High end interiors fabrics that are way too good for the waste stream

I first saw The Haines Collection on Instagram, when founder Juliet’s (aka Jules) profile was suggested to me as someone I might like to follow. Finally the instagods got it right- I did indeed want to follow, and I think you should too!

Jules curates a gorgeous collection of high end upholstery and interiors fabrics for sale, all of which would have gone to the land fill otherwise. But these aren’t just any scraps, I tell you- Juliet’s eye for fabrics is spot on. She’s got design classics galore, in a rainbow of colours, and offers them at less than half the retail price. For me, The Haines Collection and Jules’ eco-entrepreneurship is super inspiring and a perfect example that conscious interiors can be chic.

Christopher Farr - Carnical - one of many gems in the Haines Collection. Photo credit: Haines Collection.

Christopher Farr - Carnical - one of many gems in the Haines Collection. Photo credit: Haines Collection.

Read on to hear Jules’ story on how and why she started the business (in addition to being a mum to Jemima (2) and Edward (4) and a part time job as a Marketing Manager (modern day Wonder Woman!)

Tell us about the Haines Collection, and your interest in fabrics?

I launched the company in October 2018. I’ve always loved fabrics, I studied textiles for GCSE and A Level and was really the only thing I was good at. I had it just as a hobby until 2012 when I started work for a small textile design house called Korla. I worked there for nearly 6 years but when I moved to Kent in 2017 I sadly couldn't do the commute to Buckinghamshire where they had moved to. I started a new job in the area but wasn't in the interiors world and missed working with fabrics.

The idea appeared when I came across a local manufacturer with a pop-up shop selling their leftover fabrics. Talking to him he explained the hassle of doing a pop-up shop and how it took him and his team away from his day job. He wasn't making any money from it, after costs of storage, hiring the space etc so he might as well throw it all away! The cogs were starting to whirl...this must be the case for so many manufacturers.

I've experienced this first hand too - I used to do pop up shops to shift old stock: its so time consuming and it’s the organising, promotion and execution. I also know that selling stock to bargain basement fabric shops isn't a good option for designers as they have to sell it at a couple of pounds per metre.

With my contacts in the industry, business degree, and marketing know how - I figured I should give it a go and see how it panned out! I loved the reducing waste side of it, it was my live ethos ‘one man’s waste is another man’s treasure’.

What would happen to this fabric if it weren’t ‘rescued’ by Haines Collection?

It would be chucked or best case end up gathering dust on a shelf! I have created an easy option for them, hassle free where we all win - including the earth!

How much fabric are we talking that would get dumped?

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) statistics show that the UK generates around 202.8 million tonnes of waste each year. Of that, the construction industry – which includes interiors fittings and fixtures – accounts for 59%.

I feel like there is increased awareness about textile waste in the Fashion Industry but not yet in the Interiors Industry...welcome the Haines Collection - ha ha!

What’s your favourite ever fabric find?

I found 12m of a William Morris fabric at the start and that was just so exciting to me. I got the ‘fabric thrills’ that same giddy feeling when I find something in a charity shop for an absolute bargain! Someone bought all of it and made a pair of curtains and a bench seat for her bedroom and send me pictures - I just loved seeing the finished article.

Where can we find your shop?

Online! I have all my fabrics on my website and on instagram, so you can shop both ways. Instagram is a good way to find out if new fabrics are coming and ask me any questions. I genuinely love chatting to people so loads of DMs keep me happy! Also worth mentioning that I often have more than what is on the website, it’s amazing how often I go back to a supplier and say that I ran out of a certain fabric they gave me and they suddenly have a few metres that they no longer need. It’s not just about small amounts, I work with some designers that have 50m of a design where the colour came out wrong so dont think it’s just small remnants.

Also I love a request, it’s all about the hunt for me! If you are looking for a particular designer, colour or just want to send me pics of the room you want a fabric to go in - then holler! I often go to suppliers and pick up what I think my customers would like so actually a list of what people are after totally helps.

Ok, but what if I can’t sew properly?! Do you need to be able to sew to use lovely designer fabrics?

No! I never do my own sewing unless I really have to! Definitely get on facebook or ask your friends and family for a sewer in your area who can make up your cushions, curtains and blinds. Cushions can start from £10 so with £20 on fabric with me you have already saved yourself loads!

What happens if you don’t have enough in stock for my project, can you get more?

Yes often I can, it depends on my supplier. Sometimes its a curtain maker and that’s just what they had left over, or sometimes its a printer who printed a design on the wrong linen and so has 100m available.

Could you help a customer source a specific type of fabric from your sources of leftover fabrics?

Oh yes please - I love that bit! Send me pictures of the space or the room you are trying to fill, and I’ll do my best.

What’s your interest in or experience with sustainability and waste reduction?

I’ve always been a resourceful person and hated waste. I keep everything as ‘you never know when you might need it!’ But I love to create, so I actually like the challenge of trying to save something from the bin. I’m so glad that nowadays everyone is taking on that mentality and we are being a lot more thoughts about how we use the worlds resources and how it can impact the future.

If you could be any animal, what would you be?

Oh definitely a fat lazy labrador living with a loving family. I’d be stroked all day, sleep, and eat - bliss!