Where do you work? I don't mean what do you do, I mean where do you do it? Are you inside or out? Sitting or standing? By a window or a wall? On a ladder or in a field?
What can you see? Town or country? Office block or shopping centre? Sea or meadow?
I ask because my life in retail has had a varied position, at a cash desk, in an office, monitoring zone 1, in a window... four seasons in 1 day. And now, as an ecommerce entrepreneur most of my work is at a desk... and I love it.
But it's the desk in question that I truly love. It's a repro, stained dark brown and has a faux leather top. It measures 66cm x 46cm and has 1 drawer rammed with pens and notecards. The woodwork is chipped and the drawer handle is on it's way out. I believe it's worth about £5.
It belonged to my Gran. Granny Shepherd. Kathleen Rose Shepherd. She was a bit of an old fashioned Gran, by which I mean she was quite strict and me and my siblings were always a bit frightened of her. But along with her 'Britishness' was a fantastic sense of humour and a special ability for storytelling. I have happy memories of family holidays in Scotland, where her giggle could be heard throughout the caravan and how she tirelessly played snap, the only card game my young sister could play.
I first became aware of her desk at her fourth from last home when I was about 8 years old. I used to wonder what she used it for as I only ever saw her sitting on her settee. Did she write novels at it once we'd left her in peace?
Grannys second from last home was an annex at my parents house. Every week day I would take my dinner into her sitting room and we'd watch The Weakest Link together, eating and shouting out answers. Granny always won.
In this house the desk had a use. It was a small room and the drawer was the only place to keep bills, magazines and invitations to the doctor. On the top were the few possessions she had chosen to keep: a bizarre carved wooden elephant lamp, photos of grandchildren and a framed picture of her own four children when they were young.
After I moved out into my first property I would visit and again admire her beautiful desk. It's proportions, it's colour... it was just perfect. I would imagine it in my house and I realized that I had coveted it my entire life.
Grannys last house was a care home where she could receive the specialised care that she needed. Her Granny flat now felt empty, despite having all of her furniture in it. It was quiet, despite granny never having made noise. Her desk now stood motionless, containing precious documents, but with no-one to admire it.
Some months before granny left her final home (the bed in which she was confined had everything important within arms reach: Wurthers Originals, wet wipes, a teddy with a pretty headband, a balloon from her great grandchildren, a Bible) it became clear that at 95 Granny wouldn't be coming back to her annex. I received a warm text message from my dad. "Come and get your desk, it's waiting for you".
How did he know? Did everyone know? My affections that I thought I had kept hidden were apparently plain for all to see. Had Granny seen?
As I write this sitting at mine and my Grans desk, I feel a contentment and attachment that is perhaps not normal for a human to have with a piece of furniture. But it isn't just furniture. It's the narrative of my life with my Gran.
We're having a po-up! On Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th June we'll be at Lily Loves Shopping, 2 Adam & Eve Street, Market Harborough. LE16 7LT.
To celebrate we're giving 10% off to all Armcandy newsletter subscribers!
10% discount is available online and instore for those 2 days only. You can subscribe to our free monthly newsletter at the bottom of this screen. You need to subscribe or have already subscribed to receive your discount, without which the discount won't be applied.
Lily Loves Shopping is surrounded by both independant and chain coffee stores, so follow the scent of coffee beans and tou'll find us! Adam & Eve Street is in the heart of 'independant shop Harborough' so you'll be able to browse away for a few happy hours!
Happy discount weekend!
Super excited about our first pop-up shop! Friday 31st March and Saturday 1st April.
We're being hosted by the fantastabulous Lily Loves Shopping, 2 Adam & Eve Street, Market Harborough, LE16 7LT.
And the best news of all... 10% off on the pop-up Friday and Saturday for all of our Armcandy newsletter subscribers, instore or online. Haven't signed up yet? You can sign up for free on the home page.
If you'd like a pop-up shop in your area, get in touch and let us know where.
When Armcandy was first discussed the business side of me was keen to work out the figures to make sure it was viable, the girly side of me conjured up images of a tidy white desk featuring freshly sharpened pink pencils, a Mac, a soy latte in a Nordic House Eva cup and a never ending supply of peonies and ranunculus from flowerbx. When it came to packaging I imagined crisp sheets of tissue paper scrawled with a curly Armcandy Bag Co logo, white lidded boxes and pink grosgrain ribbon.
Then I started to contact packaging suppliers and in the months that followed the decision of should we keep our logo in pink... or change to grey... or mustard... or green... seemed like a lifetime before.
The truth is I don't waste. I recycle. I don't like to throw away and so I regift, I give to charity shops, I give our old shoes to the stores that recycle them and I did a little dance when the UK carrier bag charge made everyone stop and think. Am I an eco warrior? No. Do I occasionally put half a mouldy pitta in the bin? Yes.
But I am eco conscious. And so we came to the crunch question, in a luxury industry, where we are selling a luxury product, where you the buyer are parting with more than 50 quid, is luxury packaging a requirement or is there an alternative, to reduce the environmental cost?
The brown boxes your armcandy arrives in is called envirobox. It is the strength of a double wall box but uses significantly less materials, which in themselves are 80% recycled. They are designed to be folded to different sizes so that they don't need ridiculous amounts of filler inside to protect your bag.
The filler we use is recycled paper and features the same Der Blaue Engel ecolabel as our envelopes. I'll be honest, when I first received them I was unsure if they were suitable for our product, worried that they 'cheapened' the brand. But you know what, why shouldn't a luxury product have the sales receipt inside a recycled envelope?!
Our dustbags come from a Fairtrade accredited, ethically audited, carbon neutral factory. Unfortunately the business acumen of the company did not match their product and once our stock is used up I will have to begin the long trawl to find a new supplier. But until then you can rest assured that the mother/sister/daughter that made your dustbag works in a safe and fair environment.
Am I saying that we're the most eco business out there? Not yet. Do I want Armcandy to be accused of greenwashing? No. Armcandy is a new business and it costs £££ to save the planet.
I just want you to know that where we can, we do.
Here at Armcandy HQ we wanted to give you as much info as we could to help you be better informed as to which piece of armcandy is for you. That's why we decided to use instagram and YouTube. On instagram you will see a 60 second video showing some of the features of the bags. on YouTube you will see the full video, between one and three minutes. Be sure to subscribe to YouTube and follow us on instagram so that you don't miss out on your dream bag!
Our bag of the week is this beautiful Miu Miu matelassé bauletto aperto.
Miu Miu is most often regarded as Prada's more playful younger sister, this is definitely an example of how fun and enjoyable a bag should be.