The inspiration and creativity of our customers keeps us going; probably as much as their playful irreverence on the end of the phone, keeps us entertained through the day.
White Dove and Wonder has always managed both at the same time. They have charisma in buckets and most of our conversations over the phone should probably come with a 15 certificate for language abuse. They have a beautiful product that has seen them in and out of Vogue and GQ more times than a Victoria Beckham skirt. A husband and wife team based in Greenwich, it is companies like White Dove and Wonder, where time is always a precious commodity, that require WBC as suppliers to be responsive and flexible; adapting quickly to the needs of their particular business. It’s something we’re always happy to do for our customers.
We asked them to give us a ten minute insight into what they do and why they do it.
Back in 2010, whilst out sourcing pieces for my fledgling art and antiques business, I stumbled across a quantity of old wooden shoe lasts. Given that my background, prior to having my family, was in the shoe trade, I was at once both nostalgic and intrigued. So I bought them. In fact I bought 1000!
My husband and business partner Jimmy, was somewhat less than enthusiastic when the mountain of lasts were finally delivered, but eventually we agreed that the lasts should be preserved as an important symbol of our industrial heritage, so we set about designing a range of objets d’art. Fortunately Jimmy, who was previously a broadsheet photographer had taught himself carpentry!
Thus White Dove and Wonder was born, named after our 14 white doves, which each day leave us wondering if they will return. Our final team member and muse is Pearl, our little Jack Russell supermodel.
Jimmy restores each last by hand before remaking it into one of the unique pieces from our range, which includes, pegs, lamps, loo roll holders. He is passionate about reclaiming and re-purposing and, wherever possible, tries to use reclaimed materials. I am responsible for all the sourcing, buying, selling, POS, social media, media and distribution. Luckily, we have completely different but complimentary skill sets, allowing us to pretty much cover every aspect of the business, although we do have amazing IT back up fromGeco Designs, who designed and created the website using Jimmy’s photographs and also helped us with brand identity.
Our unique shoe last pieces are available through our website, online with Vinnie and D, Create That Look, Gloriously British and through a number of independent home/garden/lifestyle retailers throughout the country. We have also exported to Lane Crawford in Hong Kong. The business is growing steadily and each day we learn a new skill or meet a fascinating new contact to work with, such as WBC, who supplies us with our eco packaging.
Jimmy and I are passionate about buying British, British trade and industry, British craft and ethically sourced, sustainable products. We take great pride in what we do and hope that our pieces are at once preserved and enjoyed, a little whimsical, but also things of great beauty.
My top 5 tips for independent craft businesses:
- Enjoy what you do.
- Quality is essential.
- Work with like-minded people.
- Don’t expect overnight success.
- Be nice!
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