Posted: 28.09.21 at 13:29 by Stuart Higgins
The co-founders of the most exclusive and upmarket shop on Teddington High Street, the award-winning Jenny Blanc Interiors, have told Nub News of their ‘heartbreak and distress’ following the shock closure of the 25-year-old business and being forced into administration.
Celebrations had been planned to mark the 25 years of their amazing journey with all their clients, friends and suppliers from around the world.
The founders, Jenny Blanc and Chrissie Cocks, had overcome a series of challenges including a crooked accountant which cost them £250,000, a cyber-attack which cost £150,000 to restore data and systems, the sudden death of their head designer, director and close friend and a 10-month closure because of COVID.
Jenny’s also faced a long personal battle against ill-health including suffering COVID twice herself and losing five stone.
More shock and distress followed as the administrators locked up the Teddington showroom on June 1st leaving Jenny and Chrissie with thousands of pounds worth of fabrics and their business documents and personal possessions locked away inside the shop banning them from entering.
“Covid did kill the business,” says Jenny emotionally.
“Ironically, it was a time when people were looking at improving their homes more than ever because they were spending so much time in them and had money to spend.
"Due to Covid regulations this prevented us visiting homes and them visiting the showroom which was forced to close wrongly in our opinion.
"It had a massive impact on us.”
Jenny Blanc also has a luxury showroom on the Caribbean island of Barbados, which is run by her daughter Emma, and is operating successfully and as normal.
Passers-by on the High Street are now confronted by a depleted shop window which was normally adorned with beautiful ornaments and expensive, luxury home furnishings and fabrics, unusual home accessories as well as a formal notice stuck on the inside of the door confirming that the company has gone into administration.
The note says that Jo Milner and David Buchler were appointed Joint Administrators on July 7 2021 and that “the affairs, business and property of the company are being managed by the Joint Administrators.
It states: “The Company has ceased trading.”
Tearful Chrissie said: “This was more than a business.
"It was our passion, our lifestyle.
"We were creating homes for people not just designing them. Our customers are our friends and we adored them.
"We have seen kids come and work for us part time, grow up and start families themselves and become customers. We feel heartbroken and totally humiliated.
"We feel we should never have been put into this position.
“We certainly had precious little help or concern for us, as a small specialist business having run for 25 years, creating employment, paying huge monies to the government.
"Risking, as many small businesses have to, our houses to raise money to start up and our health.
“We were the forgotten people during Covid.
"Like I'm sure so many other businesses we were not helped one bit.
"And now have lost our fight to win through this dreadful battle.”
The two women say they have not taken any money out of the business for the last three years. “We gave up everything to try to keep the business going. We sacrificed everything,” said Jenny.
“The humiliation at the hands of the administrators is something which has killed me.
"I believe we have been treated in a disgusting way.”
Most recently, their hopes were raised when it appeared that a potential buyer was poised to rescue the business as a ‘going concern’ and keep the Jenny Blanc brand but this has now stalled and appears unlikely to materialise.
“We still believe we could be saved! We were never meant to be closed down, we had agreed to sell the business as a going concern and continue working as normal. This was changed by the administrators.”
Defiant Jenny said: “We shouldn’t be shut down. It shouldn’t be forced into liquidation. It’s been so humiliating and distressing.
"I can’t even walk down the High Street. I am waking up every morning to this nightmare. Everyday day is hell.”
The lease on the building is also up but Jenny and Chrissie did not plan to renew the lease and were looking to move to a smaller premises.
“We don’t need a High Street area. Barbados is a lovely size property and doing so very well as always.
"If I could find a home in the country with a barn which we could turn into a showroom and workshop that would be my dream come true. Our rent was being raised from £22,000 to £38,000 and we couldn’t afford that kind of money anyway.”
Teddington Nub News contacted the Joint Administrators, Buchler Phillips for comment.
Oliver Southwell said: “As you will appreciate, this is an on-going matter so at this time the Joint Administrators are not in a position to say anything further.”
Jenny and Chrissie added: “We would both like to offer our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has supported us over the years locally and far and wide for their amazing support and friendship over the years.” We feel part of your family and hope we can continue to do so despite this sad times”
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