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Mirror, mirror

Jane Vanroe tells Gift Focus how she created her stunning compact mirrors and went on to launch Vanroe Compacts

Six years ago my closest friend turned thirty. I wanted to surprise her with a beautiful compact mirror she could keep. My grandmother had been given a compact for her 21st and I thought it was such a perfect gift. I designed jewellery at the time so I looked for a mirror with the magic of a sparkling new necklace or ring. But nothing seemed to have that special quality. So I thought, how hard can it be? I set out to design my own. But it wasn't until another two years later that my friend finally received her compact mirror!
Thankfully though she was delighted with her very belated gift and now I design beautiful compact mirrors for a living after setting up my business, Vanroe Compacts. Presented in an elegant gift-box and velvet pouch, the new English Garden collection is created especially for gift retailers. The collection has seven new compact mirrors designed from my original paintings. I've chosen timeless garden motifs like pretty butterflies, lavender flowers and water lilies.
The compacts are often given across generations, from mother to daughter or to grandmother, so I specialise in a classic, elegant style. The weight and feel of compact mirrors is important for gift-givers so we've made the English Garden collection with real tempered-glass domes. The glass is wonderfully tactile and gives the perfect weight. The compact cases are made in metal, hand-finished in chrome and are etched to sparkle under the light. Our big achievement was to launch this jewel-like collection at just SRP £29. It's been on a steep learning curve since my first compact mirror.
Customers found us quickly online and one of my earliest orders was 160 mirrors for a wedding in Los Angeles! My first instinct was to cry. Luckily my husband, Alistair, has a background in finance and operations, so he became my business partner and started work on my supply chains. We now sell online to customers in the USA, UK and Europe. We've been the best-selling gift compact mirror on Amazon for the last two years. Many gift retailers have mixed feelings about Amazon, but for us it's been the best place to test and refine our collection. It's taken us four years to be wholesale-ready and in the meantime, I worked on a conference to support the high street, with people like the Association of Town Centre Management, Folksy and Totally Locally. So we're conscious of the challenges faced by independent retailers and are excited about providing a great gift and service.
We launched Vanroe's wholesale business with the English Garden collection at The Home & Gift Buyers' Festival in Harrogate. Retailers can now plan for in-hand delivery and as a thank you for early orders there's no minimum order quantity until the end of September. We're already working on the next gift collection to be announced later this year.
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