We interviewed Georgia from Wyatt & Jack over a year ago and we thought now would be a good time to catch up with the Isle of Wight based team to see how business has changed since we were last in touch. Wyatt & Jack make bags from recycled beach deckchair canvas and up cycled bouncy castles. We first met Georgia at Top Drawer where Wyatt & Jack were exhibiting their range of bags and accessories, they had a great response from the show and business has been building ever since.
The Great British Exchange: A year ago we chatted to you about how Wyatt & Jack came to be and the processes behind your products.
How have things changed with the business since this time last year?
Georgia: There's been a massive shift since this time last year. The site is now comprised of a limited edition collection, that wont be repeated and our other ranges, including the wholesale, have been moved to our other online shops. Our ranges have been narrowed quite dramatically too, to allow attention to detailing and best use of fabrics.
EVERYTHING is now produced here on the Isle of Wight which has happened a lot sooner than I expected.
The Great British Exchange: All of your products are made from up-cycled materials.
How do you respond to customers’ objections to marks or signs of distress in the fabrics you use?
Georgia: Haha! That’s a tricky one! It's not something that comes up often to be honest. Most people are aware of the marks and scars and appreciate that they are part of the fabric's story and heritage.
We don’t batch produce, everything is hand cut and sewn, so the quirks of the fabrics sit quite nicely with our ethos and bespoke ways of working.
The Great British Exchange: Can you tell us a little bit more about the materials you use, especially how different materials can be identified as having come from particular objects and areas of the country?
Georgia: Inside each of the bags, there is a label of provenance, explaining which British beach it has come from.
We use a mix of broken bouncy castle PVC, vintage deckchair canvases, windbreaks, marquees, gazebo's, rubber dinghies, inflatables... the list goes on! We now also use repurposed belt leather for some of our straps, which gives the products a really nice, high end finish.
The Great British Exchange: As a British producer and thinking back to your business twelve months ago, have you noticed any changes in the demand for British made products?
Georgia: Hell yes! There's much more awareness now than there was a year ago- which is cool!
I think more people are aware of the little pockets of British crafts people and artisans, because social media makes it all so much more accessible and enables exposure to a global audience, easily. There's also been a lot of media coverage concerning working conditions in the Far East, so I think consumers are looking for more ethically sound products, made fairly and paid fairly. This helps open up the market place for British products.
The Great British Exchange: How would you describe working with The Great British Exchange and would you recommend other UK businesses to get involved?
Georgia: EASY! Totally easy! Everything is done really quickly and the processes explained thoroughly by really friendly people. I would DEFINITELY recommend other businesses involvement- it removes loads of stress in terms of following up leads, meetings with retailers, allowing the producers to concentrate on delivering good product.
The Great British Exchange: You have shown your support for ‘slow fashion’ on your Instagram account.
What are your opinions on this topic and how much do you think it resonates with consumers?
Georgia: I'm fully into the slow fashion movement. I really believe that this is how all businesses should try and function. I appreciate it's an organic growth and will take a while to become the norm, but I really hope it does! Buying things you know you will use LOTS of times, that have a positive impact on communities, much less [or ideally, NO] environmental impact and can be reused or repurposed.
Really just giving more thought and consideration to how the objects, clothing, food we end up holding in our hands, reached us.
The Great British Exchange: Which are your bestselling products at the moment and are there any new products planned for the coming months? Are there any exciting projects coming up?
Georgia: Bestsellers are definitely the 'Tote for a Tenner' and the 'Triple B Beach bag'. There's a couple of pretty big projects on the way this year, that I'm excited about!
New products are on the way too, but I'm not gonna ruin the surprise!
The Great British Exchange: Which media channels do you like to keep up with? Are there any social media accounts, blogs or press titles that you would recommend or really enjoy reading?
Georgia: Backwa.sh magazine - it's brand new, (I don’t really like to call it a surfing magazine), it’s more a really lovely, soulful book. Drawing attention to artists and communities and people following the things that are important to them and environmental issues (they plant a tree for every copy sold).
Sammy Slabbinck on Instagram. He's an amazing collage artist and animator. I love the way he puts things together that really shouldn’t work - but they do!
The Great British Exchange: What is the Wyatt & Jack workroom like?... Can you describe it in one sentence?
Georgia: Organised chaos and smells like pencil cases!
Wyatt & Jack's products are available on The Great British Exchange for retailers to purchase for their stores, simply log in and search SKU 502242.