As we launch our new dedicated European website, Dannells.eu, we get to know the people behind our European operation, Malgosia and her husband Nick and how they plan to expand our European market. Read on to find out how they became Dannells Distributors, the skills they are bringing to the new venture and their favourite Dannells products.
We’re very excited about the launch of Dannells EU. How did you get involved?
Malgosia: Our adventure with Dannells started in March 2022 when I was working for a well-established Polish textile distributor, as a European Sales Manager. I wanted to use my creativity more and work somewhere, where I felt I could go the extra mile. I also wanted to join forces with Nick, as a husband and wife team, with Nick looking after the logistics and operations. As a consequence, Nick started to research the home textiles market in the UK and Europe.
Nick: As part of my research I found an old Heimtextil catalogue (an International Trade Fair in Frankfurt) and started to categorise the companies that may present us with opportunities. Dannells was the third company that we contacted with speculative email and Malgosia’s CV which then started the conversation with directors, David and Jamie and led to us becoming Dannells European Distributors.
What excites you about working with Dannells?
Nick: We think the Dannells products are fantastic and we can see how we can help curtain and blind makers, soft furnishers and artistic and creative businesses improve their offering.
Malgosia: There’s also the sense of achievement that you see on people’s faces when they use the Lampshade Making Kits - that’s what I want to do, give people that sense of achievement.
What’s your professional background?
Malgosia: My background is in design and soft furnishing. I’ve worked with soft furnishings; wallpapers, fabrics and trimmings all my adult life. I previously worked for Watts of Westminister, a fashion house, on the soft furnishings side of the business for many years and had my own business as curtain and blind maker and soft furnisher. Moving to Poland meant I turned my hand to sales, but I still felt I was able to offer something fantastic to people, based on the skills I have.
Where are you based?
Nick: We live around 45km outside of Warsaw. Warsaw is in the centre of Europe, therefore great from a logistical point of view. We’ve been here for 5 years, following living in the UK for 25 years and moving here to build our own house.
What countries are you hoping to bring Dannells Lampshade Making supplies to?
Malgosia: We know that the DIY craft market in Europe is huge and that people are constantly looking for something new and new craft ideas. This is really encouraging for us, especially when bringing Lampshade Making Kits and supplies to clients.
Nick: We’re initially planning sales trips to Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, as well as Poland.
What has the reception towards Dannells kits and products been so far?
Nick: From a sales point of view there are so many products that we can talk to European customers about and there is no other way to describe it, but as being a really nice sale! We’re going to be working initially with the business-to-business sector, but we’re also going to be able to show individuals how to create a great product with a good margin. We’ve done an exploratory trip to test the market, including a small exhibition in Tallinn and since have already been to Lithuania and Poland too.
Malgosia: It’s been surprising to see the reaction. Customers look at the kit and then we show them the ready-made lampshade in comparison. Sometimes I do a demonstration and they absolutely love it!
Do you make lampshades yourself?
Malgosia: When we lived in the UK, about seven or eight years ago, I bought a 70 cm lampshade from Dannells and made this up using a Dannells Youtube video. Even though the instructions were good, I felt the video was essential for me and I made the lampshade by continually pausing and playing!
I didn’t even start with a 20cm or 30cm, but with a really large size, which we’re still using in our home on a standard lamp! So I suppose that started our connection with Dannells and gave me that previous experience of lampshade making. I had no idea, back then about our current adventures.
Nick: I have made some lampshades from paper. It’s important if you’re talking to people that you’ve made the product yourself. Malgosia is going to focus on the fabric and I’m going to play with the paper side of things, such as experimenting with marbled and Japanese papers.
What's your favourite Dannells Product?
Malgosia: My favourite product is the Floor Lamp Kit and then the Drum Lampshade Making Kit, mainly because of my curtain making background and because I can add trims. I love anything that is handmade and even though with the Lampshade Making Kits you have the materials to help you, you can still finish them to a really high standard and I just love that!
What do you do when you’re not working with Dannells?
Malgosia: We have two dogs - our Heads of Security - so we do a lot of walking in the countryside around us. We also love travelling. It gives me pleasure to learn about the customs of a country, little bits of the language too. It’s the reward for all the hard work, interacting with people and learning about how they live and what they do.
Nick: I have a weakness for anything to do with Land Rovers. I have an old Land Rover myself, that I like to tinker with. I like a vehicle I can fix myself. We take it on our trips. The Land Rover is our way of delivering Dannells products to our customers. I like to say, one British icon delivering another! We’re also still doing DIY on our house and fitting out the interior.
Any final words?
Malgosia: We feel really lucky to have this opportunity and to be at the start of this exciting partnership is fantastic.
Visit our new dedicated European website, Dannells.eu link, which will benefit our European customers by servicing them with lampshade making products, that are now stocked within the EU, meaning we can deliver to you quickly without any customs and currency exchange issues. We're looking forward to building up our EU product range stock in the months ahead.
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