December

In the closing days of the year, we’re feeling reflective and grateful. We’d like to wish a Happy Christmas and say a big thank yous to all our customers, friends, family and collaborators who’ve helped make 2016 special and rewarding for us, across all aspects of our business and life as part of the community of Clevedon.

December has been chilly! We’ve seen some wonderful, beautiful frosty mornings as we trek across Somerset on buying missions, and cranked up the radiators in the shop. We’ve brought our furniture painting activities inside our storage space, instead of out in the carport we usually paint in, but it has led to some interesting and desperate wardrobe choices. We’re talking tights under jeans, so many layers you can barely bend or sit, and gloves and beanies bought from a cheap roadside garage, lending one the appearance of a robber!

Talking of painting furniture…

The Annie Sloan black wax is fast becoming our favourite product, lending old wood perhaps lacking in the right patina, a drama and modernity. One downside is the mess, we have very black hands!

We visited the Annie Sloan sales conference in early December at her Oxford head office. Aside from the conference itself, we had a tour of the paint factory and learned that by May, all paint production will be brought in house, leading to better quality control. One of the things production have been working at is to remove all black from their colour mixes so that when customers are mixing their own colours at home the lack of black content means that colours don’t get darker and muddier.
The conference included lots of announcements for next year including products and projects which added to the excitement of the day. Watch this space for the new additions to the range!
Advice was given to her stockists on how to become a ‘super stockist’ which, of course, we would hope to be and this mainly focused on how we can inspire all of you!  

Again, it was great to meet Annie, who remembers each stockist personally. It was also good  to meet fellow stockists who also inspire us. Each use the chalk paint to create products to sell on to their customer, in very different ways, such as Tea & Roses’ decoupaged furniture, each showing their own innovation, style and craftsmanship.
New Annie Sloan branding has been rolled out, more contemporary looking and with a focus on Annie herself and her relationship with other creatives, and continues with her message ‘Paint everything!’ to inspire creativity and individual style in your interior.

In the middle of the month, in the lead up to Christmas, we’ve hosted a mega wreath making workshop marathon with two double workshops on two consecutive Saturdays and a Sunday session too, making five groups in total.

Stephanie Eastwood floral design led the groups in making wild style wreaths made with a mix of greenery on the base and then decorated in a choice of cotton balls, seed heads, willow sticks, traditional orange slices & cinnamon or even dried chillies. Every single wreath looked different as everyone chose a different combination of the above- making them truly individual and unique- not something you can just purchase.
What we love most about the workshops is that you are coming for the experience….of being creative, making and taking home a finished item to enjoy. Even the person with the least confidence in their abilities is able to achieve more than they expected with the guidance and encouragement of the group. Either people find the confidence to continue with their new skill at home or want to come back to do more workshops.

We’ve particularly enjoyed the sessions as they’ve really helped us get into the spirit of Christmas with traditional Christmassy smells of spruce, orange slices and seasonal foliage!

We opened for an extra Sunday for Christmas shoppers for the first Sunday of the month while we were in the swing of hosting wreath workshops and it was lovely- this is definitely food for thought for opening next year. The Sunday offers the opportunity for customers to come to the shop who haven’t yet made in, as we know Saturdays can become a busy family day when working in the week. We have enjoyed meeting you all each time we have opened on a Sunday. We will open in 2017 for all the Clevedon Sunday Markets dates (first Sunday of the month) and may also do Sundays in December in 2017.  

On Sunday 11th, we took the HAVE market to the Curzon Cinema here in Clevedon. It was our last market of 2016, of a total of four HAVEs across the year. We’ve really enjoyed working with makers and stallholders, there’s a great community spirit amongst local artisans, many of whom stock the shop too! A big thank you to everyone for their hard work this year, and to our many customers.

As we prepare for the Christmas break, we’re thinking of the year ahead. We’re now in our 4th year of business(!) and we’re excited to come back to the shop in 2017 with new plans. We are using our annual January break to refuel and plan for the year ahead, a daunting task perhaps, to conceive of the whole year ahead in terms of new products, reaching goals, events & workshops.

Celebrating shop Small Saturday campaign with Emmeline

Celebrating shop Small Saturday campaign with Emmeline

Shop View, rustic shelves finishing in our new favourite product black wax

Shop View, rustic shelves finishing in our new favourite product black wax

Gorgeous wreaths created on our workshops

Gorgeous wreaths created on our workshops

Amazing views on road trips, frost low sun

Amazing views on road trips, frost low sun

Wreath making workshops

Wreath making workshops

Re photographing Annie Sloan products for the website

Re photographing Annie Sloan products for the website

Warehouse tour and Annie Sloan chalk paint sales conference in oxford

Warehouse tour and Annie Sloan chalk paint sales conference in oxford

Loving black wax 

Loving black wax 

Beautifully frost leaves and foggy view make the journey to work in the cold a little better

Beautifully frost leaves and foggy view make the journey to work in the cold a little better