Monthly Archives: September 2012

National food & drink awareness dates in October


There are a billion and one awareness days/weeks coming up in October, keeping track of them can be bit of a nightmare. I confess in the past I’ve been relatively cynical about the sheer volume of things I’m supposed to be aware of. Maybe it’s just that one too many aubergine days of the week have sent me over the edge, or the thought of celebrating them all, just exhausting. The truth is, many of our British producers are working tirelessly to stay afloat and sustain the growth of food production on UK shores. Raising awareness of the importance of the local produce to our communities is a great way of doing just that. So even if you don’t drop everything and cover your store walls in pretzels the next time you see that awareness month pop up in your twitter feed, the very least we can do is spare them a thought.

But if you want to take it that step further, why not get involved or kill two birds with one stone and create a small interchangeable hotspot with portable pop-up stands within the store to celebrate a particular event. You can see how easily CH & Co put together attractive displays. Not only will it capture shopper’s interest but you’ll probably find you sell more in the process. So it’s a big thank you to lovely food association Tastes of Anglia for bringing our attention to the following list of dates. Click here to read more on their website about each event but for now, here’s the list…

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Live and Let Dye: dyeing fabric inside the jute industry

India has a passion for abbreviation. Air conditioning is “AC”, a kilogram is a “KG” and Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan is known as “SRK”. So it comes as no surprise that everyone in the jute industry likes to be known by their initials. The distinguished gentleman below is PKB. He is the Managing Director of the dyeing factory that supplies a large percentage of dyed materials, including jute fabric, to the Kolkata based ‘bag for life’ manufacturers. What PKB does not know about dyeing jute fabric could be written on a pin head with a paint brush (his words not mine). He spends his life trying to get as close as possible to customers pantone requests and gets quite exasperated with some customer expectations. I have promised him that I will try and explain the process that goes into creating a bag for life, as well as the complications. I do it partly to blow his trumpet as to how good he is, but also to help manage your expectations when looking to order your own custom made bag for life.

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Vintage tote boxes popular for retail display & storage

Industrial tote boxes seem to be everywhere at the moment. Shop owners are going back to the old old school, picking up objects of antiquity and finding creative uses for them in their merchandising display campaigns or in store windows.

I’m not talking about that highly polished mahogany unit your nan passed on. The one your folks keep describing as a family ‘heir-loom’ but you keep ‘accidentally’ trying to knock over and permanently damage. I’m talking industrial chic – remnants of yester-year in materials of wood, leather, and metal. It’s fascinating how interior design and retail merchandising can salvage the grit of every day objects, like unrecognisable car parts and old wire racks; then scrub them up and place them as the centrepiece at some swanky Mayfair diner.

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A Hamper is like a puppy, it’s not just for Christmas!


Can you turn your gift hamper upside down without the contents going into orbit?  Can you shrink wrap a hamper without installing air conditioning (aka holes in the cellophane!)?  Can you increase the perceived value of your hamper simply by adding a finishing touch?   If you’ve said ‘no’ to any of these questions, you would be most welcome on one of my upcoming half day or full day gift wrapping training courses around the UK.  By the end of the session you’ll leave with enhanced gift wrapping skills and hampers ready to sell, put on display or photograph for your website.

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