  I wanted to do something with these lovely clothes, and so many other friends have the same issue where they don’t just want to give their clothes away, and haven’t the time to sell them on an auction website. We were thinking about doing a charity event and wanted to combine the two.
The idea came to fruition whilst we were stranded on a train returning from the Country Living Fair in Glasgow before Christmas. The seed was sown over a few glasses of wine with endless sketches and notes, and we soon started spreading the word amongst friends and family.
We are delighted at the response from local businesses, family and friends willing to help. Already we have some great sponsors including Country Living Magazine,  Leonards Interiors,  Enotita,  Sly Dress Agency and Entsorga Italia.  We love our nostalgic flyer by Janene Spencer, a busy London Graphic Designer who donated her time for our charity event (I was so impressed with her work that I have now hired her for future design projects).
One of the main sponsors is Belinda Sly from the Sly Dress Agency in Stamford, who will be helping with the operation to ensure the clothes are pre loved perfect and priced accordingly.
Having gift wrapped for royalty and luxury stores throughout Europe, I will be on hand to ensure each item is wrapped in tissue and presented in a paper bag with ribbon so you get that boutique experience. I will also have a range of ribbons and accessories for sale at the event.
Country Living Magazine have been extremely generous by donating 200 gala tickets for our shopping event. Every paying customer will receive a free ticket worth £16.50* which includes entry to the Spring Fair gala evening in London on 20th March, and it’s the perfect chance to do some shopping amongst the 300 handpicked exhibitors with complimentary wine.  You will also find our haberdashery stand packed with ribbons and trimmings at this brilliant show.
Customers will also be able to indulge in tea and home-made cakes presented on pretty china cake stands by Elena Alice.
There will also be cloudy lemonade presented in jars with paper straws and glasses of wine available.  Tables will be adorned with jugs of freshly cut flowers and linen.
The raffle is gathering speed and we have been donated a gift voucher by Leonards Interiors who have just opened their new shop in Bourne, a prize from Decorative Country Living and  Entsorga Italia are donating an Italian Hamper and many other prizes will be up for grabs (please let us know if you would like to donate something).
The event will be held at a stylish hall in the rural village of Braceborough, which is located between Bourne and Stamford. The intimate stone building will be transformed with help from interior stylists and will be adorned with bunting and pom-poms, with jugs of fresh flowers scattered on the tables.
TV Presenter Catherine Gee will be opening the sale and the charity event will be taking place on Thursday 7th March from 3.30-7.30pm, with timings to suit those who work or have children. Admission is free with ample car parking throughout the village. The postcode is PE9 4NT
We are now looking for good quality ladies clothes and accessories to be donated for this event (they don’t have to be designer).  If you drop any clothes off at our Haberdashery Closet in Bracebridge Heath (LN4 2TA), we will reward you with a complimentary roll of ribbon from the shop!
Half of my own wardrobe is going to be cleared out including M+S Per Una, Banana Republic, Boden and Next.  Already we have had some designer labels, shoes and bags handed in including Escada, LK Bennett, Dior and Prada.
If you’re having a wardrobe Spring Clean, we will gladly take them off you and pop them in to our ladies pre loved sale … (sadly we can’t accept underwear, hosiery, children’s or menswear).  If you can spare any hangers we would be extremely grateful.
Current drop off points include Lincs, Cambs, Wilts, Bucks and London:
The Haberdashery Closet at Jane Means (Bracebridge Heath, Lincoln) 01522 522 544
3 counties Rescue (Bourne) 01778 440318
Sly dress Agency (Stamford) 01780 482870
Enotita (Peterborough) 0845 2699 953
Leonards Interiors (Bourne) 01476 585101
Sarah Milne (Braceborough near Stamford) 07915 419836
Linda Brookes (Ryhall near Stamford) 01780 238927
Jane Means (London) 01522 522 544
Caroline McFarlane (Marlow) 07503 165737
David Hooper (Westbury, Wilts) 07791 277623
Sarah and I are keen animal lovers and all proceeds will be in aid of 3 Counties Rescue in Bourne, who work endlessly to accept, care for, and find homes for the unwanted, lost and stray cats and dogs.
This will be a luxurious shopping event where you will be able to buy a pre loved piece for as little as £2.50 and enjoy tea and homemade cakes in pretty surroundings in rural Lincolnshire.
If you would like any leaflets for your school, club or village notice board,  or would like a few flyers to give out, please give us a call on 01522 522544 (We should receive our leaflets in early February).
We would love you to spread the word and you can follow developments on our Facebook Page and via Twitter #barkmad
On a final note if you or anyone can help with the last few jobs on our ‘to do list’ that would be great.  We need
  • Extra Drop Off Locations
  • Good quality Ladies clothes, shoes, bags, hats and accessories to sell
  • Spare coat hangers
  • Mannequins and Clothes Rails (loan)
  • Raffle prizes
  • General word of mouth
  • Leaflet distribution in the local area
Hope you can make it to our event!
Jane x


Sponsorship Artwork Image kindly supplied by LMRT Design


* One Country Living gala ticket per person with a minimum spend of £10.  Limited tickets available

Categories: Haberdashery Closet, Luxury Wrap & Stationery, Mother's Day, Projects & Demos, Spring, Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

Clever ribbon storage and display ideas

 I’m often asked about the various ways to store and display ribbons, especially by craft lovers and shops.
 Whether you have lengths or rolls of ribbon, I have put together a collection of handy ideas.
Loose lengths of ribbon can be wrapped around a piece of card and pinned.  This makes a great filing system and can be done in colour order. We find this works really well when we send our ‘ribbon by the metre’ orders out.
If you are selling or storing pre cut lengths of ribbon, these can be rolled and secured with a band and stacked on shelves.  Although initially it looks tidy, I do find at our shows that this method isn’t suitable so I wouldn’t recommend this to busy shops with a heavy footfall.
In our Haberdashery Closet we have stocked these handy gift tags which are made out of card, and rigid enough to withstand ribbon being wrapped around them.
Storing Pom Pom trim can often be a challenge and here we have used a free standing metal kitchen saucepan rack.
You can also use book shelving units to store Pom Pom from the wall.  I picked this one up from a local charity shop for £15 and painted it light grey.
At most of our trade shows we use a dresser on wheels, which is ideal in a retail environment as it is mobile and free standing and can be positioned in alternative places.  The dresser was bought from Ebay for £25, painted cream in Farrow and Ball.  We also added industrial wheels to the base which were from B&Q.  The base of the dresser is also handy for storing additional supplies.
If you are storing rolls of ribbon horizontally, you will need to add some shelf edging to stop the rolls from falling out.  You can buy inexpensive lengths from B&Q and have them cut at no extra charge. I added the wooden edging with wood glue, and painted it the next day with eggshell paint.
If you haven’t got edging on your shelves, it’s better to store them vertically in short piles to avoid them rolling off the shelves. If you sell ribbons, it’s a good idea to fill any gaps with wrapped boxes or other merchandise.
Luckily I have access to these rustic farm crates from my dads farm, and my mum added some wooden dividers. These make wonderful rustic storage and the natural look of the wood shows the colours off really well.
I also store ribbons in small bookcases with edging on the shelves, and these are lightweight and can easily be free standing on a floor or placed on a table top.
When I’m running courses I will store ribbons in these handy wooden crates or trays which I bought from an interiors shop.
Wicker hampers and baskets make a good alternative for ribbon storage.  If you are selling ribbon, it’s a really good idea to have some display boxes with ribbon that you have good quantities of.  I particularly find hampers are useful as they are easy to transport with ribbons inside.
One of my favourite displays is this one.  I picked up an old gilt frame from a junk shop for the bargain price of £5 as it had no glass or back.  My mum took it to her woodwork class and added a sturdy back template that we had designed and cut some wooden poles for the rolls to slot on to.  We currently use this as a display purpose only as it is hassle removing the poles to access the rolls of ribbon.  This however would be a suitable solution if you sell or use ribbons by the metre.
I picked up these rustic wire baskets at the Country Living Fair.  These are lightweight with the rolls easily visible, and our price tags can be tied on to the basket.
Another alternative is to use a simple glass bowl or vase for displaying rolls, which looks very effective. Here I have used a contrasting colour bowl to highlight the nautical ribbons.
For a Spring photo shoot I used some china from Time for Tea with Elena Alice, and had rolls of ribbon displayed on a cake stand.  It is a very effective method introducing height for the display.
At a Christmas Fair we needed so much storage for ribbons that we combined lots of different displays which worked very well.
I am always dreaming up new ways to display ribbons and will keep adding to this post.  If you have any good ideas please also let me know!
Categories: Haberdashery Closet, Inspiration, Projects & Demos, Ribbon, Tips + Techniques | Tags: , , , , ,

Top Drawer Spring 2013

We were back at Earls Court in London to exhibit at Top Drawer, a design led trade show for gift companies and retailers

The stand was full of ribbons, piled high in a dresser that I had bought off Ebay and painted cream.

We also displayed ribbons in old fashioned crates off my fathers’ farm which were really eye catching, with everyone asking “Do you sell these?”

The stand was also adorned with our sample ‘mood board’ cards.

Each ribbon I’ve designed has a story behind it with many childhood memories or travels behind the inspiration.

Our ribbons adorned boxes wrapped up in floral wallpaper.

We very much went for the vintage floral theme and tied in artificial flowers from a local cake shop.

I love to include flowers on my stand and ribbons were tied around little vintage milk bottles with bluebells.

Our Easter collection was also showcased, and our faux speckled eggs are a favourite with Country Living Magazine.

Last year many shops ordered these purely as decorations for the window, and ended up stocking them as customers were asking to buy them.

The new range of nostalgic paper bags were launched, very versatile for parties, small gifts, sweets and favours.

I even decorated one for a Valentine style shoot, and I know these will be so popular for Christmas too.

A big trend coming through is monochrome and patterns, so our Black and White dotty ribbon proved popular.  The design came from liquorice allsorts (being my favourite, the sweets didn’t last long after this photoshoot!).

We all had a super time at Earls Court, there are so many brilliant products at Top Drawer, that I ended up placing lots of orders.

 I now can’t wait to get my new ranges for the Haberdashery Closet, Wed Craft event and Country Living Fair.

On a final note, we were so busy with the run up to Christmas that our annual staff party had to be postponed.

 Luckily some of the team enjoyed a lovely meal at Sartoria in London over the show weekend, and we aim to have a small staff bash in the Spring in Lincolnshire.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

Luxury Gift Wrapping in Paris

I have always been a huge fan of Dior perfume and have often gazed at their displays and windows filled with luxurious bags and couture fashion
Several years ago I landed a dream job and headed out to Milan on my first assignment. I travelled throughout Europe working in their boutiques gift wrapping for their VIPs which was very exciting.
This year I returned to Paris and worked at their new pop-up boutique in Le Printemps department store
My long enjoyable days were spent gift wrapping in front of customers, Discreetly going at record speed to avoid queues.
I lost count of how many gifts I wrapped in the days I was there, and after wrapping so many small circular items I headed back home for Christmas to give my hands a very well earned rest!
To give you a flavour of the boutique pop up shop in Paris, you can view the Dior advert on YouTube
Categories: Christmas, Gift Wrapping Courses, Projects & Demos, Tips + Techniques | Tags: , , , ,

Christmas Gift Wrapping Projects

Christmas was very exciting this year with lots of new clients and projects, with some booking a year in advance!
Late November I did a gift wrapping service for Ralph Lauren at their Bond Street flagship store, and ended up spending some of my wages on Christmas presents during their Charity evening.
Their windows were a Christmas wonderland with crowds gathering outside to admire the reindeer in a magical scene.
December then kicked off with a gift wrapping demonstration at Liberty in Regent Street, and I was delighted how many people popped by including bloggers, journalists and radio producers.
Celia Lacy provided live blogging at the event and it was a huge online success too. It was such a treat to be surrounded by gazing customers, sparkly decorations, bowls of ribbons and crates of fine wine!
We then headed up to Selfridges in Manchester to do a gift wrapping event in the Trafford Centre.
I was transfixed by the ballerinas dancing in front of us.
It was then back down to London for the team to tackle 170 books for the Guardian Newspaper.  We certainly didn’t need the gym that day!
With a very short lunch, stiff necks and sore hands we managed to finish the job in a day to meet the tight deadline.
At the end of a hectic week we then joined Selfridges and Clarins to do gift wrapping events in Central London.
This year I noticed how many gifts from Sisley were bought and loved using their luxury papers and stylish ribbons.
The Clarins counter was inundated with customers grabbing gift hampers and it certainly proved that good presentation sells.
Another fun job was gift wrapping 100 bottles of Bollinger champagne for a new client in Soho. I was dubious about the Black Christmas packaging, however it looked stylish and the client was delighted.
I also did a gift wrapping demonstration at Fortnum and Mason in Piccadilly, although by mid December there were very few of our ribbons left in the store which proved a challenge!
After a quick trip up to join BBC Lincolnshire in the studio to talk about Christmas gift wrapping ideas, I then headed over to Paris to finish my last job of the season! (Read my next blog on this)
With so much work I ended up working 14 hour days, but loved every minute. Luckily through the year, I had been making handmade envelopes which proved very helpful as everyone received vouchers this year!
Categories: Christmas, Inspiration, Luxury Wrap & Stationery, Projects & Demos, Tips + Techniques | Tags: , , , , , , , ,