STUCK FOR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING INSPIRATION THIS YEAR? WE SPEAK TO ELLIOTT EMANUEL, MENSWEAR BUYER
FOR FENWICK TUNBRIDGE WELLS AND CANTERBURY AND MICHELE HUGHES, HEAD OF BUYING WOMEN ’S FASHION FOR FENWICK TUNBRIDGE WELLS AND CANTERBURY TO GET THEIR TOP TIPS FOR GIFTS THIS SEASON…
WHEN’S THE BEST TIME TO START CHRISTMAS SHOPPING?
Elliott: I have tried to make a conscious effort to buy Christmas presents throughout the year as I see them, as opposed to panic buying days before Christmas Day. I have an allocated gift cupboard to store the presents in, so normally have a look in early November to see what is left to buy for. It is great fun remembering what was purchased from where, either when travelling or from places other than purchased locally.
Michele: September is a good time to start. However, personally I do enjoy the feeling at Christmas of a beautifully decorated store. It helps to inspire me and makes the whole shopping experience more festive.
HAVE YOU SEEN CHRISTMAS SHOPPING TRENDS CHANGE OVER RECENT YEARS?
Elliott: Without doubt the internet has changed the whole culture of shopping and our expectation of what we would like to buy or receive. However, there is still something special about sensory experience of shopping in a store, looking at an item to check the quality, the feel and to sample and try a new fragrance. As Buyers we constantly go through a mental list of what our customer would expect when seeing product in the store.
Michele: I have seen a trend towards customers looking for unique gifts that cannot be readily bought on the high street. At Fenwick the buyers spend many hours looking for product that has a point of difference. The customers are looking for that inspiration.
WHAT WILL BE TOP OF CHILDREN’S WISH LISTS THIS YEAR?
Elliott: I hope a family game. Royal Tunbridge Wells Monopoly hits the shelves this year. A first for the town.
I have fond memories of paying the original game at Christmas and playing one game over two days!
Michele: A visit from Father Christmas!
WHAT DO YOU BUY THE MAN WHO HAS EVERYTHING?
Elliott: The list is endless! A weekend for two at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons including wine cellar tour… A VIP skyline trip of London with Champagne…A year of cake from Patisserie Valerie…
Michele: A driving experience at Brands Hatch. I can’t imagine many men would not enjoy that. Or, a weekend trip skiing with friends.
FOR WOMEN, WHICH STYLES OR ITEMS WILL STAND THE TEST OF TIME AND STILL BE LOVED NEXT CHRISTMAS?
Elliott: An investment of a really good handbag and matching purse in black or navy. It will pay dividends over and over, or an item of cashmere, a sweater, wrap, scarf, gloves or socks, always loved and will last if well looked after. Lovely in a pale grey marl.
Michele: I agree – sumptuous cashmere or a classic piece of jewellery from a favourite designer.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR PEOPLE CHRISTMAS SHOPPING ON A STRICT BUDGET?
Elliott: Remember, it’s the thought that means more than the size or cash value. A handmade voucher from a friend for coffee and cake in the new year is one of my favourite gifts every year. Homemade preserves, flavoured oils and biscuits are good fun to make and a less expensive idea.
Also time spent on beautifully wrapped inexpensive gifts always looks like care and attention has been thought through. Fenwick has a great selection of Christmas wrap, gift boxes, bags and ribbon to make the gift look extra special.
Michele: My advice would be start earlier, if you leave it too late, you will panic buy which will inevitably be more expensive.
AND IF MONEY IS NO OBJECT, WHAT SHOULD WE BE SPLASHING OUT ON?
Elliott: A trip to New York or take the family to see The Northern Lights, New Year at The Savoy Hotel, a designer watch. Where do I stop?!
Michele: Experiences that can be shared, wherever that may take you.
WHICH HOME ACCESSORIES OR DECORATIONS SHOULD WE BE BUYING TO GET OUR HOMES CHRISTMAS-READY?
Elliott: Go traditional this year with red, green and gold all mixed with plaid. Think luxury with velvet and rich tones and burnished metallic finishes.
Bring in lots of greenery, foliage and fir cones from the garden to decorate the home as well as the tree and then treat yourself to fresh flowers and mix with twigs for Christmas week itself.
Michele: Fairy lights, you can never have too many! They really create a magical feel, especially when used in the garden, round windows and entwined in pine garlands, draped over an inviting fireplace and then lovely scented candles complete the scene.