Our Seek Inspire Create Event in Hastings

At the end of June, we hosted the 2nd in our series of Seek Inspire Create days. For our summer event, we decided to head to the coast, to one of my favourite seaside towns - Hastings. I’ve you’ve missed what these events are all about, it is basically a chance for us to bring the magazine to life - visiting in person some of types of beautiful independent stores we feature in the magazine as well as meeting and learning from inspirational creative women and getting the chance to make something beautiful with our hands. The days follows the structure of Seek, Inspire, Create - this is a little run through of the day, with beautiful images by SarahLou Francis.

SEEK

The first part of the day took in three of my favourite independent shops in the town. We featured all of these shops in our Instagrammer’s Guide to Hastings post, and I always pop in when I visit the town. What makes the visit extra special when part of our event is that we get to hear direct from the owners all about the story behind their business and have the chance to ask questions, before browsing and shopping with exclusive discount. I’m pretty sure our whole group treated themselves to some goodies, it was hard to resist that’s for sure!

91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - Butlers Emporium
91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - Butlers Emporium
91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - Butlers Emporium
91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - Butlers Emporium
91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - Butlers Emporium

We kicked off the day at Butler’s Emporium, a shop I have visited for many years now. Sadly owner Rose was away on a buying trip to Morocco when we were there this time, but her colleague Julia shared a little bit of insight into how they go about sourcing their eclectic mix of products from around the world as well as from British independent makers. The shop used to be a traditional hardware store, and Rose has kept lots of the original fittings to display her wares, so the bones of the space itself are just as interesting as what she has filled it with! It’s unlikely you will leave this shop without a little treat for yourself or a gift for someone.

91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - Warp and Weft
91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - Warp and Weft
91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - Warp and Weft
91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - Warp and Weft
91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - Warp and Weft
91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - Warp and Weft

After a quick coffee stop, we headed to Warp and Weft, just a few doors down from Butler’s Emporium. This store is incredibly unique and one of the most interesting shops I’ve ever been in. Owner Leida was a wonderful host, giving us a tour of both floors of the shop as well as their workshop area. Leida and her team design and make all the garments in their classic collection of clothing for men and women, which can all be tailored to fit perfectly. While they’ve been doing what they do for years, it feels even more relevant these days, as we all become more akin with the idea of buying clothes to last. Again, the shop is housed in a beautiful old building which is steeped in history and oozing character. Make sure you don’t stroll past it’s narrow store front on your next visit to the town.

91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - Reste
91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - Reste
91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - Reste
91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - Reste
91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - Reste

The last stop on the SEEK section of the day was Reste - a treasure trove of rattan, plants, ceramics, magazines (including 91!), stationery, beauty products and much more. Owner Jacqui is so lovely and told us about how different her previous business was - running a party-ware shop! Now, her focus is very much on sustainability and helping people create a home that is filled with natural materials, greenery and eco-friendly products. I’m pretty sure I could spend a good hour in here (at least!) poring over all the beautiful items, trying to decide what to treat myself to! On this visit, one of the gorgeous rattan mirrors made it’s way back to 91 HQ!

91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - The Crown pub for lunch
91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - The Crown pub for lunch
91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - The Crown pub for lunch
91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - The Crown pub for lunch
91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - talk with nutritionalist Daniela Exley
91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - talk with ceramicist Pip WIlcox

INSPIRE

After a morning of shopping, we were all ready for a sit down and some food, so we headed around the corner to our table in the friendly Crown Pub. Goodie bags awaited our guests as did a delicious light lunch menu. After filling our tummies, we bundled into the cosy snug at the other side of the pub, where we were met by two inspirational women, ready to share their wisdom with us. First up was Daniela Exley, a naturopathic nutritionalist, who runs Beets, Pulse and Thyme. Daniela really does know her stuff when it comes to all things healthy eating and we all learnt so much about easy changes we can implement in our diets. Everyone in the group scrambled to snap up one of her ‘28 Day Mind and Body Reset’ books at the end of the session! Following Daniela, was Pip Wilcox, a ceramicist who has made Hastings her adopted home. Her move to the town was part of her story which she shared with us whole-heartedly, focussing on the how and why involved in making a big change in your life. Pip’s words resonated with all of us in the room, and afterwards we all admitted to getting a little bit emotional! Thank you to both ladies for being so incredibly generous with your knowledge and advice.

91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - candle making with Lagom at Cake Room
91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - candle making with Lagom at Cake Room
91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - candle making with Lagom at Cake Room
91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - candle making with Lagom at Cake Room
91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - candle making with Lagom at Cake Room
91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create event in Hastings - candle making with Lagom at Cake Room

CREATE

Feeling inspired, we chat all things creative as we take a stroll along the seafront to our final venue. Stepping into Cake Room we are immediately hit by the most amazing aromas and met by the creator of these delicious scents - Thabi - owner of Lagom candles. (You may have spotted her in our current issue too!) Thabi has prepared mini candle making stations for us all, and we spend the first part of the session learning all about essential oils and the different types of wax used for making candles. (Paraffin wax is a bad choice - avoid at all costs folks!) We all then had a chance to make our own soy candle which Thabi later posted to us to enjoy at home. The day was, of course, rounded off with tea and cake - a delicious vegan gingerbread and cola cake no less!

Like with our previous event in Lewes (you can read about that one here) it really was my ideal day out - shopping in beautiful stores, chatting with like-minded folk, being inspired by other creative women AND getting to make something wonderful to take home! I know that some people have perhaps been put off by the ticket price, but for everything that the day offers I really think it is great value. Sometimes we need to invest in ourselves - give ourselves time away from the every day and spend time with others who ‘get’ you.

The plan is to hopefully do one more of these events this year, so I really hope to see some more of you at that one. If there is anything you’d love to see us do at future events, please do leave a comment here, or via social media or email. These events are for our readers and we want them to be everything you’d love from a day built just for you.

Thanks to everyone that was involved in our day in Hastings - it was simply fabulous!

All photography: SarahLou Francis

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Reste

91 reunites with Jacqui Martin- owner of Reste, a natural homewares store on England’s south coast.

When 91 hosted our first pop-up market held at Tottenham Court Road’s West Elm store, guests were first welcomed by Jacqui Martin and her range of useful, beautiful and naturally-inspired homewares. Wooden cleaning tools sat happily alongside soy candles, with texture and warmth from wool blankets and soft linens. Reste began as an online destination in 2015, and opened its doors as a bricks-and-mortar store in the summer of 2017, and throughout that time the product range has varied little. ‘Everything I source for Reste is beautifully made, and designed to be used and cherished for a long time,’ says Jacqui. ‘There is a reason and provenance behind all the products, encouraging shoppers to buy more carefully - I hate throwaway consumerism.’  

Reste, lifestyle store, Hastings

This isn’t Jacqui’s first foray into the world of online retail, however. As the mother of two daughters, Jacqui used the online market to open a partyware website around 15 years ago, which she ran from home. The business sold exclusive party bags, filled with unique handmade products at a time when partyware was very much focussed on the mainstream shopping outlets. ‘I’m incredibly risk averse, so I built my business slowly but it eventually became huge,’ explains Jacqui. ‘I became quite disillusioned with the throw-away, mass-produced things I was stocking and the growth of the competition, so I decided to sell the business in 2014.’  

Reste, homeware store, Hastings

A move to Hastings along the south coast of England followed, but Jacqui soon missed her online business. ‘I missed buying and sourcing products, I missed the photography aspect, and I missed the connection through social media,’ continues Jacqui. ‘So I decided to create something less commercially-driven, and didn’t really plan ahead too much- I just knew I wanted to stock items where I knew the origin of everything.’ Jacqui’s approach to curating her stock is often more ad-hoc than other independent stores. ‘I don’t follow trends, and I only visited a trade show for the first time a month ago!’ laughs Jacqui. ‘A lot of the producers are small artists and makers that I’ve found through Instagram, and others I’ve found through my love of window shopping and lifestyle photoshoots,’ she adds.  

Reste, lifestyle store, Hastings

A keen traveller, Jacqui often finds products that are specific to a geographical area, such as the natural wooden cleaning brushes. ‘These are produced in a small factory in Sweden, which is known for its brush-binding,’ she explains. ‘They’re made by visually-impaired people, so it keeps them in work and also means that both the makers and the shopkeeper (me!) benefit from my selling the products.’ This ethical approach to selling is really at the heart of Reste, but it has its challenges. ‘The value of the pound and Brexit is posing challenges- I’m limited in what I can import from Europe and even from the US,’ sighs Jacqui. ‘However, I love to support local makers and relish the small batches of products they’re able to produce. There’s room for everyone if we support each other.’  

Reste, lifestyle store, Hastings

Reste opened its wood and glass doors in June of 2017, when an unexpected opportunity arose. ‘I hadn’t necessarily planned to open a destination shop, but my husband was looking for a local office space and we chose a site with a retail area that I could use for workshops as well as an office for him,’ recalls Jacqui. 'Hastings is an area with masses of cultural heritage, and the population of artists, illustrators and musicians are really beginning to spread themselves across the retail part of the town,’ Jacqui continues. ‘The shop space here had previously been various take-away food outlets and had a reputation for being cursed- the French restaurant that occupied the space before me never even opened!’ After applying layers and layers of white paint to the space, Jacqui began to source her furniture and fittings as cheaply as possible. Reclaimed scaffold planks hung with nautical rope provide shelving as well as a nod to the seaside location, and a wax pasting table provides the ideal display area for the shop’s ceramics and plants. Like the stock, the space itself is natural, fresh and purposeful. ‘The most surprising aspect is how supportive my local community has been- opening the shop has really made my feel part of the town, I feel so rooted,’ Jacqui smiles.

Reste, lifestyle store, Hastings

The shop floor has also provided Jacqui with an opportunity to display another of her loves- antique and vintage finds. ‘There’s lots of vintage bits in the shop that aren’t available online,’ says Jacqui. ‘I try to source things with real provenance regardless of whether they’re collectable or not; for example, the Balkan ceramics I love to buy from antiques markets have been surprisingly popular and are often hard to part with!’ Other favourites included the Scandinavian ceramics, which Jacqui admits are probably the only things she stocks that are purely aesthetic.

Jacqui Martin, owner of Reste, lifestyle store, Hastings

2018 is an exciting prospect for Jacqui, as she looks ahead to buying seasonally and enjoying her first spring and summer in the shop. ‘I tend to buy small amounts often, especially when buying wholesale from small makers,’ she explains. ‘I’m beginning to learn what sells quickly, and the limitations of a small space- it certainly keeps my job interesting.’ With a select, ethical stock range that places emphasis on provenance and practicality, it’s no wonder that Jacqui is excited about exploring the possibilities of Reste in coming year and beyond. 

Reste, 3 George St, Hastings, TN34 3EG