Christmas falls on a Monday this year which means that there are fewer posting days than usual before Christmas. Below are the last possible posting dates for Christmas delivery but to guarantee your jewellery arrives in plenty time, do please order as early as you can, firstly because we will sell out of some popular items and we’d hate to disappoint you and secondly because although the postal service is heroic, it is human and fallible and very occasionally things will go wrong. Happy shopping!
They say that one good deed deserves another and while I’ve always been a bit suspect of the concept of karma – bad things happen to good people too – I do like the idea of spreading a little bit of love or joy. I believe small acts can, cumulatively, make a big difference.
Recently we’ve started working with the review company Trustpilot. Trustpilot sends out an email on our behalf to every Lily Blanche online customer asking them to review their experience with us. I was quite nervous about this to start with but I’ve been really touched and bouyed up by the lovely messages our customers have left. You can read them here
Reviews are really important to our business and help other customers make decisions but I always feel slightly awkward asking for them. We all lead busy lives and we are all bombarded by companies asking us to reveiw things. So I’ve been thinking about how we can say thank you to those who take the trouble without influencing what they write or think about us. And I think I might have come up with an idea…
If you followed us last year, you will know that our charity of the year last year was Social Bite. This is an amazing organisation established by Josh Littlejohn and Alice Thompson which helps to feed – and more importantly – employ some of the most marginalised people in society – those who are homeless.
I have been privileged to spend time with Josh and have got to know a little bit of the work he and Alice are doing and it is incredibly impressive. Not only does Social Bite allow customers in their cafes to “pay forward” a coffee or a sandwich for a homeless person, it employs 20% of its staff from the homeless community. This often means giving people who have been written off not just a second chance but a third or fourth chance.
Social Bite’s latest venture is to build a village in Granton, Edinburgh to house people who have lost their homes. We want to keep supporting this cause so we’ve decided to give 10p to Social Bite for every Trustpilot Review we receive, irrespective of the rating. It’s our way of paying forward the kindness of our reviewers.
We will, of course, keep supporting Social Bite in other ways too. This is a bit of an experiment and I hope our customers approve. It fits with the ethos of what we are trying to do here at Lily Blanche, which is to do business in a caring and responsible way. Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page and let us know what you think.
“No matter who my dad met, he always seemed to touch people and leave that special something”
When Lily Blanche customer Helen Thompson got in touch last month to tell us she had chosen the Gold Feather Locket for her mum Beryl and wanted to give it to her on her birthday on September 9th in memory of her father David who passed away last year, we were really touched by her thoughtfulness.
Helen sent us the photographs she wanted to use in the locket. When we saw the photo of David in his hat, we were smitten and wanted to know more about the charmer in the panama.
Helen told us that David and Beryl had met at a mutual friend’s wedding and Beryl offered to buy David a drink. It was the start of a great romance. They were engaged and married within the year. That was 40 years ago last September. Sadly David lost his battle with cancer just before their ruby wedding anniversary and so Helen’s parents didn’t get to celebrate their special day together.
“I took mum away to a place we went as kids and we celebrated it together with dad in spirit,” Helen says. “My dad had done lots of jobs over the years but he ended his career at Greater Manchester Fire Brigade as a hydrant mechanic”.
David grew up in Radcliffe and was proud of his broad Lancashire accent. He lived his whole life there till 2014 when he moved with Beryl to live next door to Helen in a little village called Hawkshaw where he’d always wanted to live. This is where he spent his last couple of years being cared for by Helen and enjoying his granddaughter.
“He was so happy there,” Helen recalls. “The photo of mum and dad was taken at a fish and chip shop in Whitby nearly a year to the day before he died. He loved it there. It was his favourite place and held so many childhood memories of holidays for him.
“And the picture of my dad in the hat just epitomises how he was always – happy and laughing and the most loving person you could meet. No matter who my dad met, he always seemed to touch people and leave that special something. I’m heartbroken he’s gone I miss him every day he was my best friend as well as my dad. But I believe we will all be together again one day so I look at it as not saying goodbye to him just see you later”.
It was an absolute privilege and joy to work on the photographs for Beryl’s locket. We reshaped and resized them digitally and then printed them out on high quality photographic paper. Helen approved them by email before we sent them off to her, along with some spares. She chose two and popped them into the locket.
This week, Helen emailed to tell us Beryl had received the locket. “Well it was my mum’s birthday on Saturday and she absolutely loved the locket. She had a little cry as did I and said she will have dad with her everywhere she goes now. So thank you so much for everything you have done for us”.
The privilege was all ours. You can read Helen’s review of the Rose Gold Feather Locket on our Facebook review section. We love hearing the stories behind the photos in the lockets so please do share them. If you need help with resizing or printing images please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can see the Lily Blanche Feather collection here
Lily Blanche – lockets for those who love and are loved. #everdaylovestories
It’s back to school for us this week – a ritual which has been performed annually in this household for twenty years, since my eldest started at nursery as a tiny tot. But this year, it is different. With just one of my three children still at school, this is the last autumn we will be looking out uniform, buying new stationery and hunting for lost kit of a morning before rushing for the school bus. The baby has started sixth form. How did that happen?
If you have young children, it is almost impossible to imagine such an ingrained part of your life coming to an end but this year, for us, everything will be poignant – the last Christmas dance, the last parents’ night, the last school report. I still have all the projects from primary one -all wobbly handwriting and wonky drawings – in a cupboard, all the school photographs, all the reports…
These things are about to become part of our family history, to be dug out at future family gatherings, cooed over and laughed over. Do you remember when…? Threads of a tapestry binding siblings together in shared experience.
We are good at marking special occasions – birthdays, anniversaries, Christmases. But all too often it is the occasions for which there is no ritual or tradition which are the most affecting. How do you mark an empty nest or a fledgling about to spread their wings?
For my dchildren, a tiny reminder of home and childhood is a comforting thing. My eldest daughter is forging a career in Manchester – experiencing the joy of a smart suit, a morning Starbucks, a grown up pay cheque. But it is comforting for both of us to know that she is still wearing the little sterling silver teddy pendant she got all these years ago. It may be tucked away beneath the collar of a business shirt but we both know it is there – a link with home and with the past.
Often it is the little things, a picture in a locket or a shell from a much-loved holiday spot slipped into a blazer pocket that lets them know that you’ve remembered and that while they stand on the brink of a scary and exciting new world, some things endure – home and happiness and family and security and love and laughter.
How do you mark these precious moments in your family? We’d love to know.
It has been a stressful couple of days in the Lily Blanche studio as I try to fit in everything that needs to be done before I go on holiday to ensure the staff manning the studio while I am away are properly supported. There has been that familiar sense of rising panic and inevitably anything that can go wrong has gone wrong. I’ve felt like a rubbish boss, mother, wife… Even the dog is looking at me askance.
But the day has been bookended by two lovely messages. I woke this morning to a Facebook message from a customer who first contacted me back in May. She had a special birthday coming up and she liked the look of the Lily Blanche silver Memory Keeper Locket. We exchanged messages and I sent her a look book.
Today she messaged me: “My lovely family got me the memory keeper locket for my birthday yesterday and I love it… the detail is beautiful. I am on a cruise round the Med just now and have had so any compliments on my necklace, so recommending you all round the ship… Thank you again and keep up the good work. Your work is fabulous”.
Tonight, a new customer who ordered the Garnet Vintage Heart Locket earlier in the week posted a charming 5 star review on our Facebook page.
“I’ve been looking for the perfect locket for years now and came across Lily Blanche website… not only I found the most stunning vintage antique looking locket, it was also one of the best customer service I ever had the chance to deal with!! After ordering the item, I sent an inquiry and Gillian responded promptly. The item was also shipped and delivered so quickly. The locket itself looks even more beautiful than I expected! So thank you so much!! I really recommend Lily Blanche for the stunning pieces of jewellery and the excellent customer service. Merci!!”
It’s 11.45pm and I am still in the studio. I have felt anything but fabulous today but these comments from two lovely Lily Blanche ladies have really cheered and sustained me. They’ve reminded me of just how important it is to take a moment to stop and count blessings and of how vital it is to mark the special occasions in life and to spread a little kindness.
So thank you to Julie and Stephanie. Your comments have meant more to me today than you might have realised.
“I think Andy’s mum is wearing your Memory Keeper locket” said my son while watching the Wimbledon final in 2013. Sport daft, nuts about Andy Murray and eagle-eyed enough to be able to tell the difference between a toad and a frog at ten paces, my teenage son does not, however, take much interest in jewellery so I assumed he must be mistaken.
Judy Murray had bought some Lily Blanche pieces online – in fact she was one of our first online customers – but she hadn’t bought the Memory Keeper Locket, which opens to reveal six secret photographs. As Andy came close to playing the winning shot the camera panned onto an emotional Judy in the Wimbledon crowd and it was clear that she was indeed wearing the Lily Blanche Memory Keeper Locket in sterling silver. I squealed with excitement and phoned my sister, with whom I set up the business. As a small, but growing, jewellery brand, it was thrilling to think that Judy Murray had chosen our locket for this historic occasion. It was doubly exciting as our studio is based in Stirling, not far from Dunblane where Andy and Jamie Murray grew up and we’d watched their progress over the years. Shop the Memory Keeper Collection here
Later that week, one of our stockists told us that Judy had been in the shop and had bought several pieces of Lily Blanche, including the Memory Keeper Locket and the Birkin Handbag Locket. We wrote to Judy and thanked her for wearing the piece and congratulated her on a thrilling Wimbledon.
She was kind enough to write back and tell us how much she liked our jewellery. “It’s my absolute fave piece” she said. Since then, a number of our customers have noticed when she has worn the very distinctive designs and often message to tell us.Our paths have since crossed a couple of times and despite her growing profile, she has always been completely charming. It’s not always easy being a woman in the public eye, especially in such a male-dominated world as Judy’s autobiography Know The Score reveals.
It’s great to see some recognition of what she has achieved with her recent honour in the Queen’s Birthday list. Judy coached not just Jamie and Andy to tennis superstardom but a whole bunch of kids – including the late Elena Baltacha, Colin Fleming and Jamie Baker.
Despite her incredible success, Judy has stuck to her (grass)roots bringing her Miss Hits tennis programme and her Tennis On The Road to a new generation. Her values and ethos completely chime with everything we hold dear at Lily Blanche. So whatever happens on centre court this year, Judy Murray will always be our real champion. Shop the Memory Keeper Collection here
We all love a bargain. There is nothing nicer than finding something you’ve been hankering after on sale. I’m the same, but increasingly I’ve become sceptical about the endless discounting the big retailers engage in. It doesn’t feel fair when brands boost the price by 25% just to be able to offer a 20% markdown to unsuspecting customers. The two for one offers in supermarkets are fuelling waste and endangering the health of our children. We’ve become so conditioned to gravitate towards the sale item, we don’t always appreciate the psychological manipulation involved.
When I first established Lily Blanche I made a resolution. We would treat our customers the way I would want to be treated in an ideal world – with respect, with honesty and with integrity. I knew we wouldn’t always get it right – and we haven’t – but we would always strive to delight and surprise our customers and when we got something wrong, we would act as quickly as possible to make things better.
When it comes to pricing our jewellery, I have tried to keep our prices as low as possible for as long as possible. It is important to me that the price you see when you click on an item is the price you will pay at the check out. Everything is transparent. No hidden costs. I’d rather give all customers free chains, lovely packaging and free UK shipping than give random customers occasional discounts. I feel confident that our prices are lower than our competitors and our quality and craftsmanship is higher – often much higher. If we don’t offer what a customer is looking for, we will point them to a competitor who does.
Having said that, I know that every pound or dollar or euro spent on a Lily Blanche product is hard earned and we are always grateful when customers choose to shop with us.
All VIP customers (those who sign up for the newsletter) receive a special discount code in the run up to Christmas and at another time of year. We also look to add value in other ways for VIP customers. They hear first if a highly popular, out of stock item is back and they hear about new collections and collaborations. If you would like to sign up to the newsletter, we promise not to bombard you with emails but we will try to make it worthwhile.