Whilst looking through my various blog posts, I realised that I've mentioned this place a few times in passing but for some, deeply unknown, reason have never given it a blog post of it's own. This is a huge mistake as anyone who has visited before will know.
I first visited on the way back from a wedding that was roughly in the Shipley area and now go back at least once a year even if it means a special trip. It is well worth the petrol it costs to get there.
For those people who have only been familiar with Kanban since they have been part of the Create & Craft family, you've not even seen 10% of what they have to offer. When Kanban were a large part of the QVC craft line-up, they bought out new products much more regularly and had a much wider range.
The outlet shop is a mecca for all Kanban fans!
It is in Shipley, West Yorkshire and is a little difficult to find (don't trust an AA route map) but it's worth the effort. It has changed every time I've been so it may be different to my description when you go (which you should) but it will still be awesome.
The shop is split into 2 rooms. The first houses the 'expensive' side of things- you'll see why that's ironic in a minute, and this leads through to the bargain bargain room! The second room is full of large shelving units that house all manner of 'seconds' which essentially means the start and end of a print run. This means that the topper sheets are not die-cut and not foiled or glittered. You do have to search through everything and pick out the good stuff but you will find some real treasures. Some of the items are printed on 2 sides but if you're cutting out a topper and sticking it onto a card then you'll never see it anyway. There are usually some good background cards and if you're really lucky envelopes & some foiled pre-scored cards. It is very much hit & miss and you'll never get the same things twice but I've never been disappointed. When I last went in May, this room had a 'fill a box' system with each box costing £9 and probably holding about 100 A4 sheets. If you bought 2 boxes though, the 3rd was free. that means you're getting around 300 sheets for £18. That makes each sheet just 6p! That is truly unbeatable. Even if you only manage to get 1 card out of 2 sheets then you all know that's a bargain- even by the time you've added your own glitter (or foiling as I'll explain in a minute!). This is why the first room seems 'expensive'! The major things I got this year were part of the new London themed images and I got way above the full kit amount for a lot less than it cost- yes I need to cut them out but that's worth the savings.
The first room starts with a counter that shows all of the acrylic stamp sets they sell. These are sold at retail price but they are still great value. This room also has topper sheets but these ones are perfect (die-cut, foiled & glittered) for 20p or 30p each. This is even cheaper than buying them in bulk set from a shopping channel and you only buy the designs you like. They are mostly older designs but the new designs are available to buy too (but for RRP). There are also out of season bargains to be had e.g. 10 Christmas decoupage sheets for just £1. You can sometimes get ex-QVC kits too at major reductions. My favourite part is the foil rolls though (this is what I meant about adding your own foiling). You can get a huge roll of coloured foil (probably close to 100m) for £2/£3. As long as you've got a quickie glue pen then you can foil the sheets from the 'fill a box' room for yourself. 1 roll will last for years but when you see all the different colours (much more than just gold & silver) then you'll end up with at least 5! You can also pick up background cards, printed acetates, glitters, envelopes & ribbons all for great prices.
No matter where you live in the UK (or Europe & maybe even the US) then you need to visit the Kanban outlet. You'll probably never use all the stuff you get but you'll still go back for more. It becomes an addiction!
Prepare to be there for at least 4 hours (if you're going to do it properly) and make sure that if you take a non-crafting person with you, they take a book/ipod/ipad to keep themselves entertained. There is a sofa and free tea/coffee making facilities provided!