Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Vintage scrappy parcels and vintage fabric

All at Rag Rescue tomorrow Wednesday 1st December

My own creations using felt and vintage fabric

Many people have asked me if I use vintage fabrics myself in my own crafts. In my spare time I make felted pieces incorporating my own Rag Rescue vintage fabrics.

I thought you might like to see a few of these.

I made the felt on the whole by the wet felting method but also by using the embellisher machine.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Vintage French boudoir doll, vintage fabric and vintage tassels

Striking vintage fabrics and a most amazing vintage French boudoir doll will be listed tomorrow morning at 7am giving you time time to check them out before you set off to work.

At last vintage fabric scrappy parcels on line now at Rag Rescue

Sorry this is late. I had lost my internet connection with 'talk talk' all day yesterday until a few moments ago this morning. I didn't get any joy from them apart from them telling me they would send me a yellow wire which would take up to 5 days to arrive. Of course this was all double Dutch to me and I thought I would have to resort to using my dongle connection on pay as you go. Thank fully I've just connected so it must have been a fault somewhere else. Obviously the talk talk engineer didn't know what he was talking about.
Isn't it dreadful how we rely so much on the internet.

Fingers crossed that my connection doesn't go down again. If you don't get tomorrow preview this evening you will know why.

Well that's my moan out of the way and I'll try and catch up with all my emails now.

More lovely vintage fabric scrappy parcels are now online. I thought I's better make some more as I had sold out.

Hope you are all keeping warm and not having too much difficulty with the snowy conditions.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

No more fairs for Rag Rescue

For those of you that haven't received  a Rag Rescue newsletter today, the news is that I will not be going to the fairs next week as the weather forecast isn't good. Snow and wind chill factors of -6 degrees would not make it pleasant.
The good news is that Rag Rescue will continue listing items now without having to be closed next week. These were going to be our last fairs anyway as we have decided that from 2011 we will concentrate on the textiles side of the business via the Rag Rescue website.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Vintage fabric and vintage haberdashery

At Rag Rescue tomorrow 24th November

Rag Rescue on Facebook

I've been meaning to get rag Rescue on Facebook  for a while now and this morning finally managed it. Although I've been on face book under Sandra Kerensky for a while now I haven't had much spare time to explore it and still need to get my head around it. Anyway would love you all to become fans of both my sites.

Oops! forgot to say you can  get there by clicking on the link on the right hand side bar.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Lots of vintage buttons to brighten up the Christmas Season

At Rag Rescue tomorrow

Article in Craft Business magazine - all about the Rag Rescue business.

On the Shopfloor

After discovering a trunk full of 1840s clothing, Sandie Kerensky decided to put her passion for textiles to good use and launch a business like no other. Read on for her inspirational story

Having worked as a special needs teacher for more than 18 years, I had grown tired of the increasing amount of time I was spending handling the managerial side of things and decided to throw caution to the wind and try something new. I was 45 years old and although it was a huge risk, I knew it was ultimately the right thing for me to do.

From a very young age, I always had a very keen interest in textiles and soon began working with my husband selling antiques. It was an amazing experience and we would literally go from one fair to another to see what we could find. However, it was not until 1996 when I came across an old trunk full of fabulous 1840s clothing, that the idea for Rag Rescue really took hold.

Following my discovery, I spent the next two weeks going through all the mesmerising items I had found to see if there was anything I could rescue. The costumes themselves were simply awe inspiring and although many of them were in a terrible state and had certainly seen better days, I was amazed at the vast amount of components – buttons, ribbons and scraps of fabric, for instance – that I was able to salvage from them.

On a mission to ensure they went to a good home, but also curious to discover whether they could present a profitable opportunity for me, I decided to take them to a couple of fairs and see if they generated any interest. The response was simply extraordinary and before long I had everyone from dealers and collectors, to designers and students asking for my goods.

Realising that I could be on to something big, I quickly began looking for other distressed fabrics, such as laces, trimmings and ribbons, that I could sell and eventually decided to launch my own website, Rag Rescue, two and a half years ago.

An Innovative Idea
Specialising in one-of-a-kind, vintage haberdashery items, the store now boasts everything from salvaged embellishments, trimmings and lace work, to rediscovered sewing cottons, silks, embroideries and needles – many of which are simply impossible to find else where.

Materials tend to come from the unlikeliest of places and I find I will often come across the most amazing products when I least expect it. However, that is not to say I am not always on the lookout for things to rescue and I spend a great deal of my time visiting house clearances, auctions, antique fairs and car-boot sales to see what I can discover. I also have many people contacting me directly to say they have recently cleared out an old relatives attic and were wondering whether I would want to see if there might be anything of interest.   

Rag Rescue certainly is not your everyday craft store and while we might sell many of the same things as traditional haberdashery outlets, the fact that our goods have been salvaged and boast such a strong and fascinating history definitely makes them stand out. 

People's perceptions have really changed over the past few years and while there will always be customers looking for the latest products and materials, most generally seem to be moving away from many of the newer, more contemporary haberdashery items on the market and gravitating towards truly authentic, vintage materials from the past instead.

Environmental matters have also become increasingly important and people are now far more interested in where their goods have come from and whether or not they have been recycled than they were before – something which has definitely worked to our advantage.

I now have customers from all over the world purchasing their materials from me and tend to do a lot of business with people in Japan, Australia, Germany, New Zealand and Europe. America has also become a surprisingly strong market for us and we seem to have developed a huge following overseas, which is great. Having said that, the UK is definitely still our biggest area.

Customers use the materials for a range of different purposes and I am often amazed at just how inventive they can be. We really do attract a very varied demographic and while we get a lot of trade from professionals – dealers, antique collectors and designers, for example – we also appeal to an astonishing number of young shoppers as well, particularly art and fashion students who will usually continue buying their goods from us once they are established and also frequently recommend the store to their fellow colleagues and friends. Of course, crafters also account for a large part of our business and we literally have everyone from quilters and sewing enthusiasts, to embroiders and dressmakers shopping with us.

Hurdles to Overcome
As a complete newcomer to the industry, the greatest challenge for me has been getting my head around the internet and advertising side of things. It has definitely not been easy and is something I have pretty much had to start learning from scratch. Fortunately, my previous interest in textiles meant I had a good understanding of that aspect of the business, so I wasn't totally clueless!

Luckily, we have been given some great media coverage in the press since our launch and although we are still nowhere near as well known as we would like to be, we have certainly done our best to get our name out there. However, it has been difficult and there is still a lot more we would like to do to ensure people know who we are and what we are known for.

Of course, cash flow is always a problem and the overhead costs of visiting fairs can be extremely expensive. At the moment, we attend around two or three a month and have to fork out about £500 each time, which isn't cheap! 

The economic downturn has also been an obstacle and although we have not been affected by it personally, I have definitely noticed a change in our customers' behaviour and, whereas in the past most people would purchase as many items as they wanted from us during their visits to the site, we are now finding that shoppers are being more cautious and only buying one or two products at a time. They are also being a lot more careful about the choices they make and testing the waters before making their decisions.

Fortunately, we do not appear to have suffered at all so far and have actually experienced a massive boost in our sales over the past year, which is pretty amazing given the current climate. In fact, we are now selling approximately 500 to 600 of our items each month and have seen our customer base increase enormously since we launched.

Brighter Musings
At the moment, our smaller fabrics seem to be the most in favour, with consumers mixing and matching different materials to come up with their own designs. We are also seeing a growing number of people incorporate our accessories into their everyday garments – stitching old buttons onto new jackets, for example – to create something completely unique.

Our vintage French toile is also incredibly popular right now and literally sells out as soon as it goes on sale, with other materials from France also doing especially well. Anything from the 50s or 60s is also very much in favour and we are always on the lookout for new things from forgotten eras that we can stock.

Generally speaking, there seems to be a lot of interest in vintage clothing and materials at the moment and a number of different factors – the economy and environment, in particular – are encouraging a growing number of people to make their own things. Whether it's sewing an old ribbon onto one of their t-shirts or making an entire quilt out of scraps of old fabrics, customers are definitely more interested in reusing previously-owned items than they once were, which is great.

At present, I am really enjoying running the business and plan to put all my efforts into making it as successful as I possibly can. For me, Rag Rescue has never been about generating a big profit – although that is, of course, important – but ensuring that some of the world's most beautiful, hand-crafted pieces are not forgotten, but enjoyed, valued and recognised for as long as possible.”

Vintage Briggs Penelope fibre embroidery silks.

These beautiful silks are vintage and from Briggs Penelope range. They are made of vegetable fibre, well wood pulp actually. The label reads brighter than silk and they really do shine.

All being listed this morning at 7am at the RAG RESCUE WEBSITE

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

French vintage fabric toile - Childs play series

I've called the above five pieces of French vintage fabric toile, Childs play as I don't know the exact name of the design. Just thought it described them well.
Really great designs to add to your quilt, journal or postcards etc. As I only had five washed and ironed I've added another Arts and Crafts designed embroidery as the other one has sold quickly.
All will be listed tomorrow morning at 7am

Congratulations to William and Kate - start designing your wedding crafts to sell before the big day. I'll be looking out for those special fabrics and trims.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Back from my trip to Liverpool

Vintage goods being listed tomorrow at Rag Rescue

Thanks to everyone for being patient and waiting for your orders to be posted tomorrow.

The weekend  was superb in Liverpool, especially the production of the John Lennon play as well as the Japanese and Turkish meals we had. Our Japanese friend and her husband made us very welcome and I feel very refreshed now, or at least will do tomorrow when I've had a good night's sleep.

Back to work tomorrow and there will be lots of lovely items coming up this week.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Vintage fabrics being listed at rag Rescue on Saturday and Sunday

I am going away for a weekend break so am showing the items that will be listed on Saturday and Sunday. All orders will be posted on Monday morning.

Items being listed on the RAG RESCUE WEBSITE on Saturday 13th November

Items being listed on Sunday 14th November 

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Vintage fabric scrapbags only £3.50 each

If you have only just discovered the Rag Rescue website why not look through the vintage fabric scrapbag section. Each scrapbag contains four pieces of vintage fabric each piece measuring 18cms x 12cms, all for only £3.50
I have sold hundreds of these scrapbags over the past 6 months and all customers have been delighted with them. They are great for a whole variety of crafts, design work and patchwork.

The above six scrapbags will be added to the website tomorrow morning at 7am.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Rose designed vintage fabric squares from the 1930/40's

All cotton vintage fabric squares from the 1930s and 1940's.

These vintage fabrics come from the French German border and many of them are made from Egyptian cotton so I am told, which is why they have lasted so well and in such good condition.

All at Rag Rescue tomorrow

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Beautiful pink vintage fabric scrapbags with floral designs and tiny pink roses.

Tomorrow is the start of another vintage fabric week. I will be listing beautiful English, French and German vintage fabrics in the form of scrapbags, squares and scrappy parcels.
Pink is the colour scheme of next week, with fabulous floral designs including lots of tiny roses.
So... tomorrow there are 6 vintage fabric scrapbags.

All at the Rag Rescue website, listing at 7am, so don't miss out.