Moment that mattered: The Royal Jubilee
I’m not really much of a monarchist and I didn’t join the hordes heading to London to celebrate the Jubilee – we stayed in my village, Delabole in North Cornwall, where we had a street party and watched the flotilla on the TV. It was a rainy day but an impressive sight, all those boats coming down the Thames, and you could feel a real
increase in patriotic and pro-monarchy sentiment in the country.
It was very good news for the bunting trade too. My company, Just Bunting, had a major spike in orders in the run-up to the Jubilee, and my handmade Union Jack bunting was flying off the shelves. All the big national events this year have made it a great time to be in bunting.
I like to position myself at the top end of the bunting market. What I tell my customers is that they can go out for an Indian dinner or they can get a supermarket microwaved meal: my bunting is like the restaurant, I’m not in the microwave meal section. I focus on quality, I’m not interested in cheap bunting. I feel there’s no point in making the cheap plastic stuff the supermarkets are dishing out, it’s got to be better than that. But of course properly made bunting costs a lot more than mass-produced stuff, and competition is stiff.
My business couldn’t have existed five years ago. But since then there has been a handmade revolution and a vintage revolution. The handmade revolution has been pushed in the media, including by Kirstie Allsopp with her ‘Handmade Britain’ programme, and people are more prepared to spend money to buy something unique and high quality. The vintage revolution has sparked interest in the sort of beautiful recycled fabrics I like to use, often taken from old curtains found at car boot sales.
There’s a whole network of small craft companies across the UK doing similar things – making mosaics or cards or jewellery, all with a similar outlook on life. I’ve even started running sewing workshops so people can learn to get involved themselves.
I am expecting a dip in bunting sales after the summer, as the string of big events comes to an end. I’ve got my fingers crossed that Prince Harry gets hitched before too long, or that Wills and Kate have a baby. I have got a backup plan, though – I’ve just started making lampshades.
Just Bunting supplies custom-made bunting, available through justbunting.co.uk, woodandwillow.co.uk and giftwrappedandgorgeous.co.uk.
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