Gift Focus inc Attire Accessories - July/August 2022

72 When did you start up and why? Jarapa started very gradually from a small market stall 20 years ago. Stewart was regularly travelling to Spain and fell in love with the recycled cotton rugs he saw there. People started asking him about selling the rugs wholesale and we grew from there. The recycled glassware seemed a natural fit and three years ago we started making the recycled glass lamps here in the UK. We now have a triple bay warehouse in Somerset and ship our products all over the UK. What prompted you to launch the business? It really has been organic growth from very small roots. Stewart never wanted to work for anyone else and the business just grew. What challenges have you overcome since the company’s launch? We’ve been through some tough scrapes; we’ve had stock stolen en-route from the EU, the gradual decline in the rate of the pound against the Euro, the financial crash. More recently we’ve stopped almost all exports because the postBrexit rules have made it too expensive and onerous to make it worthwhile. We recently had a huge issue with lamp fittings because for some reason new bulbs were being made slightly differently and didn’t work with the UK fittings! This is all resolved now. Tell us about your product offering. Our whole ethos is based around recycled, natural and local. Our recycled glass is only sourced within the EU, we make our lamps and shades here in the UK, and we try to make every step of our supply chain and operations as ecofriendly as possible. We sell the broadest range of recycled glassware and glass lamps in the UK. What are your most popular products? Anything in blue – light blue, petrol blue, ocean blue – in vases or lamps, people love it. We’ve noticed this year greens are becoming really popular and also, as the cost of living crisis kicks in, people are buying more of our smaller items; bathroom sets, candlesticks and small vases. We can’t buy enough bud vases for example, people just love their colours and price point. Have any styles taken you by surprise with their popularity? I’m always surprised by the range of tastes and styles people have – what one person loves another will hate. When we introduced the candlesticks last year for example, we never thought they’d be as popular as they are. How do you keep your designs fresh and current? Do you follow trends? We listen to our customers. We try to know all our customers and spend time talking to them, either at trade fairs, on the phone or when they visit our trade showroom here in Somerset. We’re always on the lookout for new suppliers; we add new products to our range regularly and alter colours to keep our offering relevant. What sets you apart from your competitors? Even though we’ve grown, we try to keep that small, friendly company mentality. We love to talk to our customers and go the extra mile to ensure they get what they want. For instance, if a customer