Flor Unikon at the Marylebone Summer Fayre, 17th June 2012

We were thrilled to be invited by our good friends at Skandium www.skandium.com to host another pop up shop, at their Marylebone branch, as part of the festivities of the Marylebone Summer Fayre, http://marylebonesummerfayre.com. This is an annual event that provides all the activities one would expect from a traditional village fete. Today the main high street and adjoining avenues featured a farmer’s market, craft products, food and drink stands, games for adults and children, plus a music stage that hosted some of the most promising up-and-coming acts in the country. Local food outlets and shops also opened their doors to their loyal customers and visitors. In fact from the beginning at 10am to closure around 6pm the streets were pretty jam packed. Food outlets did a roaring trade, children queued for cakes and events such as face painting and the tower of strength were buzzing alday.

Amongst all the hub hub of the stalls we were particularly impressed with two fashion outlets, e.g. Millie Manu, whose distinctive and durable clothing is designed and crafted in the UK, from fine natural fabrics, www.milliemanu.com Their ethos for sourcing from local suppliers comes from the desire to support the local economy and protect our environment. DePloy demi couture is a fashion label with a difference for the busy but stylish woman about town. Using discreet fastenings each fashion item is adaptable at the blink of an eye, e.g. a dress becomes a skirt and blouse becomes a dress, thereby providing the wearer flexibility in her daily fashion attire. For her 2011/12 collection, DePloy designer Bernice has used bold and industrial colours such as emerald, slate grey, blue and brown; and with her choice of fabric textures, from cashmere blends to satin silks, we believe she has created a very luxurious and stylish fashion range www.notjustalabel.com/deploy.

Today and for many years, the Howard de Walden family, owners of most of the Estate of Marylebone, have been the Fayre’s main sponsor. They strongly support the local community and sponsors other events such as the Christmas shopping evening,  www.hdwe/en/the-estate.

Traditionally the Fayre has not only helped to bring the local community together but has raised money for a variety of good causes. This year’s charity partner is Kids Company, whose aim is to support vulnerable young people through important life changes, www.kidsco.co.uk Throughout the day we saw various volunteers collecting for this very worthy cause, some were on stilts, others dressed as animals. In fact we spotted a giraffe playing with some very excited children one of whom was trying to wrestle the beast to the ground. Thankfully the boy’s mother rescued the poor creature from its fate who very gladly trotted off to find more charitable children to play with.

And Keeping to the charity theme, a local estate agent was brave enough to place his head in the stocks and have wet sponges thrown at him, all in a good cause of course. We are not sure if this event was popular because of the British tradition to despise Estate Agents, a wet and soggy revenge tactic perhaps ?? or because participants wanted to support the chosen charity. Whatever the reason a lot of fun was had by adults and children alike.

Meanwhile back at Skandium the crowd pullers of the day were not just our flower creations but the demonstrations of traditional chair weaving from the Danish based furniture company, Carl Hansen, www.carlhansen.com/ One of their craftsman with traditional tools wove a seat for a wooden dining chair. Years ago, reed was initially used in the weaving process but over time the strength of paper cord was discovered to be more suitable. Today’s craftsman, who with over twenty years of experience, demonstrated the strength and skill required to produce a chair that is as popular today than when it was first produced in 1908. The speed and dexterity of this man meant that he completed one chair per hour. Therefore one could watch the beginning process and then pop back fifty minutes later to seem him add the finishing touches.  Truly remarkable!

What was also great for us is that our 2011 Christmas customers stopped by to say hello and appreciate our colourful displays. For example, we decorated the external spaces with various sized vases filled with summer flowers such as peonies, alliums and roses, an aqua water garden with floating delphiniums, a pond with a floating wreath, and fresh white displays of roses and orchids. We sold many of the displays throughout the day and it feels good that our work is now decorating someone else’s home.

One customer thanked us heartily for making such a beautiful Christmas wreath for his front door. He remarked that several neighbours had knocked on his door to enquire

where he had purchased such a delightful decoration, ‘Was this a conspiracy?’ he jokingly asked.

It was truly delightful to be part of this fun event and so a big thanks to all the participants, our customers and our great friends at Skandium for allowing us to be there.

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