It's all in the Details
On a recent trip to NZ, my dear brother collected me from Queenstown airport. He was not well but came anyway, bless him. He was frustrated with the January summer tourist traffic and said out loud to himself, “Okay, don’t sweat the small stuff, Steve”.
Amen, I thought, to that. Small stuff is just that, small and not worth your concern.
It was a short 45 min drive to Clyde, the place of our birth where our mother lay in a coma after a massive stroke and in her precious last few days. Yes, I know, our family has had a pretty rough ride in the past few months. For mum, although sad for us, it was her time. She was in her 90th year and ready to go.

Aurelius Leather Bags 

Images from Sharm's journey in New Zealand, with his Aurelius Leather bags & close up shots of Bandhini products.


On that day the Remarkables mountain range and the Shotover River took on a new brilliance. It seemed more magical and alive, the sun bright and light giving, like it was attempting to soothe us and give a far grander, hopeful message. “What are you looking at”, Steve said to me as my head darted from side to side? “Everything”, I said, “It’s all so awesome”! Although I had grown up in this wondrous landscape, I felt I was just then seeing it. “Bloody Lord of the Rings”, I thought! So beautiful in all its simple glory.

In our design company, the smallest of details are often the essence of our product and what we stand for. The right button, the correct shade of piping, how things sit or fold. That all our cushions are French seamed and have a spare button sewn inside. I spend most of my time contemplating the new details and the different ways of doing things. Thoughtful, meaningful design not slapped together with a “that’ll do” attitude.

We also think about how our client's orders come to them. Lauren’s lovely hand calligraphy, a personal note, gifts of handmade cards, a wee bottle of champagne with your new catalog or Christmas gifts.



Images at Bandhini HQ of Lauren writing her calligraphy and a finished order.


As hard as we try even in business, we have clients that we seem never to get it right for. Thank God they are few and far between. We try desperately to double check and take all kinds of precautions. But they are anxious and over predictive and it sometimes turns to custard. I believe over years of observation that people tend to drag that energy to themselves. Sweating that small stuff, of all the things that could go wrong, is genuinely not good for you.

We all know people that are so preoccupied with ‘the injustice of it all’ defence, to the point of being pedantic about people offending them or not getting things right! They’ll spend hours on a simple mistake or oversight of someone who has actually no clue of what they have done. In describing it to you it’s a big catastrophe and reprehensible. The more they seem to anticipate the mistake, others unconsciously create it, leading to another “I told you so” moment. They keep these things close to them, like treasured pets, which underlies a more unsettling problem.


Close ups of cushions 

Images of close up and personal Bandhini products.


Anxiety has no trouble creeping in and stealing your peace of mind. The details of someone’s order or how we might have handled something better is known to wake me many times during the night.

I have long been a sufferer of anxiety. I didn’t even know it was that until I was in my 50s. I was raised by a perfectionist. My mother was a very precise and exacting women and liked things done her way and to her high standards. I developed anxiety around not getting things right or being in trouble for not knowing what to do. It’s learned behaviour. She acknowledged this in her last years and regretted the wasted hours spent on it. It was one of her biggest sadnesses that she spent more time scrubbing the steps than reading to us as children.


Aurelius Leather Bags


Images taken by Sharm while he was away in New Zealand with his best friend Marcus and their Aurelius Leather bags.


Depression and anxiety are a toxin of our modern age and that the way out often is to end our own pain, ourselves. It has been described that feeling is like ‘the choice of dying in a burning building or jumping to your death’. More evident in recent weeks when clever, talented and seemingly successful people have taken that choice. An even more pressing reason to check in with our friends constantly and not just in a social media way.

Life is really in the details of how we observe and speak to each other, the things that should concern us are their well-being and happiness. Being gentle, speaking something kind, saying something funny or silly to lighten their load, when you can clearly see they are carrying a burden, big or small. Giving them a gift to remind them they are special and that you care. That’s the kind of small stuff that matters.

Kindness they say is a killer of all fear.



Footnote: Steve, who was a talented an gifted New Zealand builder and sportsman, died aged 64 April 29 with his children and grandchildren around him in that very same hospital room mum passed in and of the same monster disease our dad died of 29 years earlier at 63. Both, very much before their time.


By Tai Schaffler - founder of Bandhini

June 20, 2018 — Tai Schaffler



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Anna said:

Thank you for sharing this. Upon reading, I have felt very connected with what is real is life. Yes I agree, don’t sweat on the small stuff. I too have gone through the monster C’ in the family, what a shock that was.

I love the authenticity of Bandhini, keep it up.


Anna said:

Thank you for sharing this. Upon reading, I have felt very connected with what is real is life. Yes I agree, don’t sweat on the small stuff. I too have gone through the monster C’ in the family, what a shock that was.

I love the authenticity of Bandhini, keep it up.

Jodie Cooper

Jodie Cooper said:

My beautiful, talented, articulate friend if only more people had an ounce of your integrity, compassion, wisdom and vision to see through your eye’s, it would reach their hearts and that’s no small and infinite respect always xxd


Simone said:

What a beautiful piece of writing and a timely reminder for us all! I really enjoyed reading this, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved mother and brother. Sending you love and light.

Simone xx


Sal said:

Fab pic’s Tai…& your gorgeous Sharm..
BTW Tai… Love your thoughts ! Yes we all have been through severe grief & loss & far too young … . blessed to have such wonderful memories..
Sal x


Lauren said:

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story. It was really very touching and I’m picking up the phone now to check on a friend that is going through some stuff.


Ruth said:

Tai, a really authentic, thought provoking and beautifully put together post. The words resonated with me on various levels. I was very sorry to hear about the loss of your Mother and more recently your brother. I hope you are getting the support you need as you navigate a life without them.

All the best.


Keryn said:

This was a really beautifully written heartfelt piece, thanks for the reminder, our thoughts are with you


Amy said:

Oh gosh that EDM – tears in my eyes!
So heartfelt. You guys do an amazing job! We love your products J
Sorry to hear of family members being unwell. L


Cath said:

I want you to know how moving your blog was today -yes I had a few tears . Incredibly touching, so sensitively written.
Your beautiful spirit shines thru in all you do.


Marina said:

Thanks Tai for sharing… hauntingly beautiful read with just as beautiful photography to match.

Thoughts and prayers


Jo said:

What a wonderfully written piece – wishing you and your family love and peace XXX


Anne said:

I haven’t caught up with you in years, but reading the latest email has urged me to write and let you know I am sorry to hear of your sad loss of family members. I can only imagine the grief you must be enduring.

My thoughts are with you and your family.

So you may be able to place me in your world of so many people, I am Anne from McDonald Jones and I still work on the display homes for the company with Guest Group.

Thank you for your note, and the details you attend to on your products- they are beautiful.

Just a note to let you know my thoughts are with you all.


Melinda said:

Thank you for sharing, that was beautifully written.


Kim said:

Oh dear Tai, I adore your beautifully worded e-mails. Brings tears to my eye’s to read what a rough time you have had losing your dear family. I’m sure I’ve said it before but I’m so sorry for your loss, it’s just awful losing someone you love.

I have said it to clients before, (in a diplomatic way), but for some enlightenment and well needed perspective AKA- Reality check – “ in Africa people are literally starving to death and don’t have a roof over their head or food on the table…. tell me how is a delayed cushion is a big deal!!?

Sometimes people need reminding of the reality of life X We are all to sensitive and far too polite.

Have a good day beautiful, keep warm x

Moira & Joe

Moira & Joe said:

Sorry to hear of your loss Tai.
Both your mother and brother would be very pleased at the beautiful way that you have expressed yourself, and your love for them.
May time heal you and strength from above be with you during this time.


Rosemary said:

Hi Tai,
That is a Wonderfull piece of Writing
And very true
Thank you for sending it to me
I am sorry for your loses and for your brothers news
You certainly have had more than your share
You have such a wonderful heart and I see
It shining through
Lots and lots of Love


Pam said:

Beautiful story Tai and keep doing what you are doing and don’t sweat the small stuff.


Fiona said:

Thank you for that little insight of what we are all dealing with.
A well written article.
Our thoughts go out to with you at the sad loss of your mum and brother.


Carrie said:

So enjoyed your story & sorry for your loss :-(


Cathy said:

Really beautifully said Tai.
We all need reminding.


Nola said:

I feel helpless to say anything more than I send you and all your family my love.


Grant said:

Hey Tai,
If that’s a blog, it’s the most beautiful one I’ve ever read.
I know you’re speaking from the heart but you do have a natural talent for writing.
Sorry for your loss.


Emma said:

Fantastic blog, so true. I love what you do!


Rosemary said:

My condolences on the death of Tai’s brother Steve.


Kim said:

Thank you for this beautiful and impactful message. May God bless you and keep you in the palm of His hand.


Nicole said:

I always love reading your blogs, you write so beautifully and from the heart but I was so sad to hear about both your mum and particularly your brother, who was way too young to go. I just wanted to say I am thinking of you and all of your family. You certainly have had a tough time of late, and although I don’t know you well, please know that this is sent with much love.

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