Today I am thrilled to spotlight on the incredible work of Emma Bunting and her beautifully handcrafted Unique British Bunting.
Emma Bunting is a unique and specialist company based in the heart of Northumberland, who design and create some of the best British Bunting around – from the quirky, to the traditional.
I personally am a huge fan of bunting, with the power to immediately transform empty space to much more pretty, quirky and interesting.
I had a wee chat to Business owner Emma to suss out the Brand…..
How did EB begin and what is your background?
I’ve been lucky to have travelled most of my adult life, living and working in The States, Australia, Japan, Ireland and Sweden.
I’ve worked for small organisations to large multinationals in marketing Communications, but it wasn’t until I moved back to the UK in 2004 that I picked up my first piece of fabric and started designing bunting.
It was my daughter, Lottie, who asked me to make her some bunting with her name on that started it all off.
I’ve always enjoyed interior design and love creating things that are fun – it’s great to have functionality, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style and quirkiness. I guess that’s why I love designers such as Philippe Starck.
My daughter Lottie and my son Oliver continually inspire me, they make all of this worthwhile!
Tell us about your lovely bunting
A couple of people have suggested I have my bunting made in India – cheaper to produce therefore more profitable, but the Emma Bunting brand is about creating bunting, which is 100% made-in-Britain using, as much as possible, materials that are manufactured in Britain.
Each piece is unique and tailor made to suit our individual clients requirements.
I think that is why it works so well for weddings as we can offer brides something special that will last a lifetime.
It is important to me that our brand represents quality craftsmanship, unique stylist British made bunting.
Why do you thing that bunting is popular for weddings?
Bunting has always been popular for events, and is almost synonymous with traditional British parties.
Bunting isn’t just for summer country vintage style weddings – we have worked with a varied client base using cottons, silks and satins in a range of colours and styles.
Our bunting has adorned stylish London hotels, rural country houses and city halls. We work closely with the venue, which we find eases the pressure off the bride!
To me, bunting is like Christmas decorations – it brings an air of festivity and fun to an event and once it comes down, the room is left feeling totally bare!
What (materials) do you use to make the bunting?
We can create bunting out of almost anything from new fabric to vintage up-cycled clothing. We have twice worked with the BBC DIYSOS The Big Build programme, which helps families get back on the feet and helps them restart their lives.
It is so much more than a DIY show. For the Children in Need Special in November 2012, we used hot air balloon fabric to create 80 metres of brightly coloured bunting for a children’s special needs centre in Edinburgh! It looked fantastic, but the fabric was so difficult to work with!
We have also created vintage denim jeans fabric for a photo-shoot, kite fabric for outdoor bunting and are currently working on creating vintage style bunting for an American multinational launching a new restaurant in London’s Covent Garden, which will involve us ageing the fabric.
I think the way I look at it, if we can draw the design and cut it out, we can make it into bunting! I think the fabric needs to be able to move, so I’d probably steer away from anything too stiff such as oilcloths or leather, but everything else goes!
Did you find that orders for bunting increased following the Jubilee and Royal Wedding?
I didn’t want to cut up pre-printed Union Jack bunting that you could easily pick up in any shop, but I wanted to create something unique.
The design took a while to perfect, as it consisted of six hand cut pieces on vintage and new denim, but it was worth it.
We had such an influx of orders I decided to change my hobby (then called Little Bundles) into a full time business, rebranded to “Emma Bunting”.
What other events can you make bunting for?
We make a lot of personalized bunting for children, which make for perfect new-baby gifts.
We also have a lot of corporate clients who are looking for something a bit different and stylish.
We are unable to print onto the fabric, all our work is hand cut, so we are not able to copy everything of a corporate clients logo, but we work around the design sometimes simplifying it or changing it slightly.
For some parties, we have put photos on the bunting – this would be especially great fun for hen parties!
Do you have some ready-made designs for brides to choose from?
Yes we do for our HIRE service.
We have a current selection of nine different fabrics and colours, and will be adding to them over the year.
We have only been hiring bunting since the beginning of the year, so we are more than happy to talk to brides about possible new themes!
If brides want to go bespoke, can you make bunting to any design? What is the process?
The majority of our work is making bespoke bunting. Designing bunting from scratch is my favourite part of the process as it means I get to chat to the bride (or groom) about colours, styles and fonts.
It’s my job to take an idea or colour scheme and create something visually exciting.
The process is really quite straightforward. A typical order would involve brides either phoning or emailing me a style or idea, along with their colour theme.
I like to see the wedding invitation so that it gives me an idea of the overall style, and where possible replicate parts of the invitation.
I would sketch up an idea and email a couple of options for the bride, along with prices, which start from £12 per metre. We have put anything from initials to names on a bunting, and even a tandem bicycle for one couple!
If necessary, we send out fabric samples. Once our bride is completely happy, we send out an invoice then the bunting will be dispatched about three weeks after receiving payment.
What is your current favorite design and why?
My personal favourite has to be the Lottie bunting – not only was it our first, but also it was named after my daughter.
It’s a mixture of 100% cottons and cords in sage greens, pinks, natural whites and blues. I love this, as it’s pretty and quirky as it’s a mixture of patterns, plains and florals.
Is there a particular design that is popular with your brides at the moment?
A key trend this year has been lace. I think with the popularity of Downtown Abbey and then The Great Gatsby, we’ve seen a rise in brides telling us they want lace and pearls! Sadly, using vintage lace is just too price prohibitive, but new lace is just as beautiful.
How does Emma Bunting provide a superior experience to other bunting/event decoration suppliers?
The two main things we pride ourselves with are our customer service and our attention to detail.
The most important thing for me is that our clients are happy – if it takes weeks and weeks of designing and hunting for fabric samples, then that’s what it takes!
We don’t churn out bunting that we think people want; we make personalised pieces that match the client’s precise requirements to suit style, taste and budget.
I love all our brides and I hope they feel the same about working with us! Our manner of working is relaxed and good fun. I am contactable every day – any time.
The only thing I won’t compromise on is our core ethos, which is providing stylish, beautifully handcrafted Unique British Bunting.
Who would be your dream client?
My dream clients would have to be the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge. I admire them greatly and think they are fantastic role models for us all. I missed making their wedding bunting, but it’s not too late to make some personalized baby bunting – so Kate & Wills, if you’re reading this….. #WishfulThinking
Tell us about your Bunting workshops
I am so passionate about my bunting and want to show people that it can be so much more than just cutting a few triangles and stitching them together!
We started up workshops in my hometown Morpeth and they run once every two months. It’s a great way to get together and learn how to make something just a bit different.
I teach people not only how to construct the bunting, but also how to use fabrics in a different way so that they can create their own design. This workshops run from The Sewing Box in Newgate Street.
I would really like to take this idea further and host bunting workshops for hen parties. I think it would be a great way for all ages to get together and make something unique – whether you write a message on your own flag, or bling it up with lots of diamantes; it’s really up to you!
We also have knicker and bra templates, so you can really have fun making some underwear bunting!!
These parties can be held anywhere. We would be able to offer Vintage Afternoon Tea as well, so you could spend the whole afternoon having fun making bunting, then finish with a lovely afternoon tea!
We are working with Jesmond Dene House in Newcastle to offer such bunting & vintage tea party packages.
Tell us about your online shop?
We work with a few selected stockists in the North East within the wedding industry, but at the moment do not have a dedicated online shop through our own website.
We sometimes create one off quirky pieces with fun fabrics we have found – these are sold through our ETSY shop.
We have an online eBay shop, and that sells remnant fabrics, bunting craft kits (which make perfect bridesmaids thank you gifts) and mini cake bunting (which can be personalized for the bride and groom).
All the links to our stockists and online shops can be found at www.emma-bunting.co.uk/order.html
Our two stockists are Just Perfect Event & Wedding Gallery – a permanent wedding gallery based in Cramlington (near Morpeth) and The Vintage Wedding Lady who not only plans your entire wedding, but also has masses of gorgeous vintage accessories and china.
Can brides hire your bunting rather than buy it? What is involved?
Yes, we started a hire service during summer 2012, and it’s really easy to hire! We are offering a package price that includes delivery, collection and laundry.
All the brides need to do is decide on the colour scheme, advise of how much they need and when they need it. As easy as that! Our website details everything you need to know about our service.
We can put the bunting up for our brides, again, details of this service can be found on our website.
Where are you located?
Our workshop is in Morpeth, Northumberland, but we dispatch our bunting across the whole of the UK and further afield.
If a bride would like a personal consultation, we can make an appointment to meet at Just Perfect in Cramlington.
Can you give Brides an idea on price for purchase and hire?
Our prices are reflective of our quality and complexity of the design.
An example of our hire prices: 50m £105, 100m £180 and 150m £255. We are not the cheapest bunting around, but we work to the highest of standards and use the best quality fabrics.
We are always available for our brides and will go out of our way to make the process as stress-free as possible for the bride-to-be.
Our plain bunting is £5 per metre and our bespoke prices are dependent on complexity and fabric chosen. Personalised wedding bunting starts at £15 per metre and is priced on complexity of the design and the finish of the lettering, which can include anything from glitter to hand-painted designs.
For an individual quotation, please contact us.
Can Brides order online, over the phone or should they make an appointment?
The majority of initial orders are taken via email, and then I normally want to talk to all my brides to chat through finer details and colour schemes.
I am more than happy to meet up with my brides and can do so by appointment at Just Perfect in Cramlington.
Thanks so much to Emma for sharing her amazing creativity. I love this story and how passionate Emma is for her Business which has gone from strength to strength.
What would YOU choose for your Bespoke design, and what would you use it for? ……
How can Brides get in touch with you to find out more?
Our website http://www.emma-bunting.co.uk details all our company information and has links to everything you need to know about our bunting!
We update our Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/pages/Emma-Bunting/158347864189925 ] page on a daily basis
We tweet often http://twitter.com/EmmaBuntingUK.