Posted by Rachel Westall on 14 August 2023
Emily Langley, Marketing & Digital Content Creator at Barnett Lawson Trimmings talks to Craft Focus about moving from their Aladdin's cave establishment in the heart of Soho to being fully digital...
Tell us a little bit about the company. Where are you based?
We're currently based in Pulloxhill, Bedfordshire. For many years, Barnett Lawson was based in the heart of London, moving once in its time there. Many people will remember our basement premises on Little Portland Street as the 'Aladdin's cave of trimmings' with boxes of trims, feathers and millinery supplies piled from floor to ceiling and in every other space imaginable. Around eight years ago the shop underwent a huge overhaul and became more of a showroom, making it easier for customers to view all of our products easily and find what they were searching for without having to rummage so much! When lockdown hit in 2020, as with all businesses like ours, the shop was forced to close its doors and we focussed on building our online presence. By the time the world opened up again, we'd launched a new website and massively built up our database of products listed online. We felt that it would be beneficial to move to a larger space outside of London. We briefly moved to a site in Berkhamsted, and then on to our current home in Pulloxhill.
How has the company evolved?
Over the years, Barnett Lawson has changed in some significant ways, and remained the same in many others. In just the last 10 years, some major changes have been made in the way we sell our products to customers, moving from a primarily in-store shopping experience with hand-written receipts, to a primarily remote and online experience. As time has passed, we've always been committed to finding the best ways to serve our customers and give them access to our products and services quickly and efficiently. As a result of advances in technology, coupled with changes in the way people work and shop now, our website has become our main point of contact with customers. We have, however, maintained our dedication to providing quality trims and a helpful, personalised service for individual and wholesale clients including films, theatres, fashion and interior designers, and more.
What do you specialise in?
Our main focus is trimmings – so that's braids, ribbons, fringes, cords, lace, tassels buttons and appliques, all the things to embellish and enhance your creation.
Talk us through the current products you're particularly excited about. Do you have a favourite?
We've recently listed some patterned braids, some new and some that are vintage ones we've had in the warehouse for many years. When we first started the website, we focussed on top-sellers like the fringe and gimp braids, but now we are getting to the more quirky trims, that are really unusual. We love a trim that can inspire a project. We often think of the fabric being the first port of call for inspiring a design, but sometimes, a fabulous, eccentric trim can be the start of something incredible.
Hobby & crafts have boomed over the last two years! Have you noticed any new trends?
We launched our Etsy store in March 2021, which gave us the opportunity to connect with crafters and creatives from all over the world. Our range of twisted cords has been a HUGE hit with our Etsy customer base, so much so that we've just decided to extend our standard colour range to give people even more choice. On our website, we continue to see customers loving our fringe and gimp braids, quite often for use on interiors accessories such as lampshades and cushions.
How would you advise a retailer who is interested in stocking your products?
Our website allows all customers to access wholesale discounts on almost all of our products. These discounts are between 10 per cent and 30 per cent starting from quantities as low as 10 metres. This allows us to provide retailers and independent creators with the exact products they want at the lowest possible price. For a retailer, this means that it's easy to test new products with their customers without having to put in a huge order upfront. It also allows them to easily extend or adapt their product offering at any time. We are also happy to order in larger quantities of our product especially for a customer, should they need more than what we have in stock.
What sets you apart from your competitors?
We pride ourselves our ability to provide what you need, when you need it. We have a dedicated team at Barnett Lawson HQ who are happy to provide advice, recommendations, and go above and beyond to make sure our customers are thrilled with their purchase, be that one metre of fringe to match a lampshade design they're working on, or 1000 metres of braid needed for a feature film.
Do you visit any trade shows? Do you plan to visit any soon?
At the moment, we don't visit trade shows, but it's something we've been discussing, so watch this space!
What are you looking forward to most over the next year?
In the next couple of months, we are hoping to finish listing all our products on the website and having them available to buy online. There are thousands so it's been a lengthy process over the last few years! We're excited to be able to show them off and provide our customers with beautiful trims they wouldn't have had easy access to previously, unless they visited us in our store before lockdown. Now we have customers all over the world and it's fantastic seeing the things our trims are being used for thousands of miles away, as well as closer to home.
What new products can we expect from you in the future?
We're always on the lookout for products that will satisfy our customers needs and desires, so expect a mix of solid, reliable, great quality basics like thick cut fringe, elegant gimp braids and strong cords, mixed with some unusual and exciting new trims, ready to inspire and enhance your next project.
Barnett Lawson Trimmings