Jules Haines is reducing waste in the interiors industry with her ingenious business that resells leftover fabrics. Absolutely quizzes her…
By Pendle Harte
“There are resale platforms for fashion like Vestiaire Collective or Depop, so why not one for the interiors industry?”
What is the Haines Collection?
Our mission at the Haines Collection is to reduce waste in the interiors industry by selling leftover and unwanted designer fabrics, wallpaper, lights and accessories.
What made you start thinking about waste in the interiors industry?
I worked for a textile designer for five years and I saw first-hand the waste in the industry. I’ve experienced the frustrations of having scraps and leftover designs as a brand, and not having a beautiful platform to represent them. People are so busy often the easiest option is to chuck it out, or it feels like a hassle to think about what can be done with small scraps. Warehouses can buy designers’ old stock for a tiny fraction of the price, whereas you know it’s worth much more than that – so I work on behalf of the designers and manufacturers to sell their unwanted stock. There are resale platforms for fashion like Vestiaire Collective or Depop, so why not one for the interiors industry?
How did you come to start Haines?
The idea finally solidified after a chance meeting in a pop-up shop in my home town of Tunbridge Wells. A soft furnishings business owner was selling a range of luxury leftover fabric, and I heard him say what a hassle doing a shop once a year was, but he couldn’t see this going to waste. It made me think that there should be someone who could offer that high end resale service, a better option than ebay. I knew printers and designers who have waste, all a by-product of what they do and something they don’t have time to deal with. So I emailed him, had a meeting and he became my first supplier, and still is! I had a one year-old and a three year-old at the time, plus a four day a week job so I started it at a low level on the side for a year, and then in early 2020 I was able to officially launch the business and work on it full time.
How does it work?
Designers and makers approach us with information and photos of their leftover stock and we sell it on our website for around half the retail price. Often we don’t see the fabric or item, the trade just use us as their sales platform. We try and be as flexible as possible to suit the needs of the supplier: some people just want us to buy it outright, and some want to donate stock, in which case we are able to give a proportion of sales revenue to charity. We add new stock to the website at 6:30pm every Monday, so it’s worth keeping your diary free as when it’s gone it’s gone! Generally it’s small volume, so we are useful for fabric buying for blinds, cushions and small upholstery projects. We can’t always supply samples and our fabric can take up to two weeks to arrive if we aren’t sending it from our office – but it’s always worth the wait.
How do you source items?
We have been very lucky and most of our suppliers have come to us organically – they have read about what we are doing in interiors magazines, word of mouth, or found us on Instagram. We handpick everything on our website so it is a curated collection of luxury waste, but all in perfect condition and ready for a second home. We are exhibiting at Decorex this year to get more suppliers and let more people know about what we are doing and how we can help them reduce their waste.
Can you tell us about the collaboration with Levis?
This was a dream come true! It started with a DIY project I had in mind, as I came across a beautiful scrap of embroidered fabric that I thought would look amazing on the back of a jacket. Luckily one of the members of our team knew someone at Levi’s and so we approached them with our idea – knowing that the Levi’s Haus shop sells only upcycled denim and has in-house tailors to make bespoke items. We then chose six designers to work with us, designers who we have worked with or have a similar ethos to us, and used their beautiful scraps to upcycle Levi’s items. We love the concept of upcycled fashion textiles and upcycled interiors textiles coming together in a way that we had not seen before. It was a huge success, Levi’s extended the collaboration to last six weeks and it has now moved up to their Manchester Levi’s store.
Are your workshops popular and will you be expanding them?
Our Lampshade Workshops are so popular, they usually sell out in hours. I love them but there is only one of me so I need to juggle them with my day job which is sometimes a bit of a challenge being out of the office often. Lampshade making is really therapeutic so it’s always a really special few hours where creatives get together and you come home with a totally bespoke shade that will look amazing in your house. You are upcycling a leftover piece of fabric as well as saving money buying new!
What are your best-sellers?
We mostly sell fabric and the designs that fly off the shelves are the new designs by the top design houses like Ottoline and Molly Mahon, but as always these are in small volume and one-off. It’s a case of fastest fingers first when buying on a Monday night! We never know what we are going to have so it’s worth always checking on the website.
What’s next for Haines?
We are launching a mini-series in late October where I chat to businesses such as Edward Bulmer who are focused on being an eco-friendly option when shopping for your home. There is so much to learn about how we can be more sustainable when shopping, so I’m hoping people are keen to come on the journey with us.
In late November we will open our Eco Christmas Gift Shop that has a range of luxury gifts made from our upcycled fabrics such as wool tote bags, silk eye masks and a bag for all of your gift wrapping needs.
We have lots of new projects and collaborations coming up and are launching a new section of our website in January but that is all still under wraps!
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