Silk road to success

Words by:
Caroline Bingham
Featured in:
March 2016

We live in an age when it is possible to enjoy not just first careers but a second, or more, and three ladies from Lincolnshire have found friendship goes hand in hand with entrepreneurship.
Joy Clews, Avril Parsons and Karen Richardson are friends from Snitterby and Lincoln and they launched their accessory partnership, JAK Silks (created from the initials of their names) to invited guests at Avril’s home last April.

“Joy and I met through our bridge club,” explained Avril. “Karen was a work colleague of Joy’s. While we span different decades in age we became firm friends and inspiration for the business has come from Joy’s travels and talks about India.”

Joy is a seasoned traveller in India and had brought back the most beautiful silk scarves. In 2014 Avril accompanied her there on a mission to identify suppliers who would be perfect for their fledgling scarf and accessory business.

“It was very exciting,” continued Avril, “to be launching our business in my eighth decade and I have loved every moment of it so far.”

The first range JAK Silks imported were Mulberry scarves from Amritsar, named after the diet of the worms which produce the finest silk thread. There is a rainbow of colours from which to choose, with shimmer and subtle contrast of shade from one side of the fabric to the other.

“We are marketing our scarves as part of the talks we give to groups about how we set up the business as well as advising on styles of tying and wearing them,” said Avril.

Avril used her marketing experience to identify only the finest quality products. “We know that our ranges compete on quality with the designer brands but controlling the import ourselves gives us a very competitive price advantage. For example the Amritsar scarves are priced at £35 each.”

Another range features highly decorative yet softly blended jacquard designs which have the reversible colourway too. Elegant tasseling adds a final flourish to the finish. Scarves with alternate sheer and dense panels priced at £25 have a very contemporary feel. The most recent additions to the range have been a selection of mufflers, beach pareos in the finest of gossamer silk and jute bags. Colourways blend across the pareo panels, which cost £20, to give great flexibility for wear.

Avril said: “Our website and Facebook page is up and running, so the next phase is to identify like-minded, independent businesses where our ranges would perfectly complement their stock and client base.” Meanwhile, JAK Silks are available for talks and Ladies Days across the county. If you would like to see their range or get in touch go to: or find them on Facebook: JAK Silks.

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