Hi everyone, This month Harper Bee is all about nails and nail polish - because tweens love painting their nails.
I, on the other hand, am not a tween and don’t paint my fingernails. Ever. My mother has handed me down her arthritis, bless her, so my fingers veer off in different directions and the last thing I need is to highlight them. A few years ago, I worked with a lovely Chinese girl called Nancy. She was the only person who spoke English at the pencil case factory I used in China. The factory did lovely products, but production was always running late, and we would often miss the shipments to Australia. One year the truck delivering the pencil cases went missing, and I said to Nancy, ‘I have my fingers crossed that the driver makes it to the wharf on time.’ There was a brief silence at the other end of the telephone before Nancy finally spoke. ‘We have all seen your fingers. Please don’t cross them.’ As it was too hard to explain a figure of speech, I swallowed my pride and agreed to leave my fingers alone! Recounting this story reminds me of many hilarious times discussing my body issues with Chinese colleagues. They seem to have no filter where I am concerned – especially about my weight. As I am not a stick-thin size 8, they feel it their duty to point this out, normally in a crowded room. My most embarrassing moment was when my production manager, Kimberley, and I were at a factory in Ningbo, finishing off a week of inspections. Everything had gone smoothly. The entire factory staff (all size 0 Chinese women) squeezed into the showroom to present Kimberley and me with gifts. The factory owner, Mr Wrong (no kidding), presented Kimberley with a beautiful silk scarf. Everyone clapped. Kimberley wrapped it around her neck and beamed. My turn. Hoping for another silk scarf, I unwrapped my present, only to find a silk garment - maybe a nightie or a really small dress. With flaps down the side. Like an albatross. I thanked everyone and tried to hide it back in the bag. Nope. The team wanted me to try it on. In front of them. By this time, Kimberley was snorting with laughter, and comments from the workers didn’t help: ‘How big is she?’ ‘She is too big’ ‘There is no bigger size’ ‘Can it stretch?’ Two terribly helpful staff ran to my aid and, egged on by their colleagues, tried to pull the seams out sideways to fit around my waist (maybe if they had attempted to fit it on my arm they would have had more luck...) Finally admitting defeat, they helped me wrap it back up, and I skulked back to the hotel (followed by Kimberley, with tears of laughter still running down her face). Since then, I have put requests in for presents of Chinese tea. It’s safer.
. . .Enough about me and my albatross dress - I’m meant to be talking about nail polish, and tweens feeling grown up and special when they paint their nails. As I’m no expert in the field, I’ve enlisted the help of some nail polish specialists and have planned some great in-store workshops for the month - tweens will learn how to turn their nails into works of art at one workshop, and my daughter Jess is going to show girls how to use nail polish to brighten up everyday items at another workshop (she uses nail polish to transform her eye glasses, but we will stick to cute boxes and flower pots!) Keep an eye out for more information in our Buzz email, in our stores and on our Facebook page. Until next time, J.