A pop-up shop with a difference has opened on Motcomb Street to get us into the festive spirit. The brains behind the new shop is Jane Means, Gift Wrap Guru for Fortnum & Mason, Harrods and Dior. Jane shares tips on the most awkward presents to wrap, a one-month gift-wrapping marathon and what’s on trend this Christmas. Meet Jane in “All Wrapped Up”, the gift-wrapping Belgravia boutique until 21 December.
Q: How did you get started in the world of gift wrapping?
A: I have been running my own business for 24 years. It all started when I was travelling the world and spotted a gap in the market. Gift-wrapping was done very badly, so I decided to do something about it. Today, I train staff at Fortnum & Mason, Harrods and Dior. I have not looked back – it has been really enjoyable.
Q: Tell us about your new shop on Motcomb Street? What were your inspirations?
A: I was approached by the Grosvenor Estate in the summer to help make Belgravia a shopping destination. For me, it was a chance to showcase my products and services in an idyllic location. I wanted to make the shop very Instagramable, too.
Q: If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you take with you?
A: Lipstick, double-sided tape and the third thing would be sunglasses. I would love to be on a desert island right now, just dreaming of Fiji.
Q: Can you suggest three Christmas wrapping tips?
A: For something awkward: don’t wrap it in paper. Choose a flexible wrapping such as tissue, cellophane or fabric.
For a huge gift: use a paper tablecloth or for sharp items, such as a bike, go for a bedsheet. Accessorise with baubles and elegant ribbon, so it does not look like a bedsheet!
And my third tip: attention to detail is key. Use double-sided tape, tying- in decorations to make it an eye-catching feature.
Q: Where is your favourite street in London?
A: I really like Motcomb Street and Marylebone High Street. They are two of my favourite streets.
Q: What is the most unusual present you have wrapped?
A: It was a rocking horse, a complete nightmare! Even worse, it had to be wrapped in front of an audience. The horse kept rocking, so I wedged something underneath it to keep it steady.
Q: If you could go back in time – which year would you choose?
A: The Roaring Twenties – they were full of glamour and The Great Gatsby.
Q: Can you name any Christmas wrapping trends to look out for?
A: Personalisation is a massive key. We are also going back to comfort and tradition, particularly with green and red tartan. But anything goes at the moment.
Q: And any trends to avoid?
A: For me, less is more. Choose classic styles, stars and candy-canes, not over the top festive designs.
Q: What is the biggest challenge you have overcome in your career?
A: I had to wrap 70 hampers for an oil tycoon once, which ended up at 370 hampers. Goods were flown in from all over the world: chocolates from Switzerland and Panettoni from Italy. It took us a month to wrap all the hampers. We worked flat-out in our slippers, while eating pastries to keep us going.
Q: What is the most important room in the house for you?
A: The lounge with its huge, tall ceilings and a chandelier. This makes me feel like a queen. I can forget everyday things, such as the washing machine and the bathroom. It’s a piece of tranquillity.
Q: What’s your favourite wrapping paper?
A: My own wrapping paper which has candy canes on. This is a classic, reversable paper that I designed for Fortnum & Masons. It’s both good for children and any genre with an all-year round design.
Q: And finally, what advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into the gift-wrapping business?
A: Gift-wrapping is a very feast or famine seasonal job. So, go into overdrive in November and December for Christmas, but importantly, attention to detail is key.
- Visit Jane Mean’s new pop-up shop (All Wrapped Up) at 14 Motcomb Street, London SW1X until December 21 (Monday – Friday). There are ribbons, decorations and a drop-in gift-wrapping service.
- Follow Jane on Instagram janemeans or visit http://janemeansblog.com/.