It’s Friday and I’m bagged. Week 19. Melt.

Author: Jacqueline

Grab a coffee or tea and join us each Friday, to learn how these Soak worthy bags came to be. Are you bagged? Send us your favorite bag. If we feature it here, we’ll send you a Soak gift pack, in a pretty bag, of course!


There has been great debate about whether this blog is about just Soak, or great products in general. Is it commercial, or personal? Is it promotional or creative exploration? Well, we’re not ready to commit either way, but we feel that anything that inspires us enough to share should be included.

Sometimes it is about Soak, sometimes our customers, sometimes, like today, brilliant design, merchandising and products in totally unrelated fields. Today, I bring you, Melt.

While in London (yes, there’ll be several posts about great British discoveries), we discovered, at Liberty of London in the ‘confectionery department’, Melt chocolates. More specifically, hot chocolate lollipops.  A stick of perfectly square chocolate, wrapped in vividly coloured papers, filled with deliciousness.  Single origin hot chocolate blocks, as they are called. Hand made in their own kitchen.

Directions: swirl the lollipop in steeped milk and enjoy. How decadent.

A few steps from Portobello Road in a posh neighbourhood in Notting Hill, we found a Melt retail store. There were bars of chocolate, truffles and other caramel treats in the most perfectly elegant space.

There was even a Melt bike for carrying chilled bundles of deliciousness around town.

As I was leaving with my perfectly lovely bag filled with hot chocolate lollipops, I couldn’t resist photographing the shop, to share it with you. From brand to bar, Melt is a true example of a leading company. Check them out; we hope you’ll be as inspired as we were. Oh, and yes, the hot chocolate was delicious!


It’s Friday and I’m bagged. Week 18: Part 2, Feast of Fabric.

Author: Jacqueline  

Grab a coffee or tea and join us each Friday, to learn how these Soak worthy bags came to be. Are you bagged? Send us your favorite bag. If we feature it here, we’ll send you a Soak gift pack, in a pretty bag, of course!


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Katherine called it the Mother Ship. Some refer to it as Mecca. You may know it as Liberty of London. This London-based department store is, in my opinion, the perfect store. I could live there (on the fourth floor, in modern antiques/home textiles to be exact). I would venture to the second floor for cosmetics, linens and art deco printed towels and go to the ground floor for sweets, garden accessories and an endless supply of scarves. 
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Most importantly though, I would spend time on the fifth floor, in the haberdashery. Four walls. One yarn, one fabric, one crafts, and one of books and trinkets. An endless wall of Liberty prints is truely my quilting dream come true. I bought six half yards of decadent fabrics as well as an assortment of cotton hankies and scarves.IMG_4203 

There’s a Rowan concession, filled with Amy Butler fabric, Rowan yarns and knitters who demo yarns and books all day long. They can knit on the job, but they can’t sit. One lovely lady told us it took three months for her arms and back to adjust to knitting while standing up.  Best of all, when we talked of our Soak travels, they had heard of us! Fancy that. 

More London updates upon my return. I’ll be flying home when this post goes live. I hope my fabric stash will accept my new Liberty prints with the same enthusiasm with which they were purchased. I can’t wait to get them home.


It’s Friday and I’m bagged. Week 17: Mission accomplished. Well, the first half.

Author: Jacqueline Grab a coffee or tea and join us each Friday, to learn how these Soak worthy bags came to be. Are you bagged? Send us your favorite bag. If we feature it here, we’ll send you a Soak gift pack, in a pretty bag, of course!


I’ve travelled across the Atlantic to see the Quilt Exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England. This morning, we started off at Quilts 1700-2010. What a way to start the day. The exhibition includes historical work created in the UK from eighteenth century patchwork through to modern times. My favorite piece was a quilt made entire of wool by a tailor, James Williams, of Wrexham, Wales, 1842-52. He, yes he, used left over pieces of wool from his tailor shop and spent over 18 years making innovative quilts.  Following the exhibit I went to the shop to secure a stash of limited production, reproduction fabrics made especially for the show. Needless to say, my bag was full. 

 

I bought fat quarters galore, and don’t worry dear quilting friends, you know who you are, I bought fat quarters and treats for you too.  We bought one copy of the show catalog, which I’ll surely bring to the next Quilt Sunday

Incidentally, I’ve also been photographing inspirational patterns as I come across them on my travels. A new sketchbook is surely in the works… but that’s another story. 

 The second half of the journey you ask? Liberty of London, on Thursday. 


It’s Friday and I’m bagged. Week 16: Have hat, will travel.

Author: Jacqueline

Grab a coffee or tea and join us each Friday, to learn how these Soak worthy bags came to be. Are you bagged? Send us your favorite bag. If we feature it here, we’ll send you a Soak gift pack, in a pretty bag, of course!


It is a hectic Friday at the Soak office. I leave tonight for the UK. While the main purpose of our trip is pleasure (fantastic family wedding in a castle!), I’m also meeting up with Alice Yu our new National Account Manager, UK for the yarn market. We’re really excited to have Alice join us as part of our team.

While there, we’re planning on a visit to Loop, where we’ll be hanging out with owner Susan Cropper. We’ll be bringing treats for the grand opening of their new shop on June 12- on Camden Passage, in Islington, London. Their new address, in case you are in town after June 12th, will be 15 Camden Passage, Islington, London N1 8EA.

I’ll also be meeting Robynn, of the extraordinary shop Purlescence, as well as the ladies from the make lounge. How exciting! I’m sure there will be many other stops (Liberty of London, V&A museum) that will delight my senses and satisfy my need to rummage through textiles and other fun finds.

Speaking of rummaging, back to the above mentioned wedding. I’ll be sporting my favorite navy and white dress and shoes, only this time adding a bit of British flair to the outfit with my new (and lovely) hat.

I found this and other fine works of millinery last weekend when Karyn, Chris and I trekked to Brimfield Massachusetts for the Brimfield Antique Market. We walked through miles of antiques, textiles and treasures to find unique items and treats.

Sometimes a hat box is better than a bag. This striped one is the perfect way to protect my new hats, one of which is already packed away for travels.


It’s Friday and I’m bagged. Week 2: Bag that bra.

Author: Jacqueline

Grab a coffee or tea and join us each Friday, to learn how these Soak worthy bags came to be. Are you bagged? Send us your favorite bag. If we feature it here, we’ll send you a Soak gift pack, in a pretty bag, of course!


Meet Brachic. Located on Richmond Street in Ottawa, Ontario, Brachic packages the perfect bra in the perfect pink bag. When I bought my insanely beautiful and comfortable purple bra (Salome) during my last visit, I was captivated by Marianne (the owner extraordinaire) as well as her staff, her store and her shopping bags.

While the store is simply lovely, the fitting rooms are brilliant. One even has a cork board for fitting women to exchange business cards! Each has a unique theme to make every woman feel at home.
I brought my pink bag back to the office and I just can’t part with it. It has the style and durability of a re-usable bag, but it’s crisp lines and un-tarnished surface makes it more suited to visual display than daily carry-along. So, we’ve decided to use it as a mini-soak display. 

We also shopped and danced ’till we dropped with Marianne at the CurveNY Lingerie trade and fashion show in NY… but that’s a story for another day. Does your shop have a unique and lovely bag? Merchandise with it. Don’t forget to send us the pics!


It’s Friday and I’m bagged. Week 1: A brief history.

Author: Jacqueline
Grab a coffee or tea and join us each Friday to learn how these Soak worthy bags came to be. Are you bagged? Send us your favorite bag. If we feature it here, we’ll send you a Soak gift pack, in a pretty bag, of course!


When I was little, my mother travelled the globe. She was a fashion designer. She frequented New York and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Montreal. She bought fabric in Asia, shopped the stores of Paris and London and visited suppliers world-wide. She also collected shopping bags from boutiques near and far. Many moons ago, she used them to wallpaper the basement of the house where we lived. Paper bags and a staple gun. History in the making.

She loved the prints, the colours, the sayings and, I’m certain, the shopping that went along with them. Many bags are from boutiques that no longer exist, or stores that have changed their name, logo and image, time and time again. Did you know that Banana Republic used to be a ‘Travel & Safari Clothing Company’? (I miss those old Banana Republic t-shirts with lions and tigers and bears, oh my!) Club Monaco is a great Canadian brand of the past. Roots is still around with its iconic beaver et al. Remember Ken Done with those great water colours and prints?

I guess that’s where my fascination for bags began. Where we live, in the city of Toronto, Canada, there’s a new bylaw that states that retailers must now charge a minimum of $.05 for a plastic bag. This trend towards re-usable bags has created a larger than life collection of brilliant bags at our office. We now travel the globe, attending trade shows, visiting customers and of course, shopping. While our bag collection is often used for carrying Soak to and from the office, some of our bags are becoming icons in their own ways.Each Friday we’re going to share part of our bag collection with you. You’ll learn about bags from our distributors, Soak retailers, events we’ve sponsored and places we’ve been. We’ll include fascinating facts, merchandising tips and whatever else we find in the bag. So sit down, grab a coffee or tea and join us each Friday to learn how these bags came to live at our office. 
 
 
 

 


a letter from Andrea, the summer intern…

I realized that I should really post the thank-you (love) letter to Soak from our summer intern Andrea. This is particularly important as she returns to our office Monday to work during her reading week. She was a dream to have at the office, we enjoyed teaching her as much as she enjoyed learning. This is her, along with her first knit scarf! Below find the letter she left for us on her last day.

Andrea, summer intern

Being a summer intern, entails me only staying at Soak for the summer.  I felt it was necessary to write you all a lovely send off message before I leave to go back to school so you will remember me (not like that will be hard, I am pretty awesome).  Jacqueline, I will be using your printer to print out this letter, luckily, it isn’t a resignation letter, so I have one up on that other guy who used your printer to print something of this sort off.

Moving on….I tend to ramble on with these sorts of things.  My friends always make fun of me for it.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this ended up to be about a page long.  Lucky for those of you who read it!

Working here this summer has been awesome.  I’ve definitely learnt on a lot of stuff that I wouldn’t have in another workplace and I really appreciate being able have that opportunity.  Also, I’m not complaining about how nice my hands smelt after doing some bottle washings.   

Knowing that you have a great group of people behind you to help you out everyday is fantastic, and made me feel a whole lot less intimidated.  I was able to break out of my shell and become a pretty different person.  Lots of laughs, and stories contributed to this extra boost of confidence.  I was able to get comfortable with everyone which makes coming into work everyday much easier.  I’d like to thank each and every one of you for contributing to that. 

Ailie: I wouldn’t want to share a stapler with anyone else.  I wish both you and baby best wishes.  Enjoy the big boy desk.  It’s only brought me good times.

Chris: I’d still be a non-knitter if it wasn’t for you.  Just thinking about that is unfortunate.  I will be wearing that purple scarf everyday come wintertime.  Thanks for helping me out with everything you did throughout this summer.  You are hilarious.  Just absolutely hilarious.

Jacqueline: 1. Thank you for my job.  I am forever grateful.  2. Best boss ever yes? Yes.  I’m most definitely not trying to kiss ass here. It’s most definitely true.  Thank you for letting me into Soak to learn AND work at the same time.  You are a fantastic person

Dafina: You’re super awesome, and great to work with! Have fun, and congrats again on being Canadian! 🙂

So I would like to leave you with one last thing.  The box area is both yours and my friend.  Be kind to it, it really did no harm to you.    

Have fun and don’t miss me too much.  I know it will be hard. -AL