09Mar

Gift Frippery

Frippery – what a brilliant word. In fact, it’s one that comes up quickly in conversation when you get chatting to Amanda White. It ought to really, given it’s her business. More than that, it’s her nature. Frippery by name & frippery by nature.

I know what you’re thinking – what the blooming heck does frippery mean? It’s a good question and one that neatly explains Amanda’s business – it’s the rather quirky trimmings that accessorise a wrapped present, the ribbons, the buttons, the bows, the bangles – put it all together & what have you got? Gift Frippery.

Not only is it a noun, but as you chat away to Amanda, it quickly becomes a verb – ‘to fripperise’ a present. A present really isn’t complete until it’s been fripperised. Ok – so you’ve got your head around the word ‘frippery’, but already I can sense the next question – how the devil does some one make a living out of fripperisng? Let me explain more.

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I first met Amanda a few months ago, her chatty & easy going nature meant we quickly clicked. It’s impossible not to like some one who wraps presents for a living. Her very manner is cheerful & positive, as you would hope for some who makes gifts look beautiful for a living.

A mum to 3 grown up children, she describes the throws of her child rearing years as being a ‘Blue Peter mother’ – that combined with being a primary teacher, that house was always full of ‘frippery bits’. Drift wood, empty boxes, ribbons & buttons – anything you could turn into something else, got neatly squirrelled away waiting for a project.

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In fact, to hear her describe her house, sounds like the hubbub of activity, with glue guns at the ready for any adventure. Yet it wasn’t until her husband called upon her talents one year to help wrap up some clients Christmas presents, she stumbled upon her business. With several bottles of wine to wrap & cheap wrapping paper chosen by her other half, she quickly rose to the challenge. In fact, she did such a good job, she was given the task again the following year.

Of course she rose to the challenge, but this time with a few ground rules – she would choose the paper! A production line of presents were wrapped, each one fripperised with baubles & bows. Her husband was so impressed, he insisted on driving them straight to the office, so people could see them in the morning, in all their glory together.

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And that was the moment – the defining moment that every business seems to have, when the germ of an idea is sewn. It was only then, when his secretary exclaimed how amazing they looked & Amanda ought to do it for a living, that suddenly she realised she was on to something. Dare she? Could she? Would any one take a gift wrapping business seriously?

Of course they could & they did. Though it wasn’t until her youngest son left home, the idea came to fruition. Aware the kitchen table wasn’t going to be full of his usual creative mess, she seized the day – now was the time to fripperise for a living. In case you think it’s all trip & nonsense, Amanda is practical woman by heart. You don’t have to spend a fortune to make something look beautiful – in fact, just take a look around your kitchen and there is usually something to hand.

She explained this to me as we took a walk around St Nics Market, looking for bits to fripperise with. After all, it’s all well & good having the time to mosey round a market for ideas, but there has to be an element of reality as well. Of course there is – practical by nature & creative in style, Amanda can quickly clip a few bits from her garden, wrap with some brown paper & suddenly you have a fresh frippery wrapped present – capturing all the aroma of outdoors. She’s both resourceful & inspirational. I found myself thinking about how to turn my toddlers art work – huge splashes of colour on paper, into beautifully wrapped presents, with neatly matched bows.

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It doesn’t just stop at gift wrapping. There are gift wrapping workshops run throughout the year, perfect for hen dos, or baby showers – a neat little way to personalise a present. Inevitably Christmas is always going to be her busiest time of year, but meanwhile she runs workshops for the National Trust & countless features in magazines.

There is something about Amanda which is impossible not to like, have a listen to her tell her story & I’m sure you’ll soon be gift frippery-ing.

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