THE CLEVERLYWRAPPED SUMMER POP-UP

CW has been up and running for eight months now and during that time all of our sales have been done online, with a few open studio days.

What’s great about being an e-commerce business is that you can ‘set our your stall’ how you would like it to be viewed and then it is pretty much self managing, bar the odd banner change or admin edit here & there. The initial hours you have to put into each collection on the website are huge but once it is done you can take your foot off the pedal a bit.

I still get excited when an order confirmation comes through & it’s even more satisfying when it occurs whilst attending the numerous facets of your busy life! The flip side of an ecommerce store is that there is nothing more irritating than not being able to let every customer touch and feel the scarves. Although the scarves can beautifully photographed and we put a lot of effort into the product descriptions, there is no substitution for being able to feel the quality, especially on the more luxurious pieces.

I was thinking about this back in February and I decided I wanted to do an event that would enable more people to come and visit the Cleverly Wrapped studio. I concluded that if I really wanted to drive traffic to a shop in the middle of the countryside the best way to do was this was to invite other brands who weren’t from around here.

First up was Jax Jeans from Hungerford, Berkshire. Jax is a friend of mine who has set up a chic boutique selling premium quality jeans and pretty tops. She has put together a fab one-stop-shop for a premium denim wardrobe and I had spoken to people often who mentioned how they would love to visit Jax Jeans, but it was just too far away. I wasn’t sure whether she would want to move her whole shop to my house, but she’s a grafter and she immediately embraced the idea.

Secondly I called Nathalie Walker from Jersey who has her own company called Balar. I had never actually met Nathalie, but I had heard of her beach lifestyle brand through various friends and knew that it would offer something a bit special. Take a look at the Balar website – it’s fab!

Next I called Sasha Haynes from London who I had met through friends at a party. She had appeared at this party with a sample rail of her gorgeous neon trimmed silk tops and I knew they would be winners. Her brand is called gray&grey – definitely worth having a browse for a summer party top or dress: www.grayandgrey.co.uk

And finally I asked Lucy Macnamara from Aspiga. Aspiga has been going for ten years and many of you will be familiar with the brand and the website. I asked Lucy as I felt that her shoes, clutches and beach bags would perfectly accessorise all of the summer goods that we had in store for the pop up.

Initially, apart from the online marketing campaign there wasn’t too much else to prepare, as the CW studio is permanently set-up and open for a visit or sale. I just had to give some thought as to who to put in each room in the house and more importantly I arranged for my puppy to spend the day away from home as I didn’t think he would be compatible with all the gorgeous merchandise.

So on the 29th April our house was turned into a veritable emporium. Silks, kaftans and bikinis in the living area, Paige Jeans, cashmere and pretty tops in the dining room, silk tops and dresses in the drawing room and sandals and clutches on the kitchen island.

I had two friends come and help me on the day, Elena Everett and Lucy Holland. El helped in the CW studio and Lucy helped in the house and kept everyone fed and watered.  Thank you girls – you were both invaluable and I loved working with you.

The day itself was great. I was able to show so many new people my studio and give them a feel of what CW is about. At times we were rushed off our feet and at other times it was slower but I think that is the nature of house sales. I sold so many scarves I couldn’t believe it and I was so happy to see so many returning scarf lovers, as well new faces visiting the studio. Some people were shopping for themselves and others were stocking up on gifts. Either way, I was having a great time giving advice and discussing scarf styling!

On a separate note the whole experience was great fun. When my husband came home from work he found himself having supper with seven ladies and then subjected to a try-on session from us all. He was very happy to dispense advice on the benefits of flares over skinnies and other such high browed matters!

It was great to chat with the other brands and discuss ideas – something that I think we all benefited from. When you are a one-man band it is so important to network regularly and share ideas. In fact, Cleverly Wrapped will next be ‘popping up’ in Jersey thanks to a very kind invite from Nathalie.

Would I do it again? Yes, Definitely! I am thinking I may do one just before Christmas but this time with different companies. I believe it is important to keep things fresh and constantly evolving. I will be keeping an eye out for new ideas and probably the next one will be more gift orientated.

Thanks again to all who came to shop at our pop-up and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

Harriet x