From Stressed To Blessed In A Day.

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.

The dog is unimpressed

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”.

Lily Blanche Memory Keeper Locket

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!!”

LILY BLANCHE Garnet Vintage Heart Locket

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.

Gillian x

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Respect, Honesty, Integrity And A Word About Discounting

 

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.

Lily Blanche is designed to surprise and delight

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.

This has led to me pulling entire lines if two customers have been unhappy with an item, casting a single earring if a customer has lost just one and having a chain specially made for a customer who needed a size we didn’t stock. It doesn’t always make financial sense but it is always worth it when measured against those benchmarks of respect, honesty, integrity and customer satisfaction.

Lily Blanche Memory Keeper Locket

 

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 and free 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. As a thank you, we offer 10% off first orders when you sign up to our newsletter and then at least two significant discounts a year at a time when it might make a real difference.

All VIP customers (those who sign up for the newsletter) receive a 20% off 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.

To become a Lily Blanche VIP and receive 10% off your first order, sign up here.

 

Victoria’s Jewels

VICTORIA14_glamour_26aug16_itv_b_720x1080When we haven’t been swooning over Rufus Sewell’s world-weary Lord Melbourne or declaring “I am beyond peaches” with the back of our hand pressed melodramatically to our brow a la the wronged and dying Lady Flora, we’ve been star struck by the costumes and jewellery in the ITV mini-series Victoria. The imperious Jenna Coleman carries off tiara after tiara, Star of Empire brooches and gobstopper diamond necklaces with aplomb, not to mention the Imperial State Crown – all 7lbs, 6oz of it.

Imperial_State_Crown_-_Seitenansicht_von_unten

The Victorians loved jewellery and their eclectic taste at a time of incredible industrial and technological advance means that their treasures are among the most sought after collectors’ items. There was a massive vogue for all things Scottish during Queen Victoria’s reign. Tartan crinolines, Paisley shawls and luckenbooth brooches were all propelled in the the fashion spotlight by the Queen, in much the same way as the Kate Middleton effect works for British designers today.

Victorian jewels

The cutting and polishing of precious stones improved immeasurably with the new tools and technology of the industrial revolution, not to mention the explosion in design and creativity, exemplified by the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace in 1851.

In jewellery, classical designs became popular, boosted by the widespread interest in new archaeological discoveries in Greece, Rome and Egypt. Naturalistic designs, encrusted or enameled gemstone fruit and flowers, were staunch favourites. Botany became popular in the wake of the expansion of Empire and the establishment of botanical gardens across the country and this new interest was reflected in jewellery fashions. The influence of romantic poets, such as Wordsworth and Byron, and of the Preraphaelite artists meant that romantic pieces were also popular.

Queen_Elizabeth_II_pearls

At Lily Blanche we specialise in taking the best aspects of vintage styles and marrying them with 21st century techniques and design.

LILY BLANCHE Garnet Vintage Heart Locket
LILY BLANCHE Garnet Vintage Heart Locket

A number of our key pieces are based on  Victorian designs, such as the Lily Blanche Amethyst Locket, the Vintage Heart Locket and the Memory Keeper Locket, which opens to take six photographs. Our Creative Director Gillian Crawford has a degree in archaeology from Edinburgh University, with a special interest in ancient metallurgy. She has a passion for antique jewellery.

LILY BLANCHE Vintage Amethyst Locket in sterling silver £180.
LILY BLANCHE Vintage Amethyst Locket.

Our favourite resource for studying vintage jewellery is the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. If you haven’t been, do visit. It is a wonderful treasure trove which never fails to inspire us.

Lily Blanche Memory Keeper Locket
Lily Blanche Memory Keeper Locket

Kristen Stewart Nails The Layered Pendant Look At Cannes

All the attention has been on Kristen Stewart’s new bleached blonde hair which she unveiled on the red carpet at Cannes but at Lily Blanche we were interested in the way she nailed the layered pendant look. Long and short pendants in mixed metals, worn together are a key look for summer and the queen of tom-boy chic pulled it off effortlessly.

The new Lily Blanche Bird, Bee, Feather and Key collections have been devised with layering and stacking in mind. Choose a 24 inch chain on the statement locket and team it with an 18 inch or 16 inch detail pendant in contrasting metal. Below are the Gold Bird Locket and the Gold Bird pendant. An alternative look is the Rose Gold Feather Locket teamed with the Rose Gold Feather pendant. It’s the perfect way to rejuvenate a favourite summer outfit and be on trend.

 

Kristen Stewart rocks the layered pendant look at Cannes.
Kristen Stewart rocks the layered pendant look at Cannes.