Yearly Archives: 2012

Live and Let Dye: dyeing fabric inside the jute industry

Live and Let Dye: dyeing fabric inside the jute industry

India has a passion for abbreviation. Air conditioning is “AC”, a kilogram is a “KG” and Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan is known as “SRK”. So it comes as no surprise that everyone in the jute industry likes to be known by their initials. The distinguished gentleman below is PKB. He is the Managing Director of the dyeing factory that supplies a large percentage of dyed materials, including jute fabric, to the Kolkata based ‘bag for life’ manufacturers. What PKB does not know about dyeing jute fabric could be written on a pin head with a paint brush (his words not mine). He spends his life trying to get as close as possible to customers pantone requests and gets quite exasperated with some customer expectations. I have promised him that I will try and explain the process that goes into creating a bag for life, as well as the complications. I do it partly to blow his trumpet as to how good he is, but also to help manage your expectations when looking to order your own custom made bag for life.

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Vintage tote boxes popular for retail display & storage

Industrial tote boxes seem to be everywhere at the moment. Shop owners are going back to the old old school, picking up objects of antiquity and finding creative uses for them in their merchandising display campaigns or in store windows.

I’m not talking about that highly polished mahogany unit your nan passed on. The one your folks keep describing as a family ‘heir-loom’ but you keep ‘accidentally’ trying to knock over and permanently damage. I’m talking industrial chic – remnants of yester-year in materials of wood, leather, and metal. It’s fascinating how interior design and retail merchandising can salvage the grit of every day objects, like unrecognisable car parts and old wire racks; then scrub them up and place them as the centrepiece at some swanky Mayfair diner.

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A Hamper is like a puppy, it’s not just for Christmas!

 

Can you turn your gift hamper upside down without the contents going into orbit?  Can you shrink wrap a hamper without installing air conditioning (aka holes in the cellophane!)?  Can you increase the perceived value of your hamper simply by adding a finishing touch?   If you’ve said ‘no’ to any of these questions, you would be most welcome on one of my upcoming half day or full day gift wrapping training courses around the UK.  By the end of the session you’ll leave with enhanced gift wrapping skills and hampers ready to sell, put on display or photograph for your website.

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5 simple ways to attract visitors to your exhibition stand

An increasing number of artisan food and drink producers, and even some specialist retailers are choosing to exhibit their product at trade shows. When it comes to powerful visual merchandising and retail display, your exhibition stand is no different. You want an attractive but versatile solution? One that’s easy to set up and doesn’t cost a fortune? Sounds simple enough. It’s certainly true that budgets can be tight when it comes to exhibition costs at trade shows, and there is always a need to justify the expense. Many custom built stands don’t come cheap, still, well designed exhibition stands can be hugely rewarding for you in the long run. It’s vital that you ensure a steady stream of interested visitors and leave with a black book full to brimming of potential orders and contacts; and your name on everybody’s lips! That’s the idea anyway. With many retail display, visual merchandising props and signage options on the market, here are a few simple steps you can take that won’t cost the earth and will ensure you’re well prepared in advance.

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Will there be an Olympic legacy for small British businesses?

Olympic legacy for small British businesses

Danny Boyle’s Olympic image of Britain will certainly lure the tourists back to ‘blighty’. What an amazing, if not flamboyantly costly, advertisement for our country? And the corresponding sentiment backed up by the British people has a created a tremendous wave of publicity for this ‘green and pleasant land’.  According to social media and retail news, many retailers across the country have not experienced the upturn in footfall that was hoped for (footfall in West End shops last week was down 4.5 per cent) but there can be no doubt that London 2012 has been the best possible endorsement for Great Britain, better than anyone could have imagined which will help small British businesses.

So is now the time for British independent retailers to bask in the afterglow and keep the Union Flag flying high; for days, months, and dare I say years to come?

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Passage from India: pitfalls of container shipping from Kolkata

Indian Statues

The desire for printed jute shopping bags or reusable bags for life continues in popularity with many retailers, if given the choice, preferring to offer an ethical alternative to plastic. We are often asked why lead times on jute bags can be so long, and how a shipping container from India can take longer to get here to Britain than one from China? They’re good questions. I recently returned from India where I met with our partners and I learned about some of the pitfalls of container shipping. The actual shipping of our eco friendly bags is just one part of the whole process. But it’s frequently the most frustrating one, and to a large extent, one that’s completely out of our control.  To explain why, you need to understand a bit more about the region that Jute is grown in and where jute bags come from. This is our passage from India.

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The PopUp Britain scheme, now open for business: Is this the future of British Retail?

With high streets across the UK struggling to keep their unique identity, there have never been more schemes and initiatives designed to breathe the life back in to UK retail.  Love her or loathe her, TV personality Mary Portas has certainly helped to raise awareness of the importance of small businesses in the UK. However, there is a lot of hard work going on across the UK that is making a much more tangible difference to the grassroots success of small British businesses.

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