Broadway to Barbados

Jenny Blanc Blog - Broadway to BarbadosWhen you think of Barbados, you may see (think of) miles of golden beaches, the clear blue sea or maybe the native green monkeys. I doubt you would think of Broadway musicals and yet the glitz and glamour of Broadway has arrived in Barbados! 

We are delighted to have been able to support our good friend and client, Mr Robert Bourque with his charitable trust “Broadway to Barbados” over the past five years.  The trust brings over some of Broadway’s biggest stars from New York to take the guests through a musical journey of popular Broadway hits.

The trust was created to help buy vital equipment for Barbados’ main hospital, The Queen Elizabeth, which services not only Barbados but provides emergency care for many of the surrounding islands.  When Mr Bourque approached us we were only too happy to support such a worthy cause. This year our Barbados showroom has donated some beautiful bespoke gifts to go into the event’s silent auction.  We will continue to support this wonderful initiative for as they say on Broadway, “The show must go on!”

Jenny Blanc Blog - Broadway to Barbados - What We Do

Jenny Blanc welcomes Shakieta Marshall to the team in Barbados…

Jenny Blanc Blog - Supports Princes Trust International

Prince’s Trust International is a youth charity recently established in Barbados with the aim of helping disadvantaged young people on the island gain vital skills to move into education, training or employment. The Trust, formally launched last November in Malta by its President HRH The Prince of Wales, has partnered in Barbados with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth for the first pilots of the ‘’Get Into’’ employability programme on the island. Jenny Blanc were delighted to support Prince’s Trust International by offering a work experience opportunity at our Barbados showroom during September 2016.

Jenny Blanc Blog - Interior Design Barbados

Shakieta Marshall has a strong interest in Interior Design and is very creative both as a current student of the Barbados Community College’s Art and Design programme and in her own time. Prince’s Trust International’s ‘’Get Into’’ programme provided the opportunity for Shakieta to begin to bridge the gap between education and employment. Shakieta spent a week and a half at our showroom in St. James where she gained hands on experience with some of the most important areas of the business. Whilst based in the showroom Shakieta assisted the team with pricing, cleaning and greeting customers as well as filing and organising fabric samples. Shakieta also visited our warehouse to measure, count and catalogue the fabric stock, giving her an overview of some of the practicalities of running a design and retail showroom.

Design Director Sue Thomas-Richardson who is Barbadian herself was based at the showroom during this time and was able to conduct training with Shakieta on floor planning, drafting, how to work effectively with design clients as well as taking Shakieta on a site visit to a West Coast residence. Shakieta put her knowledge and training to the test drafting a lamp and shade for a customer request.

Jenny Blanc Blog - Barbados Showroom

The work experience placement was a real success and Jenny Blanc would like to thank Shakieta for all of her hard work. We’re happy to report that Shakieta will be staying on with us, working in the showroom on Saturdays. We look forward to her continued development towards a successful career in Interior Design!

Celebrating 50 Years of Independence!

Jenny Blanc Blog - Barbados Independence

Above right: Map of Barbados from Ins & Outs magazine 2016.

Wednesday 30th November 2016 marks 50 years of independence for the island of Barbados and Jenny Blanc are very pleased and proud to join in the celebrations at our design showroom on the West Coast of the island. Our windows have been transformed for the occasion with beautiful floral arrangements reflecting the colours of the Barbadian flag. Fabulous African head ties in fabrics specially designed for the occasion and accents of gold provide the finishing touch for this ‘golden’ Anniversary.

Jenny Blanc Blog - Barbados Showroom

The island will be alive with events and celebrations all week – the Jenny Blanc showroom will be closed on Wednesday 30th November reopening Thursday 1st December.

Jenny Blanc Blog - Barbados Showroom 2

Farewell to Tyra…

JennyBlncBlog - Tyra Yolanda Caribbean Director Emma Blanc and Sian Davies

Above, clockwise left to right: Tyra Woodroffe, Yolanda Haynes, Emma Blanc, Sian Davies.

Tyra Woodroffe is our Design Showroom Assistant in Barbados and the winner of the inaugural Jenny Blanc Design Scholarship, in partnership with the Barbados Community College. Before we bid her farewell as she begins an exciting new chapter (furthering her design education in New York) Tyra has a few words to share about her time with the Jenny Blanc team!

Jenny Blanc Blog - Caribbean Director Emma Blanc (left) presents Tyra with her scholarship.

Above: Caribbean Director Emma Blanc (left) presents Tyra with her scholarship.

As I approach my last few weeks with Jenny Blanc Interiors, I reflect fondly on my time as the first design scholarship winner. It has been an exciting journey of change from being a curious design student, to someone who has been able to witness firsthand, the processes, skill and dedication it takes to run a successful, inspirational design practice. And to believe that it all began almost two years ago!

My start at Jenny Blanc was a wonderful one with my time at the London showroom and design studio. Having the opportunity to experience travel is incredibly enriching in itself, as it encourages personal growth and expands one’s knowledge substantially. Added to that was the great hospitality and mentorship I was fortunate to experience in my 6 months with the UK Team.  In such a creative field, actually being able to see, feel and interact with all the aspects that make a beautiful scheme come together is invaluable. And while with the UK design team lead by Design director Sue Thomas, I was able to witness the decision making process in an environment where access to a plethora of resources such as fabric, lighting and furniture is unlimited.

Jenny Blanc Blog - Tyra and the Jenny Blanc London team in 2014.

Above: Tyra and the Jenny Blanc London team in 2014.

Jenny Blanc Blog - Barbados Scheme Designed by Tyra in London

Above: A scheme for Barbados designed by Tyra during her time in London.

Although this time abroad was so stimulating, eventually homesickness set in and I happily returned to Barbados ready to take on second leg of the learning experience. The lovely Barbadian showroom provided a setting for me to find out all about retail, visual merchandising and installations as we manage local projects.  The Barbadian team lead by Caribbean Director Emma Blanc have provided a unique shopping experience on the island with products both local and from around the globe.

Jenny Blanc Blog - Tyra Returns Barbados Community College

Above: Tyra returns to Barbados Community College with fabric samples gifted by Jenny Blanc, to help future students with their work.

Even after the prescribed one year duration of the scholarship had elapsed, the team was gracious enough to keep me on as the Assistant Showroom Manager where I’ve had such an unforgettable time. Every site visit, every satisfied shopper and every trade show have further solidified my passion for design. It was only natural that I take the next step and pursue even more experience and higher education for this career path. I am therefore, off once again for a full B.Sc Degree in Interior Design from an accredited New York university.

Jenny Blanc Blog - Tyra at Clients Consultation in Barbados

Above: Tyra at Just Rooms client consultations in Barbados.

Despite excitedly anticipating this new chapter, is not without some sadness that I leave the fantastic Jenny Blanc establishment after having nestled so comfortably into its embrace. But I do so with heaps of affection and gratitude for my colleagues and confident that I’ve been equipped with an impenetrable foundation for the future of my interior design craft.

– Tyra Woodroffe

Jenny Blanc Blog - Tyra at a UK design project site visit.

Above: Tyra at a UK design project site visit.

Visit the blog archives to read more about the Jenny Blanc Design Scholarship, Tyra’s time in the UK and her return to Barbados.

Barbados Shines at Chelsea Flower Show!

Jenny Blanc Blog - Chelsea Flower Show

The Barbados Horticultural Society’s ‘This Place Barbados’ garden at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show.

Jenny Blanc Blog - Jenny Blanc Picture

Jenny Blanc

Last week London was abuzz with the excitement of the Chelsea Flower Show (widely considered to be the ‘greatest flower show on earth’). I thoroughly enjoyed it this year as always however, today I’m going to be handing the reins over to Design Director Sue Thomas-Richardson who has a very personal connection with one garden in particular. So without further ado – over to Sue!

 

Jenny Blanc Blog - Sue Thomas-Richardson

Sue Thomas-Richardson

‘As a Barbadian born and bred, I was of course delighted that the Barbados Horticultural Society have been awarded a gold medal (their eighteenth in 28 consecutive years) at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. My mother is a long serving member of the BHS and brought the first Barbados exhibit to Chelsea Flower show in 1985. She was heavily involved every year after until her retirement in 2010 at the grand age of 88 so it has a very personal connection for me. Barbados is a very small island but thanks to the dedication of members of the BHS and it’s team of volunteers (both on the island and here in the UK) we can not only have a presence at a world class exhibition such as the Chelsea Flower Show but take home a gold medal – an absolutely incredible achievement!

Jenny Blanc Blog - Ainsley Harriot Entertains Press and Visitors

A Chelsea pensioner (left) and Ainsley Harriott (right), long-time friend of the island of Barbados, entertain press and visitors at the show last Monday.

 The theme for the 2016 exhibit, ‘This Place Barbados’  (in a year when we celebrate 50 years as an Independent Nation) vividly depicts the shape and topography of the island, complete with the country’s 11 Parishes, each one represented by different flowers and foliage, surrounded by several quintessential natural features and attractions. From the vibrant colours of Bridgetown Market and the Oistins fishing village in the south, to the swaying sugar cane and golden rum of St. Lucy in the north, visitors to the exhibit enjoyed a visual trip around Barbados that also magically reveals the magnificent underground splendour of Harrisons Cave and the lush botanical gardens found within the fertile tropical interior, including Orchid World, Andromeda, Flower Forest and Hunte’s Garden.

Jenny Blanc Blog - Flowers and Foliage Display

Perhaps even more impressive than the garden itself though is the work that goes on behind the scenes by the Barbados Horticultural Society and its team of dedicated volunteers to bring this little corner of Barbados to Chelsea. Every bloom and piece of foliage used in the garden was grown on the island before being carefully packed into 72 cases and flown to London, free of charge, by Virgin Atlantic. It is worthy of mention that the judges at Chelsea pay special attention to the condition and quality of the individual blooms and foliage so the Barbados Horticultural Society team deserves further high commendation for successfully growing and acquiring such magnificent floral material at a time when Barbados was suffering drought conditions.

Jenny Blanc Blog - Barbados Horticultural Society Team

One of the significant secondary roles of the BHS exhibit at Chelsea is to promote the importance of tourism to the economy and lifestyle of Barbados, as well as to portray how the amazing beauty of our natural environment is an integral factor in making our island such an attractive place to live or visit. On Monday’s special Celebrity and Media Day, Ainsley Harriott, long term friend of the country, charmed and entertained a steady stream of representatives of the press and media for over two hours. The tremendous BHS success story at the Chelsea Flower Show is a classic example of how Barbadians can achieve truly world-class standards when they work together as a team.’

The stunning photographs of the Barbados Horticultural Society’s ‘This Place Barbados’ garden seen here were taken by award winning flower and garden photographer Derek St Romaine. You can see more of his wonderful work on his website Garden Photo Library

I hope you have enjoyed todays peek at the ‘This Place Barbados’ garden! This year’s show is a particularly special one with Cleve West (who created the garden at our London showroom when we first opened 20 years ago) winning a gold medal for his ‘M&G Garden’. Raymond Blanc providing hospitality and my Son Olivier Blanc assisting with the Tom Smith Plant’s garden (pictured below). The Tom Smith Plant’s garden is a container grown fruit and vegetable garden designed to show what can be grown in a small space and was awarded a silver gilt medal at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. At last year’s Hampton Court Flower Show Oli won a bronze medal for his garden based on the world of Henri Le Worm, a colourful character created by Oli and his business partner, Charlotte Salt, which aims to inspire and educate children about growing, cooking and eating good food. The garden featured wonderful examples of home grown fruit and veg kindly provided by Tom Hare Plants so Oli was very pleased to be able to reciprocate and lend a hand at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. You can read about Oli’s success at last year’s Hampton Court Flower Show here and learn more about Henri Le Worm and his friends by visiting the website at www.henrileworm.com

Jenny Blanc Blog - Selection of The Tom Smith Plants Garden

Above: Rainbow chard, beetroot and lettuce at The Tom Smith Plants Garden at this year’s Chelsea Flower show.

Jenny Blanc Blog - Orange Tree and Leeks at The Tom Smith Plants Garden

Above: An orange tree and leek at The Tom Smith Plants Garden at this year’s Chelsea Flower show.

Did you attend the Chelsea Flower Show this year? Do let me know your highlights!

Dreams do come true… celebrating our 20th Anniversary in style!

Jenny Blanc Blog - 20 Years Floral Arrangement

Jenny Blanc Blog - Jenny Blanc End of Summer

Jenny Blanc

This Wednesday marks 20 years to the day that Chrissie Marshall and I opened the doors to our beautiful showroom here in West London. Help us celebrate and join us for a glass of bubbly at our London or Barbados showrooms for the rest of this month! Enjoy some party nibbles and take 20% off the price of everything in store – our treat to say thank you for all your support over the last 20 years.

When I look at how far we have come I can’t quite believe it! Our vision back then was to be a source of beautiful, original furnishings, accessories and interiors expertise where people could shop in an environment that felt like a home from home.

Jenny Blanc's Beautiful Storefront Teddington

After we opened our Teddington showroom we very quickly found ourselves designing homes for a very loyal, local client base. When those clients outgrew their West London town houses and moved out to the country, they brought us with them to create the perfect family home for this new phase of their lives.

Having Barbadian Design Director Sue Thomas-Richardson on board from the outset proved invaluable as our reputation gradually grew by word of mouth and we started designing tropical holiday homes for our clients in Barbados and other islands. With our Caribbean client base growing and Sue’s unparalleled understanding of the island, it was an easy decision to open our showroom in Barbados – a dream which came true in 2011! My inspiration was always to create the best Interior Design showroom on the island and this is certainly something we have achieved – my daughter Emma Blanc is now firmly rooted on the island and as Caribbean Director, is perfectly placed to run the showroom as well as providing a very personal link for our design clients on the island.

Jenny Blanc Blog - Barbados Showroom

Today, with five International Property Awards under our belt (including the much coveted ‘World’s Best Interior Design, Private Residence’ in 2012), two stunning lifestyle showrooms, an exclusive range of Barbados made furniture as well as our own range of home accessories, I couldn’t be happier – or busier!

The sterling silver monkey bowl pictured above is our own unique design and is one of the pieces I’m the most proud of. Using natural coconut shells, each bowl is hand made by a skilled artisan – stylish, unusual and also versatile, it represents everything we stand for.

Before we dive headfirst into the next 20 years, here’s a little look at some of my favourite moments from the journey so far!

Jenny Blanc Blog - Photo Collage