I read an article recently, about the effect 'Parents Who Work' has on children.
I [like many of others I'm thinking], battle on a daily basis, with the guilt that comes alongside working hard and being a parent.
As an online business specifically, trying to build a brand, the face of the business more often than not- is not a true reflection of the mechanics behind it. Of course it isn't, it can't be, [not entirely, despite Instagram trying to fool us all otherwise!]
Theres a certain order that we undertake at the workshop and it happens to be one of my lesser favourites. The bags in question are VERY labour intensive and a logistical nightmare, but they serve a useful purpose for the client and mean that large swathes of PVC and vinyl are saved from landfill.
This particular order, more than any other, keeps me away from my children for longer periods of time than i like.
For ages and ages I felt really guilty about working so hard trying to build Wyatt and Jack. That maybe I should take a more 'normal' job, with hours more fitting for family life.
I don't think this guilt falls just with mothers either- I'm sure fathers feel the burn to just as greater extent...
But then i realised something [whilst swearing at another broken needle, unwound bobbin or unhelpful dispatch company] My kids wouldn't have it any other way!
Both of my children realise [well,I say realise, the 3 year old just repeats 'mummy saves bouncy castles when they die] -that in order to do a job you like doing [because, lets face it, you're gonna spend a LOT of time doing it!] You have to put the hours in and you have to LOVE it. Like, REALLY love it!
Theres a lot of people to thank around me on a daily basis when it comes to support networks. My partner, my parents, extended family, my kids friends' parents, a supportive school, an understanding nursery, but you know what, the people i REALLY want to thank the most [because i definitely don't do it enough...] are my KIDS.
For being a constant source of positivity and keeping me in the present. For pushing me to continue with Wyatt and Jack by asking questions like: 'what about the fabrics mum?! They will just be thrown away!! or 'But you told us never to give up if you believe in something- so you can't!' [i know right?! thats annoying!!]
But most of all for understanding that I wouldn't be the person that i am if i DIDNT do what I'm doing with the bags. Also for rewarding long days with huge cuddles and cups of really badly made tea.
It makes me realise that all the time Ive been feeling guilty, I may have been accidentally instilling a work ethic, giving them an example [of sorts] of what may happen if you really stick to something you want to do.
Ha! Who woulda thought it?! Me, an EXAMPLE!!
Perhaps I'm not such a shit parent after all. Maybe none of us are!
A few years ago I had a phone call, from the Beach Shack Cafe in Sandown .
They were expanding their restaurant, to make an indoor area and were knocking down a disused toilet block to do so.
When they started, they stumbled on another little closed off section and when they opened it, there were LOADS of deckchairs hiding inside.
They had been stored there in the 1950's, the door had been closed and they had been forgotten about.
Total treasure chest of fabrics. They hadn't seen the light of day for a good 50-60 years, so the canvases were still as bright as they had been in their beach days.
Really old rare fabrics, in stripes that don't exist today.
We took them all away, washed them back and made some of our more vintage limited edition bags.
Added over on the Etsy shop, original Isle of Wight deckchair canvases, in unique stripes.
Totally sourced and sewn here on the Island. Full circle.
[enter code 'provenance17' at checkout, for 10% off your order over on Etsy]
book at the beach shack h e r e
This week has been a bit challenging
As those of you who have been following this little business for a while will know, when we first started, there wasn't really much in the way of up cycled products available.
Now up cycling is most definitely a more widely used term. As is ethical, sustainable, circular economy, to name a few. Don't get me wrong- thats AMAZING.
This is really good news, as obviously it means that more and more fabrics and items are being saved from landfill and made fit for purpose again.
The up cycling process is labour intensive. VERY labour intensive. But necessary.
Unfortunately, as with most things that become popular or on trend, the buzz word of 'up cycling' is now being used by certain newer brands, when in fact, the materials they use, were NOT intended for landfill.
THIS IS NOT ETHICAL
We worked for a very long time [YEARS], to establish and forge new connections and relationships to allow us to build a sustainable supply chain.
It is ENTIRELY transparent.
As consumers, stockists, retailers, sales representatives, makers, we always need to be asking for that transparency. That truth.
I would like to thank all of you who have bought or stock our bags and also for remaining loyal to us, when it would appear that we are now being imitated.
We have never spent lots of money on PR or branding.
The main focus has and ALWAYS will be, the saving of fabric from landfill. However, some have the funds to make themselves widely known, so may be mistaken for the original [this actually happened to us this week- its very frustrating]
It would make much more sense to work together, sharing fabrics and respecting each others work. Unfortunately, some businesses are very much businesses in the monetary sense of the word and that can make them very shortsighted.
Hopefully this will change. Soon.
I would just politely ask one thing of anyone reading this, [hopefully it may have some effect]
...look for the original, ask the questions. In the meanwhile, we're gonna keep our heads down and continue to save and repurpose as much fabric as we can, whilst bringing you the best quality, fresh products- in a quiet way.
No bells or whistles, no fancy branding or blowing of trumpets.
Thanks for reading, Gx
We are really pleased to reveal our latest series of bags as part of our Island Collaboration project.
Tony Trowbridge is a locally renowned, prolific artist, who works with paint and stencils to create his individual style.
We have worked with Tony, to create a limited edition series of tote bags, each one hand painted, with a unique, stencilled design, onto recycled trampoline canvas [sourced from Margate in Kent]
As Tony's work can be seen predominantly around the Isle of Wight as part of the fossil art trail, it made sense for the profit of each bag, to be donated to a local cause.
We spoke to Kathy Grogan, Education Officer for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust , about the Wildbeach Project in the bay, who explained how they are making use of the resources we are lucky enough to have on our doorstep
"Our Wildbeach Project is all about connecting children, families and schools with the coastal environment of the East Wight, providing access and repeated visits through learning programmes, family events and training"
So when you purchase your up cycled tote bag, [either online or EXCLUSIVELY at The Beach Shack, Sandown], not only are you the proud owner of a bespoke piece of local artwork, but you are also contributing to a very worthy cause- full circle!
See all the collaborative tote bags h e r e
We have just entered the Etsy 'Difference Makes Us' contest running at the moment, to help grow our little bag business...
We would use the funding to increase the visibility and audience of Wyatt and Jack and the work we're trying to do, as well as introduce some new products we have been developing recently...
Any help would be VERY much appreciated!!
Please like/ share this post and/or the voting link- every teeny tiny vote helps us LOADS!
Thanks so much for your continued and valued support!
As part of the Instagram March Meet The Maker challenge, this blog post is to introduce myself.
Im Georgia, founder and director of Wyatt and Jack.
Ive been running W&J for around 7 years now, [formerly known as Jamtarts and Tractors], until I was fortunate enough to receive investment, both privately and from the IOW Chamber of Commerce, which allowed me to rebrand as Wyatt and Jack [both of which are family names, relevant as its very much a family run company]
It started when a friends father [an IOW beach concessionaire], asked me to remove some PVC covers from some 1970's sun beds.
It was bright yellow fabric, with 'FOR HIRE' written across the top. I loved it and couldn't part with it, so i made myself a bag...someone saw it, so i made them a bag... and so it went on...
It was then I realised that at the end of each season, there was a lot of this fabric being thrown away. Often at expense to the concessionaire as they were having to pay the council...
I like a road trip, so i sought out the beach concessionaires from around the coasts of the UK and collected up as much fabric as i could...
I love my job. Sometimes its tricky to switch between roles and i hadn't really envisaged myself as a company director, anyway.... this video better explains what i'm banging on about...
nice to meet you and thanks for supporting the bags