QUAINT ESSENTIALS is the brand name of Handcrafted Jewellery and Accessories made by Trish Douthwaite, a resident of Erskine, near Glasgow, Scotland. Trish is supported by her husband (Harry).
The following passages are aimed at giving you an insight, from the other person's perspective, of who we are and what are the real aims of Quaint Essentials.
Trish (by Harry)
It is always difficult to write about someone close without being 'cheesy' but I will try.
Trish is a truly inspirational character. An experienced business women in her own right, she has made jewellery for family and friends for more years than I care to remember. As a mother of two, she has focussed most of her life bringing up the kids. They have both inherited Trish's artistic genes!!
In 2002 Trish opened her first Coffee Shop in Falkirk followed in 2004 by a second outlet in a major shopping centre in Glasgow. Two months after opening the second, she fell from a pair of steps and seriously injured her spine and had to undergo emergency surgery.
Trish now suffers from Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) which is a devastating spinal cord injury which has left her in constant pain only partially relieved with drugs and badly affects her ability to stand, sit and walk.
I retired early in 2005 to run the shops in Trish's absence and to try to nurse her back to health. We sold the shops in 2006 when it became obvious that Trish's health would never improve and that she would never be able to return to running her shops herself.
Trish will openly admit that her life was devastated by the accident. After more than 6 years of constant pain and depression she again turned to her love of making jewellery for family and friends. Our local Church in Erskine asked her to do their Fair - although very nervous she agreed - it was a great success.
The local Round Table then asked her to do their Fair a few weeks later - again, it was a great success. These were the first time Trish had ever sold any of her jewellery.
After feeling isolated, depressed and bored for so many years, Trish has now found a purpose in life. Profit is secondary - Trish donates freely to various charities including Erskine Hospital and the World Wild Life Fund.
Trish's Jewellery means everything to her as it gives her so much pleasure and satisfaction. By attending Craft Fairs and other selective events throughout Scotland and England, she can again meet people - this has significantly increased her confidence and self esteem. Her flair in seeing jewellery components and colours and being able to instantly visualise how they can match and fit together is a gift that few have.
The physical pain will never go away nor will her mobility or health problems ever be cured - BUT - if making jewellery gives Trish happiness, makes her smile again, challenges her and gives her a purpose to live, I am with her all the way.
She's a VERY special person - I admire her bravery, determination and courage and love her to bits (sorry for the cheese!!)
Harry's is my third crutch as I rely on him for so much. Harry's CV is unique.
A love of cars (and speed) led him into Rallying in 1970 and within one year he turned professional , driving a Ford Escort RS1600 for Wisharts of Crook who also ran a Works Ford Capri for Gordon Spice in the British Saloon Car Championship. He still describes those days as the 'best fun' of his life!!!
In 1979 he decided to 'get a proper job' as he was always broke. He joined a major British cigarette manufacturer and with 18 months was promoted to UK Purchasing Manager. This was the beginning of a 25 year career in Purchasing & Supply Chain Management at Senior Manager / Director level.
In 1984 he joined a division of Shell Nederland's Chemie as European Purchasing Manager - a position her enjoyed until 1989.
From 1987 until 1990, Harry was elected Chairman of the Northern Purchasing Initiative (NPI) - a voluntary economic development initiative in North East England. The NPI was launched on the 31st March 1988 with Lord Whitelaw as Guest of Honour. The launch and NPI activities were extensively covered by television and the media.
In 1989 Harry joined the Northern Development Company to develop the Regional Procurement Office who worked with Inward Investors and Government Purchasing Organisations.
In 1992 Harry was appointed Group Purchasing Director for the biggest supplier to the UK's No. 1 retailer (no guessing who they are!!) - an offer Harry said he simply could not refuse as it meant total financial security. The Group employed over 7000 people supplying Menswear, Ladieswear, Childrenswear, Toiletries and Accessories. The job was Global with manufacturing throughout the UK and the Far East. Over the next several years, Harry re-engineered all the Groups supply chains with profitability increasing from £0.7m to almost £50m. The Groups turnover doubled to over £400m per year.
Harry has a unique business background with a vast knowledge of retailing, manufacturing and (importantly for Quaint Essentials) suppliers of jewellery components, in the UK, throughout Europe and the Far East.
Through Harry's knowledge and his long standing friendships with the owners and UK importers of many of these suppliers, I am able to purchase many of my raw materials and components globally and in volumes and at prices that allow me to offer my designs at very competitive prices - Harry calls that "my competitive advantage" - I just think it means I can pass on good value to Quaint Essentials customers.
Harry looks after admin for me, costs all my designs (which I hate to do) and leaves me to decide all selling prices.
As said, Harry is my third crutch, he comes to all events with me, drives me everywhere, carries all the bags, helps me set up and gets the tea when he's bored ;o)
I couldn't cope without him!!!!