Remember, back in the day, when buying a gift to take home from a trip to Europe, would leave you marvelling at the amount of care and attention that went into wrapping it for you? Once you’d confirmed that your purchase was, indeed, a present for someone, with theatrical flourish, giant rolls of printed paper, jewel-coloured cellophane and countless fancy ribbons would appear. A perfectly wrapped parcel and one very happy customer would be the end results.
The story behind the business
For Jane Means, there was a light bulb moment when she spotted a large gap in the UK market to provide a similar level of service to what was already being offered in Europe and beyond.
‘I realised that the art of giving was something that we, in Britain, could really do a lot better,’ says Jane. ‘Small token gifts such as a bar of soap or some chocolate can be transformed into something really special to receive with great wrapping. I decided to teach Britain to gift wrap and so went back to college to get a teaching qualification. Then I began to put on courses in my parents’ water mill, with my granny doing the cooking.
It was a long five years before I got my first big break, though. The Daily Mail ran a feature on me and then Country Living magazine asked me to do a course at their Christmas Fair in London. I went green when I saw the crowds assembled to hear me speak on the day, but once I’d got going and was talking about the use of colourful berries and how to achieve the perfect tailored bow, I was away…’
Since then, Jane has become the go-to guru for all things gift-wrap related, collaborating with major brands including Harrods, Dior, Fortnum & Mason and Liberty.
‘I love the variety of my work,’ says Jane. ‘One day I will be training Harrods staff in the Penthouse wrapping department, working with £50K coats and the next I’ll be at a small company with a very tight budget or maybe running a session with ambassadors wives who need help adding special touches to the masses of gifts they give each year. Every day is different.’
Special FBWL reader offer
As well as her wrapping work and workshops, Jane last year collaborated with Kirstie Allsopp on her book Kirstie’s Christmas Crafts and has recently launched her own long-awaited book giftwrapped which is a treasure trove of great ideas for achieving that professional finish at home.
Until 31st December, Jane is offering an exclusive discount to our readers. Quote FBWL14 at checkout to get 10% off Jane’s book and anything from her shop (excludes courses).