Shopkeeper Spotlight: Morningtide

Created by graphic designer Lisa Jackson (owner of Good on Paper Design) and ceramic artist Lisa Fontaine, lifestyle store Morningtide on California’s West Coast, brings together their creative skills and passion for design. We caught up the ‘Lisa’s’ to hear about curating collections, supporting artisans and the joys of being each others work-wives.

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When and why did you decide to open Morningtide?

We opened up Morningtide in the fall of 2017 because we felt like our neighborhood was in need of some fresh new retail. We both love design and curating a shop felt like a natural next step after running our own creative businesses for years. We were ready for a new project!

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What had you done before? Did any of these skills help?

Our experience with our own businesses helped us greatly. We both understand the work ethic and dedication it takes to create a successful start up. Our styles align, so curating the shop is easy and fun. We are both committed to excellent communication and to work on our work-wife relationship as much as one would a domestic partner.

Photo: Marble & Rye Photography

Photo: Marble & Rye Photography

How did you decide on the name?

We both wanted our shop name to evoke a feeling of a calm and slow morning (we both have young kids so we don't know what that's like!) We brainstormed a big list of words and the words "morning" and "tide" were included in that list. After a late night perusing Thesaurus.com, we discovered that morningtide is the archaic word for morning. It just felt right and we are so happy with it.

How would you describe the interior style of the store?

Modern, clean, minimal and natural with a Californian/West Coast beachy aesthetic.

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You're passionate about supporting artisan and ethical production, why is this so important to you?

We only get one chance at treating our planet with kindness and each of us has the opportunity to do our own part. For Morningtide, we can make a positive impact by stocking local artists who create natural products free of toxins.

You’ve recently added a sustainable living section to the shop, tell us more about it…

The new sustainable living section includes bamboo ware, reusable straws, and ceramic and silicone to-go containers. Adding this section aligns with our own personal ethics, while still maintaining a Morningtide aesthetic for clean and modern design. We are excited about expanding this section of the shop.

We are also really excited about our Morningtide Loop—a curated selection of gently used independent designer brands created to encourage the investment in slow fashion brands, upcycling, and sustainability. In addition, every piece of clothing purchased new in our shop could be resold through our Morningtide Loop.

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How do you source your gorgeous stock?

We travel to Los Angeles to attend independent designer trade shows and showrooms to source our women's clothing. We find our ceramic artists, jewellery and gifts at local shows such as West Coast Craft at Fort Mason in San Francisco. We also find out about many new brands through Instagram.

As well as stocking wares from independents, do you create anything in-house?

Yes! Lisa (Fontaine) is a ceramic artist, she creates some of the ceramics we sell. Lisa (Jackson) is a graphic designer and designs all of the event flyers and sells a few of her greeting cards and notepads in the shop.

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Which item is your bestseller? Why do you think that is?

Everyday Oil is our best selling product. It's unisex skincare for your face, body and hair made from 100% plant-based botanical oils and smells divine. Everyday Oil also makes an unscented version, perfect for babies or those sensitive to essential oils. Also, the price point is great.

What do you enjoy most about running Morningtide?

Interacting with the customers each day is a total joy. Our shop is in a very small community so we have dozens of customers who pop in weekly. We've gotten to know their children, their dog, and the types of products they gravitate towards. We love bringing people together at our pop-up events too.

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What has been your career highlight (so far!)?

Opening up the shop has been the highlight! We were excited but also scared to open a shop at a time when people warned us that retail is dead. It felt like a risk in the beginning but it has really worked out well in our favour. We find that our community still values being able to come into a brick and mortar shop, talk to a friendly shop keeper, and make their purchases rather than shopping online.

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What is the neighbourhood like? Do you have a community of independent stores around you?

Our neighbourhood is very family friendly and the locals love supporting their local businesses. The main street does have a lot of independent businesses that have been there for 30+ years, mostly service businesses. We don't have a lot of direct retail competition on the street which is nice for us, but we have a nearby coffeeshop that shares a customer demographic to us so we make a good pair.

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Before you go, do you have any top tips/advice for those thinking of starting their own store?

It's a lot of work and can be overwhelming at times but having a great business partner has been huge for us. Since we share the workload, we are able to take a lot on and try out a lot of different ideas without ever reaching full burnout. We could not do this without each other nor would we want to!

Find Morningtide at 847 Cornell Avenue, Albany, CA

Online at morningtideshop.com and on Instagram

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Holy Water

Located in the picturesque seaside village of Beer, Devon, Holy Water is a modern apothecary store stocking beautiful natural products free from preservatives and harsh chemicals; instead they are full of hand collected, foraged and harvested from-the-wild goodies. We spoke with Alyssa, who runs Holy Water with her husband Wil, to talk simplistic style, hand-making products and breaking the ‘expensive equals quality’ mindset…

Hi Alyssa! When and why did you decide to open Holy Water? 

I moved from the States in April 2018 after living and working in Seattle, WA. We were living in Bath at the time and had been searching for a shop space in which to explore this new venture. We were on holiday in Beer and saw a 'for rent' sign in the window. We ended up taking it that week, which was wild!

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What had you both done before? Did any of these skills help?

Wil (still) works in the design industry for the Danish company HAY. While I worked for an herbal apothecary in Seattle and a gin company in Bath - before that I'd always been in retail and management. These skills were essential to our decision to open a shop. Wil could source the materials to make the shop look presentable and I could speak about the products we sell. 

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Holy Water Apothecary, Beer

Sounds like a dream team! How did you decide on the name?

Five years ago when I started the brand, I was consumed with how much water changes the skincare routine. We need to consume water for clear skin, to wash our skin, to mix the masks, salts for the bath, etc. It was a play on words for how sacred water is to the skin. Although we do get a lot of religious questions! 

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How would you describe the interior style of Holy Water?

Originally it was pretty bland. When we took the property on we stripped back the 70's wood-chip and re-plastered and re-painted. We only had about ten days to turn a shell into the shop. We rescued a beautiful parquet cash desk from the bin. We also found the shelves for the jars from an old school that had been remodelled. We found Wedgwood factory drying shelves in old oak which sit in front of an exposed stone wall. So it's a mix of old and modern that's sits well with our brand list. It was really imperative for us to keep the integrity of the building in tact and keep it simple.

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Holy Water Apothecary, Beer

You're passionate about natural products, why is it so important to you?

I've always been attracted to products derived from natural and herbal constituents. In fact, I can remember being a child and pressing strawberries and raspberries to my cheeks and lips to stain them over using my mom’s makeup. I worked for a few natural markets before working for an apothecary and I think that helped to push me in the right direction; seeing individuals so excited about making products at home using no nonsense ingredients that could actually HELP you was a game changer.

I also grew up with a low-waste father who instilled the important of reusing and recycling everything. I want to keep the conversation out in the open about skincare and not hide behind clever packaging and tricky hidden labels. I suffered with acne for most of my life and the only thing that helped me was natural skincare and herbs. This is my primary reason for doing this- to help humans feel their best and most beautiful. 

How do you source your wares?

I'd been compiling a list for months of stockists we'd want to carry if we opened our own space. Some are from the States and others are from England- we have a few "rules" we follow if we stock products at the shop- local, handmade, homemade or ethically/sustainably made.

We have a lot of local products from Devon and south England as well as small batch homemade products. It's so important for us to support the local community. 

Holy Water Apothecary, Beer
Holy Water Apothecary, Beer

As well as stocking from independents, what do you create in-house? Do you enjoy the process?

In the shop we make three bath soaks and four clay masks. This process is incredibly personal to me. I walk the coast of Devon to collect varieties of seaweed and dry them in the shop, I pick the yarrow in season, our cousins make us the charcoal in Devon and I grind all of the oats and rose petals by hand. Making these are the most meditative and quiet I can be while constantly thinking about what's next! 

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That’s so lovely! Which item is your best seller?

Our salts, masks, soaps and Juniper Ridge are our best sellers. I think people always want to support local now, which is great. Knowing we make them in-house exclusively makes them a little more special as a gift or for the home. Juniper Ridge is a Californian company (where I am originally from) that distills indigenous herbs and uses the essential oils for their soaps. It smells amazing and they donate 10% of all sales to protecting the wilderness. 

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Which product is your can't-live-without? You can choose a few if it’s too difficult…

I definitely can't live without the clay masks or the herbs. We sell over 75 organic herbs for teas, tinctures or recipes that I rely on to feel my best. I mostly drink nettle, red raspberry leaf, clover and ginko. However the roots are really helpful for clearing the skin - burdock, dandelion, liquorice and yellow dock. The masks I definitely need to keep my skin evened out!

What do you enjoy most about running Holy Water?

The people who visit. It's my passion to speak about natural products and herbal remedies and I love helping people to find "their product" even if it's just a bar of soap. Each one of our labels has a backstory and I thoroughly enjoy telling people about them.

I also love creating custom teas for different situations to keep it personal and individual. I really hate going into a shop and nobody can give me any information on the products - I wanted to learn as much as I could and stay updated and educated to be the most helpful for the guests who come in.

I also keep all of our products under £40. I don't think beautiful things should be expensive and I don't think cheaper products aren't good for you. In fact I'm trying to break the "expensive equals quality" routine we seem to be in. Good products can be ethical and affordable and are in many cases better for your skin and body/mind.

Holy Water Apothecary, Beer
Holy Water Apothecary, Beer

What has been your career highlight (so far!)?

Opening a shop has been a huge accomplishment - although it has definitely been a learning curve. We haven't yet been open a year and there are so many variants we have to keep in the forefront. Expanding without losing integrity or "selling out," keeping a decent selection without overpricing products, staying present and informed about those products and our stockists. 

Do you have any top tips for those thinking of starting their own store?

It's important to remember why you're doing it. I wanted a shopfront to sell teas and skincare because I genuinely want people to feel their best. So the integrity and ethos is in the forefront. It's also imperative to TAKE IT SLOW. We opened the shop on savings and didn't take a huge loan which means we had the opportunity to build very slowly and not rush to make the shop fully packed with products. This means we are extra careful in choosing the brands we stock and careful about how quickly we expand. Also staying creative! We had no expensive shop-fit, just paint and a few really good finds. Keep it simple and keep it you. 

Holy Water Apothecary, Beer
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What does the future hold for Holy Water?

We're definitely excited to introduce more small independent brands in store! We are also working to develop low waste and bulk skincare in refillable and recyclable packaging- as well as compostable and sustainable skincare and teas. We're trying to incorporate our surroundings - both natural and personal - into the stock as much as possible... so stay tuned! 

Find Holy Water at Fore Street, Beer, Devon, EX12 3JB and online.

Follow them on Instagram.

Photography: Jim Holland  and Caroline Rowland

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Sancho's

Kalkidan Legesse and partner Vidmantas Markevicius first met at university – the two like-minds beginning a journey that led to the creation of Sancho’s, an inspiring and inclusive ethical clothing and lifestyle store in Exeter, and online. We talk to co-founder Kalkidan to find out more…

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Hi Kalkidan! How would you sum up the essence of your business, Sancho’s?  

Sancho's main shop is a beautiful little space in the best part of town, where you can discover some fantastic ethical brands, and also learn about how sustainable fashion works. The staff are brilliantly friendly, dogs are welcome and the clothes are all made with natural environmentally sound fabrics in fair trade conditions. 

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What inspired the idea of setting up Sancho’s, and what was your journey in making it a reality?

Our first objective with Sancho's was to celebrate crafts from fair trade producer groups in Ethiopia. I had actually not really known how clothing was made until I first saw weaving in Ethiopia during a work placement. It blew my mind, like seeing a new colour. I suddenly got a sense for how the clothing, that usually is only associated with style and trend, comes from the hard work of individuals, and I fell in love. Weaving is like that - weavers create fabrics and clothes from things as simple as cotton spools. I thought that was amazing then, and I still do! As an Ethiopian I was also really proud to see this new culture, art and story from my home. A story so different to what I grew up learning about Ethiopia - centred on poverty and Bob Geldof. I wanted to share that with the world.

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The idea developed because we learnt that we were not the only ones who didn’t really understand how clothing was made - and actually our ignorance was not by accident but by design. The industry is focused around selling customers new clothes - and presenting the idea that we all need to keep up with fast changing trends - whilst encouraging us to seek the lowest possible price. This of course comes at the cost of the makers in developing countries around the world. We wanted to change that, connecting people with makers and providing a shop for brands, makers and designers actually doing the process right, and transparently. That’s how Sancho's became the ethical clothing and lifestyle shop that it is today. 

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What are co-founder Vidmantas and your backgrounds?

We were both students studying various forms of sustainable economics. I’m an Ethiopian immigrant, he is a Lithuanian immigrant, and we met during the summer working as part-time waiters at the university. We both had to work as students (I actually started working at 14, as a paintball marshall), and gained a range of experience, from part-time teaching to working for non-governmental and non-profit organisations. We first started Sancho's at university, and opened a pop-up about one month after graduating. 

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Where does the name Sancho’s come from?

Sancho is a nickname used to describe girls who are strong and a little chubby in Ethiopia. It’s a household name that I picked up from childhood, having always been strong and a little chubby. As my name is unusual for the UK (although very common in other parts of the world), I have picked up various nicknames over the years, but Sancho has always stood out as my favourite!

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What are the values that underpin your business?

We set out to create as much positive impact as we can through fashion. So our clothing is made with natural and sustainable materials, under fair trade conditions. We ensure that we source from suppliers that have these principles by looking for audits and certificates, like those provided by the Global Organic Textile Standard and the World Fair Trade Organisation.

We have a range of small scale, locally-made items which are not certified - however in these cases we deal with the makers directly and always follow prices set by them. We have also built a repairing service into our business, so that we can alter clothing for other people and repair small damages - this allows us to put no clothing into landfill at all as a business, and as a result we are quite pleased!

Being ethical and sustainable is a journey, and we try to ensure that we are always moving in the right direction by reviewing our purchasing decisions regularly and applying new information as we learn it. 

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How did you first discover your love for what you do, and realise the direction you wanted to take?

I'm not sure that I see Sancho's as one direction. I, like most other people, am discovering myself and my goals for my life. Sancho's currently is the gift in which my partner and I get to live our values and make our impact on the world. I love it because it is so freeing in direction, and takes me multiple places. Every now and again, I try to sit down with myself to make sure that I am living my values, and that Sancho's is healthy and moving forward - then I try to align these two things. 

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What inspires you creatively in what you do at Sancho’s?

I’m very much motivated by trying to live out the words 'be the change you want to see in the world'. A lot of our decisions come from asking ourselves what is the best we can do with the business as our tool. For example, over the past year or so, the real cost of single waste plastic use on the environment is becoming clearer. We've been learning alongside our customers that we have to change our habits. As a result, we did some research and found that people find it quite challenging to source alternatives to single plastic products - things as simple as wooden tooth brushes or traditional steel razors. There are a whole host of products that people might not even consider to replace, such as sanitary products (the average women uses over 1000 tampons in her adult life!). After we had done this research, we knew we wanted to at least provide a small alternative, which is why we launched our zero waste range. Most of our decisions happen organically like that, and because we hope that they will do a little good. 

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Is the online community integral to your work?

Most of our communication happens on social media and it is a hugely useful tool for building a community and staying in touch with them. We spend quite a lot of time on our Instagram, and love using it. 

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Do you have any creative pastimes and passions?

I wish I could say that I had many other pastimes, but I spend most of my time working on Sancho's. Happily so, currently. I am also a keen (amateur) runner, and feel really lucky to be so close to the green spaces near Exeter. If I want to unwind, I will paint - currently privately but one day this is a skill I'd like to hone in on.

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How did you go about designing Sancho’s spaces?

We want our stores to feel inviting and inclusive, like the home of a radical and loving aunty who has great sense of fashion! We did this by mixing in slogans - our affirmations - with natural materials, bright spaces and of course, beautiful clothes. We hope that people find the shop easy and welcoming. 

How do you source and curate pieces for Sancho’s?

We source our stock a few different ways, from going to shows, to scrolling through Instagram, and also sometimes travelling out to areas where makers excite me. A range of things really, and this constantly evolves depending on what is being made where, and my budget for trips! 

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What are the joys, and the challenges, of working as an independent retailer?

I love the freedom there is in making so many decisions on the basis of personal goals, taste and values. Whether that is as simple as the music to play that day, or as complex as launching a collection. But of course, the freedom also comes with responsibilities, and sometimes I wish that there was someone to tell me what to do (although whenever anyone does, I am immediately reminded as to why being independent is hugely important to me personally). 

I would be lying if I said that it was not financially challenging, or that it did not require long hours - because of course it is and it does. But when I am worried about finances, I try to remember that there are people in this world that have always had so much that they've never had to worry, and I’m reminded that my worry is a reality that I can navigate through. And recently, I've learnt to rest when the hours become too long - so these challenges, like others, are manageable.

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What have been your business highlights so far?

Opening our second store was a huge triumph - I believe this is when it felt like we actually had a business for the first time - I am not sure why. 

How does your typical working day look?

I usually get up around 7.30am, then check emails and Instagram, shower, drink coffee, and sometimes I’ll go for a short run. Then during an average day - I review plans for the day, send out tasks for the team, head to the shop, check online orders and deliveries, respond to emails, speak with our lovely customers, find out how our designs are progressing, read about sustainability, project objectives for the next day/week/year and write a plan, have a meeting with a client, supplier or colleague, serve customers, answer phone calls, hop on Instagram again, tell a joke, do a little dance, get super hungry, head home, edit the website, watch Vidmantas cook dinner, eat loads, have a shallow bath or hot shower, watch some Netflix, text my mum, and finally - sleep!

L-R: Ashley Petrons, Marketing Manager, Aoife Littlejohn, Sales, Kalkidan Legesse, Co-Founder & Creative Director, Robyn Elizabeth, Sales, Paula Charity, Sales Manager & Vidmantas Markevicius, Co-Founder

L-R: Ashley Petrons, Marketing Manager, Aoife Littlejohn, Sales, Kalkidan Legesse, Co-Founder & Creative Director, Robyn Elizabeth, Sales, Paula Charity, Sales Manager & Vidmantas Markevicius, Co-Founder

How do you find juggling an online business with a physical shop?

It’s very natural to me, given that we live in a digital era, to have a presence both in store and online. 

Which are your bestsellers or favourite products?

We are super excited about our Foundation collection, which is being made here in Devon! The shapes are so flattering and the colours are really rich, so they have proven to be popular with our customers. We are also in love with the minimalist range of jewellery from Clare Elizabeth - the styles are so chic and made so well, they always make a huge impact. 

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How do you approach marketing and PR?

We simply try to get as informed as we can, and then follow up leads that excite us. 

Any tips to share with aspiring independent store owners?

I think the best things that anyone looking to start their own store or business can do is learn how to trust their gut, learn how to take good advice (wherever it comes from) and learn how to ignore fear and self-doubt long enough to get started. 

L-R Robyn and Kalkidan

L-R Robyn and Kalkidan

What’s up next for you and Sancho’s?

We are exploring design and producing our own collections! Our goal is to bridge the gap in sustainable basics between affordability and style. The collections will all be made in the UK and will be an inclusive fit in size.

Find Sancho’s at 117 Fore Street (womenswear) and 126 Fore Street (menswear), Exeter and online.

Follow them on Instagram.

Photography: Harry Cooke

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Choosing Keeping

Peek into Choosing Keeping’s stunning new store in London’s Seven Dials, beautifully curated with diaries, pens and dreamy papers and you could be forgiven for thinking that this was just a stylish stationery stockist. However, delve a little deeper, behind the exterior, and you’ll find that Choosing Keeping is an independent stationery lovers’ paradise, with true heart - and a homage to almost-forgotten trades.

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Choosing Keeping opened in 2012, in its former home on Columbia Road, with the aim of bringing together charming stationery products, that were “under threat of extinction possibly because they had become under-appreciated, or thought of as old-fashioned, or too expensive in relation to cheaply made in China alternatives”, owner, Julia explains.

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Identifying that national culture can be lost when items, like these, stop being produced, and that as consumers, we should do what we can to ensure that these items - and the memories they are attached to - prevent being lost, Choosing Keeping is keeping alive these old traditions.

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“The green Pentel R50 which sat in the pen pot by your grandfather’s telephone, the Japanese Nori glue you used to craft in school, all of these iconic objects combined are part of our cultural memory and therefore very important,” Choosing Keeping’s owner says. “The fact that each day such companies cease to manufacture in France, Italy, Germany … is a tragedy.”

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Of course, it’s not just the item itself or the history associated with it. Choosing Keeping are also concerned about the people behind the product too - with companies closing down, livelihoods being lost and the impact on the villages whose factories close. A sobering thought as many of us tick off our Christmas gift list.

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Since 1st November 2018, Choosing Keeping has closed its doors for the final time at 128 Columbia Road and have begun a new chapter, at 21 Tower Street in Seven Dials. With a new location, the Choosing Keeping team took the opportunity to think about their new space, designing their own made-to-measure furniture, as well as all their gorgeous pen display pots (made by Steve Harrison). Staying loyal to their ethos of enjoying something for as long as possible, their new store includes plenty of wood, bringing warmth and softness to the aesthetics, and perfectly complimenting the sensuality of the opulent stationery on offer.

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Given that Choosing Keeping’s focus is on bringing together items that could be forgotten about, the team work hard to source the best paper, art and office goods. This inspiration comes from watching films, travelling, chatting with suppliers and reading catalogues from cover to cover to find those items that should be enjoyed for many more years to come.

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Needless to say, there’s not any visits to gift fairs or trade shows for the Choosing Keeping team, instead it’s all about research and connection to find those almost-forgotten gems. One business they’ve built a relationship with over the last six years is German penmaker, Kaweco, who have been manufacturing pens since 1883. Choosing Keeping now have the largest range in a bricks and mortar UK shop.

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As well as carefully sourcing stationery products from across the world, the store also create their own items too, such as their four colour ballpoint pens, Italian leatherette notebooks, hardback notebooks and handmade watercolour paper, of which many are among their bestsellers.

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Needless to say, Choosing Keeping is a one-of-a-kind kind of stationery store, encouraging us shoppers to give thought when buying (not only about the product itself but about the makers and the community surrounding them) and then to take care, preserve and respect whatever it is we’ve purchased. In a nutshell: choosing to keep the memories, the heritage and people in work from independents, rather than buying mass-produced items. A visit to this beautiful store definitely gives us food for thought…

Find Choosing Keeping at 21 Tower Street, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9NS.

choosingkeeping.com

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Long Barn

Located in picturesque Alresford close to the historic town of Winchester in Hampshire, Long Barn is far more than just a carefully curated store filled with the wares of craftspeople and the farm’s renowned lavender - it’s a destination waiting to be explored, with a cafe and garden too.

We chatted to owners Richard Norris and Jane Marsden to talk about their love of lavender, growing from a market stall to having a lifestyle store and providing experiences…

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Hi Richard and Jane, first thing’s first: when and why did you decide to open Long Barn?

Long Barn started with Richard’s love of lavender and desire to create a range of products that do justice to this wonderful plant. I (Jane), was a former marketing director, and joined Richard in the early days and together we created Long Barn as it is today. Our home, garden store and cafe has been a favoured destination in Alresford since 2009. We wanted to create a shop which put the joy back into shopping and we like to think of our Barn as a beautiful place to come and enjoy a couple of hours relaxing with friends and family - somewhere we’d like to go ourselves in our free time!

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What had you both done before? Did any of these skills help?

Richard’s background is in accountancy and teaching but from the age of ten his heart has always been devoted to plants. The knowledge of accountancy is of obvious help; the teaching was part-time and helped greatly in setting up the business and gradually moving to full-time as Long Barn could sustain a salary. My background is in marketing, originally with a drinks brands – both alcoholic and tea, later with olives and baby food. Large corporate employers taught the need for rigour in reporting and margin; smaller employers required a really grounded approach. Both have been useful in the growth stages of Long Barn.

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Long Barn is a destination - with a shop, cafe and gardens - did you always want it to be somewhere people could enjoy spending a couple of hours?

Long Barn has grown so much, from a much loved stall at London farmers markets to our first beautiful little store on the high street to now, a 3000+ square foot standalone oak barn surrounded by over 5000 lavender plants. When we first moved to the barn, we wanted to create a convivial atmosphere where people could spend quality time – in a way, the kind of place you take visiting friends after Sunday lunch.

Our vision has always been to grow with our audience and last summer has seen the original barn extended. We gathered a raft of craftspeople – designers, artists, furniture makers, sign writers, builders and carvers, to create a convivial space to tell the Long Barn story. You will find gardening, homewares, gifts, vintage and food all now under one, slightly longer roof!

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How would you describe Long Barn’s style?

Our style reflects seasonal trends to some degree, but we tend to take our cues from the splendour of the English countryside in the main. We believe in a simple, honest approach to design, where quality and beauty are intrinsic. For us home is a place to express your tastes and really enjoy your time - be it through dressing a table for an impromptu lunch with family to creating a garden that looks stunning in every season - our barn is the place to discover a carefully curated collection of beautiful home and garden goods. We like to think of Long Barn as a one stop shop for the considered home.

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You're passionate about involving local craftspeople - can you tell us a little about the wares of a few you stock?

We love to champion craftsmanship both at home and away and have always been passionate about products with purpose. By sharing handpicked handmade goods with our customers we are linking to our values, which are rooted in provenance and heritage. We are proud to have a assembled a collective of makers to delight our customers with. Highlights this season include Rosie Brewer, who trained at Camberwell and makes exceptional hand turned, sustainable kitchenware.

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How do you source your gorgeous stock?

Instagram is a fantastic tool for finding interesting and up and coming brands as well as sustainable makers and talented craftspeople. In addition we go to all the shows and have a few trusted suppliers we always turn to for our core range. We also get approached quite a bit! A lot of our customers are the creative sort and love to share with us their latest finds.

This August, we invited designers, makers and food producers to showcase their wares at our Barn for a chance to be stocked for the Christmas season which proved a wonderful way to find new creative talent.

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As well as stocking artisan makers, you also create your own lavender products too. Why do you love lavender so much?

At the root of Long Barn is a true love of lavender. All of this came from Richard’s love of gardening and history. An article in a magazine about the history of English commercial lavender-growing in the 18th and 19th centuries sparked the classic ‘light bulb’ moment in Richard. From that moment he knew that he wanted to farm lavender. Selling lavender products at London farmers’ markets had a curious link to the past which really interested him.

At Long Barn we sell the range of lavender products that Richard created with the help of aromatherapists, soap-makers and perfumers. On the plant sales terrace, alongside old fashioned rose varieties and other classically English garden plants we sell one of the most extensive ranges of lavender plants in the country. Richard loves introducing customers to lesser known varieties such as Folgate, Grosso and Sussex.

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What do you enjoy most about running the Barn?

Greeting our lovely customers everyday! It sounds trite but really, they create the warm ambiance at the heart of the barn as much as we do. Even when we’re busy there’s always an opportunity to take a moment to have a nice chat and pass the time with a friendly face.

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What has been your Long Barn career highlights (so far!)?

Too many to mention! However, this year we were finalists for Best Store Design at the Drapers Independent Retailers awards. Always a highlight in the industry calendar, this award recognises inspiring and thriving independent retailers from across the country and we’re thrilled to be included in such good company.

How have you balanced running Long Barn - given that it's a cafe, store and gardens? Usually people can only manage just one!

As anyone who has run their own business will say, you wear all sorts of hats during any given day! We have each worked in almost every part of the business at various times, and can both make great coffee, whip up a spreadsheet and tend to the plants with aplomb.

However, at this scale it would be impossible to cover everything just ourselves and we are joined by a fantastic team of shop and café staff; cooks, baristas, merchandisers, designers, gardeners, site and maintenance staff, bookkeepers and stock controllers. We are a sum of our parts, and it’s down to a lot of very dedicated and talented individuals to make Long Barn what it is: a really fantastic place to be.

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Do you have any top tips / advice for those thinking of starting their own lifestyle store?

You have to love retail! And the principles of good shopkeeping. We feel that despite an increasingly clicks driven market, physical shops continue to thrive as hubs of enterprise, experience and community, but only if they are really good. What makes a really good shop? It’s a place that people feel something for. It’s a place that serves as a beacon, the go-to destination for a unique and interesting experience.

Shopping is an experience first and foremost, and for most people, a leisure pursuit. So consider what makes somewhere a place people choose to spend precious time, as well as money and come back again. It tends to be shops that offer a distinct point of difference - a sense of discovery through creative display, beautifully edited buying, exceptional service, a convivial atmosphere - make a destination standout from the rest. Oh, and you have to love people, that’s a given!

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Autumn's now here and we bet it's especially beautiful at Long Barn - what’s happening over the coming months?

Autumn is a short but sweet season here at Long Barn - we invite our customers to join us in welcoming the most mellow months of the year. Traditionally a celebration of abundance, harvest is the time to share in the spoils of the summer with loved ones. Stop by our relaxing cafe for a good catch up with friends over coffee and homemade cake or stay longer and enjoy a hearty lunch with family - it’s always a joy to be able to come together and delight in the tastes of the season.

Long Barn, The Old Sheep Fair, Bishops Sutton Rd, Alresford, Hampshire, SO24 9EJ

www.longbarn.co.uk

Photography: Laura Brown

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Dowse

Located in the heart of Brighton’s vibrant North Laine (brimming with independent stores and cafes), Dowse proudly flies the flag for indie design.Creating jewellery and prints in-house and sourcing wares, with care and consideration, from designers across the world (especially from the super-stylish Scandi countries), this beautifully curated shop offers thoughtful design which is accessible to everyone.We spoke to owner Susannah Dowse to hear more…

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Hi Susannah! First things first, why did you decide to call your store Dowse?

Dowse is my family name and the name I designed under before opening the shop. The name comes from dowsing - a technique for searching for water, minerals, or anything invisible. The name was too perfect not to use for a shop where we search out and showcase emerging designers and makers.

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Why did you start the store? 

I’d been working from a home studio for many years and had decided that I wanted to get out and interact with the world again! I was originally going to get a space in a shared studio, but then I begun to think about having a studio that was open to the public and I could showcase the work of other designers alongside my own.

I live in nearby Hove, and one day a shop in my neighbourhood, that had been boarded up for years had a note in the window saying it had recently been renovated and was now available. The timing was too perfect. So I decided to take the space and opened a month later. So it was less about a big plan and more about taking an opportunity that arose and running with it. I ran the shop in the Hove space for five years and have now recently moved to the North Laine area of Brighton. 

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What did you do before starting Dowse?

I have quite a varied career history. I did a very conceptual and theoretical Fine Art degree, but that hadn’t really been a good fit for me. So when I graduated I drifted a bit, djing, designing & making clothes, basically indulging all my other interests. Eventually I pulled those experiences together and began working freelance in fashion, working for many different kinds of clients creating garment samples, surface print design and illustration. I also worked with a textile recycling charity as the head designer of a clothing range made from recycled textiles, with this my interest in sustainability and ethics in design developed.

This lead to a period lecturing in art colleges on sustainability in design. Alongside this, I had a friend who is a jeweller and I began working with her on a range of jewellery. And it was from here that Dowse, as it now exists, developed.

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How would you describe your style? 

I’ve always had a love of abstract and pop art, mid-century interiors and the clean fluid lines of the Japanese and Scandinavian aesthetics. Geometry, simple lines and forms feed my aesthetic and influence what I design and also what I’m attracted to in the work of the other designers that I showcase in the shop. 

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As well as making Dowse’s jewellery and art prints, you also stock wares from others. How do you source your products?

Many of the things I find are from keeping an eye on the usual suspects like Pinterest and Instagram. Getting out there and not just visiting the big trade shows is important to find new exciting people, they’re normally found at smaller art and design markets.

I also go to Copenhagen every year and discover wonderful things every time I go. I don’t stock things that have been mass manufactured in the Far East. I just can’t trust that someone hasn’t been exploited in a factory and that doesn't sit well with me. So everything we sell is made with care and consideration on a smaller scale by the designers and makers.

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What are your favourite finds so far?

One of my most significant Copenhagen discoveries was Studio Arhoj. A ceramic studio I started stocking about four years ago and I believe I was the first shop in the UK to carry their range. They're now much more established and have a real cult following. I send their pieces all over the world, as people hunt down their special and unique designs and glazes. The recent revitalisation of ceramics by the new wave of young makers has been wonderful to see. And it seems there are quite a few ceramic addicts out there!

One of our current lines that’s a big favourite are the hand made ceramics by Quartier Ceramics, made in Lisbon by one man, Romain, at his potters wheel. I can't wait till our latest delivery from him arrives next month! I also love the well designed, simple and British made wares of Studio Wald. They make great paper goods and a lovely flower press. 

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You're clearly passionate about what you do. What do you love most about your chosen vocation?

As a designer, being able to interact directly with my customers and see their response (good or bad!) to new designs is great.

As a shopkeeper I really enjoy being able to tell the story of the person behind the objects we sell. Highlighting the process that goes in to the making of these beautiful things by an individual rather than a big company. Supporting emerging designers and sustainable practice is a big part of why I do what I do. Finding good design that's actually affordable and not out of reach is also something that's a challenge that I love. I'm on a bit of a mission to make good and thoughtful design accessible to everyone. 

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If you could choose just one product from the store right now, what would it be?

I love the sculptural forms of the Hana vase series by Arhoj. One will be making it home before too long. 

Oh, they are gorgeous! Do you have any advice for other people thinking of setting up a shop?

Make what you sell matter, be passionate about it. This will carry you through the tricky times.

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You have such a lovely Instagram feed - how does social media help your business?

I love Instagram. It's inspiring and impressive what amazing feeds people create. I wish I had more time to concentrate on it, it can be an art form in itself. It is really important to reach the right audience for what you do, so for any small business or designer it's as a really great tool to do that. 

Your new location in the heart of Brighton’s North Laine is renowned for its many independent stores. How does it feel to be part of the community?

I love Brighton. It's got a vibrancy to it that you don't often get in cities this size. New people are always arriving and so it's constantly evolving. I don't think there's many places with this many indies in such numbers. It's great to be a part that community. 

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What has been your Dowse career highlights so far?

There have been many great moments, mixed with challenging ones! Moving to a new shop space after five years of running a shop, that in itself felt quite a big achievement to do on my own with no investors - remaining truly independent. 

As a designer, it was a real highlight being commissioned by The Design Museum to create a collection of jewellery exclusively for them to accompany an exhibition on architect Louis Kahn. 

Photography: Emma Croman

Dowse, 27 Gloucester Rd, Brighton

dowsedesign.co.uk / Follow on Instagram

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Casa González & González

Stocking functional objects that make the everyday that little more lovely, Casa González & González, in Madrid, is owned by childhood friends María Rosa Amor González (who worked in museums and art galleries) and Javier Carrasco González (a former interior designer), who share the same values and passion about design and slow living. We spoke with them to talk quotidian style, community and beautiful brooms...

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Why did you open your store?

After both living and working abroad for several years, we met again in Madrid. It was over coffee that we discovered common thoughts and values, and the fact that we couldn’t easily find timeless products frequently in our daily routines, when living abroad, so we thought it was an interesting idea to open and gather most of them in one store.

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How would you describe your style?

We like to inspire our customers with our quotidian objects to make their day-to-day more conscious and functional. We think the atmosphere our objects give during a specific moment of the day, may transform a daily routine to be a more happy and pleasant act. We mainly look for timeless, genuine and functional products with a story behind them. We like restrained and functional looks. We do not opt for pricey or sophisticated pieces or just aesthetically-pleasing items - they must also accomplish a function.

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How do you source your products?

Most of our objects have been used and tested years before opening our shop. Factory, workshop or fair visits are other ways to source our products. We also surf the Internet and take into account friends' and customer recommendations. Among others, our favourites are the Marseille soaps and body brushes and we are in love with our “malgas” (a typical object made of cork).

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You’re passionate about being shopkeepers – why is this important to you?

We try to offer a unique shopping experience in a retail space that reflects our vision, personality and aim to make things better. We do believe that small stores like ours have an uncertain future, but on the other hand there are more and more consumers becoming aware of the wealth that this type of business provides to society.

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If you could just choose one product from the store – what would it be?

Well, maybe the most simple and useful products because they sum up our functional essence. We would like to show that a broom or a cleaning cloth can be as beautiful and useful as other key items in the home.

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What advice do you have for other people thinking of setting up a shop?

The first years when starting a business are really tough, so it is very useful to draft a realistic business plan to keep your head above water during this time.

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You're currently working on building your online store - how has that process been?

We hope to be ready very soon. Although we prefer to go step by step, we like sharing ideas to add to the future of our business.

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Does your beautiful Madrid location inspire your chosen wares? 

We like to feel part of a growing community and our neighbourhood is achieving a common atmosphere, through the stores, as well as the people who live in the area. But, we do not consider it essential when we make our objects’ selection.

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What has been your González and González career highlights so far?

We cannot be more happy to have the actual response and warmness of our customers, suppliers and social media followers. They are a great support for us. At this early stage of our career we hope to keep making things well and better and become an established business but only time will tell…

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Casa González & González, Pelayo 68, Madrid

www.gonzalez-gonzalez.es / Follow on Instagram

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Marche Maman

When a shop became available next door to their beautiful New York coffee shop (with a French flair - named Maman), Elisa Marshall and Ben Sormonte, saw an opportunity to create a unique retail environment, bridging the gap between traditional long-term storefronts and trendy retail pop ups, and affords beloved brands to have a retail presence in New York. The Shopkeepers' Paula Flynn chats to Elisa of Marche Maman to talk creating a lifestyle experience, curating beautiful products and what it's like to have Oprah as a fan...

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Marche Maman, NYC

What motivated you to open Marche Maman? 

I think with the Marche space specifically, it started for us when we had so many retail brands contacting us at Maman to open a café within their shops. From high end fashion brands to tech brands, we were getting many inquiries for those looking to incorporate food and drink into their shops. Everyone was looking for a more ‘lifestyle’ experience and ultimately, food and drink drive traffic. None felt like a good brand fit for us. We also had friends with brands from France wanting to open a pop-up near us in the U.S. and rent was extremely high. Not to mention you also have to look after interiors, merchandising, staffing, utilities, marketing, PR and most importantly getting people in the door & generating foot traffic!

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Marche Maman, NYC

The space beside our Soho location became available, which also had a beautiful garden, and we were trying to be creative, as to what we could do with it from an expansion point of view. Then the lightbulb came on, and we decided on a co-retailing Marche and creating a community of brands who share our same customer and concept.

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Marche Maman, NYC

Do you have prior retail experience? 

I grew up with the retail bug and started in retail at a denim store on the day of my 16th birthday when I was finally able to legally work. Over 10 years, I went from sales associate, to managing, to buying, then to merchandising and PR & marketing for international retail brands. I had much more experience in retail then in hospitality and actually never had a serving job prior to opening Maman, so it was evident retail would somehow come back around…it was just waiting for the perfect time & place!

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Marche Maman, NYC

Who designed the shop? 

Myself and my partner Ben look after all the design for the shops.

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Marche Maman, NYC

What are you best known for? 

At Maman, we are most known for our nutty chocolate chip cookies (Oprah named them one of her favorite things in 2017) but on the marché side of things, I think we are most known for hard to find imported French items. From baskets & flatware imported from the south of France to our children’s vendor who brings in the most beautiful unique one of a kind kids pieces, we have a very loyal customer who always come to us for hard to find gifts.

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Marche Maman, NYC

Where and how are products sourced and made? 

We source the brands by what we love, trying to keep them French when possible, and in the mentality that the customers are likely coming for lunch or breakfast so what would they buy while doing that. With experience we have noticed that high price point items that are a sought-after purchase don’t work as well. Our customers rather come for brunch with their friends, and leave with a bracelet for themselves, a beautiful kids toy for a gift and a mug for their Maman. We like to offer small beautiful and unique ‘easy’ purchases.

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Marche Maman, NYC

What makes your shop unique? 

There is nothing else out there like what we do and I think what makes it unique is that it elevates the dining & shopping experience. Not to mention there is always something new as our vendors rotate every few months.

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Marche Maman, NYC

Why did you choose the location of this shop? 

Naturally we chose the space as it was attached to our existing café. We knew we had the customer, the need and the foot traffic for retail, something that many stand alone retail shops do not have.

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Marche Maman, NYC

How has the shop enriched the community? 

Community is everything to us and we really owe our success and growth to our surrounding community – family, friends, our staff, and customers. I think Marche Maman and our concept really defines community and we wanted to bring that world and concept to life with our new location. Our ethos here is to bring together like-minded, amazing brands and people who all share the same customer and clientele.

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Marche Maman, NYC

We created a space that allows small businesses to flourish in a like-minded high traffic environment, and at the same time, created a dynamic multi-sensory space for our customers, combining food, florals, jewellery, fragrance, kids’ items, and home decor. What girl doesn’t love those things!?

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Marche Maman, NYC

How has the shop evolved since opening? 

Our shop evolves monthly, so it is always exciting for us and our customers. We have had an ice cream shop, florists, teas, linens, home goods, bath and body and so much more!

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Marche Maman, NYC

Who are your customers? 

I think Marche Maman attracts people who love beautiful things – from fashion to home, to food and even pretty coffee cups, attention to detail and curating all things beautifully naturally attracts a like-minded clientele. Especially being in Soho, I feel there is a higher concentration of those who appreciate this. We want to create an environment where everything you see, touch, smell, and taste is memorable, beautiful, and of course delicious!

Our customers are primarily women, 25 to 40, living and working in the area. We share our Maman clientele so it was interesting to really get a good understanding on who that customer is and source brands to collaborate with that they would also love!

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Marche Maman, NYC

What inspires you? 

I take inspiration from everywhere, from a conversation with a stranger to a sign on the street corner. I am a very creative person and always have something brewing in my mind so I am always looking for inspiration in my everyday life and in the small things.

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Marche Maman, NYC

Before I was a shopkeeper, I…. 

was a buyer, merchandiser, interior designer, event planner, baker & caterer…and those are all still my titles today! Growing up, I never had that ‘what do you want to be when you grow up’  kind of thing. It was always a mixture of a hundred things, from a fashion designer, to a baker, to an event planner, an interior designer or the next Martha Stewart. I found myself juggling numerous ‘careers’ and passions with not enough hours in the day to do everything that I loved. I couldn’t find the perfect job, so I had to invent it, and put it all together under one roof (or six at this point).

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Marche Maman, NYC
Shopkeeper Spotlight: Marche Maman, NYC

Did you follow any areas of study or apprenticeship? 

I started my studies in fashion business, taking many courses in retail business, PR and marketing. That path led me to numerous jobs in retail starting from the bottom & working my way up.

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Marche Maman, NYC

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to open a shop? 

Don’t follow the crowd & take risks: Be unique, be different and don’t do what everyone else is doing. I didn’t want to open a regular store, I wanted to build a world for myself where I put together everything I love under one roof and interact with amazing customers who enjoy it as much as I do. I know too many people who settle for where they are and jobs they don’t enjoy because they are afraid to go out, take risks & pursue their dreams. It will not come to you and you have to not be afraid to go get it!

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Marche Maman, NYC

Minimise negativity: It is so easy to be negative, judge others and complain about issues and life without trying to fix it yourself. Though not always an easy task, I try to avoid these people and surround myself with supporters. My time is so precious these days and I don’t need people in my life who only see the negative & bring me down. I want to only surround myself and spend my time on things that inspire me to move forward.

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Marche Maman, NYC

Go with the flow: I love to plan, have things all lined up, goals to hit and things to work towards, but more and more I am realising how in the big picture of life, how unrealistic that is. You don’t know what tomorrow will hold or what opportunities will be presented. Goals of course are always important, but you have to be open to the fact that things may not go exactly the way you have planned it – that’s ok. You can’t predict the future so don’t get too caught up and waste too much time planning for later.

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Marche Maman, NYC

Find your passion: There is nothing better for me than waking up every day getting to do what I love & doing it beside the person I love. I was struggling for a while, as I couldn’t pin point that one thing I wanted to do, or that ‘perfect’ job, so in reality I knew I had to create it. I had to get my hands dirty in so many different industries and various jobs until I was able to really shape my path, identify my strengths and weaknesses & ultimately figure out what I liked and didn’t like. I interned at countless jobs, took on various opportunities and was always hungry to test the waters. College tuitions, a long resume & years later, it all fell into place.

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Marche Maman, NYC

Say “Yes” More: Saying yes opens a world of doors and opportunities that saying no shuts down. People say no so often because of fear, because it’s the easy answer and way out, or because of things they don’t understand. But saying yes to the five minute cup of coffee with a stranger, or taking on a new challenge you never would have tried, could change your life forever, so why not?

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Marche Maman, NYC

My personal motto, and inspiration can be wrapped up in my favourite quote: “I am going to make everything around me beautiful - that will be my life.”- Elsie De Wolfe.

237 Center Street, New York NY

www.mamannyc.com/marche-maman

Find Maman at other five other locations across New York and also in Toronto.

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Tailor & Forge

Previously working within the worlds of design, marketing and interiors, boutique owners Scott and Driss brought their extensive experience and passion together to create a bricks and mortar store which oozes style, sustainability and offers affordable wares. 

We chat with the duo from dreamy curated home and lifestyle boutique, Tailor & Forge, located in World Heritage Site, Greenwich Market, to hear about how they turned their online store into a must-visit boutique, sourcing sustainable products and the importance of community…  

Photography: Nuraan Ackers

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First things first, why did you set up the store? 

We have a great passion for travel and experiencing the world, so wanted to create a business that helped us to achieve our goal of combining work and travel - essentially running a business online from a laptop anywhere in the world.  

For the first year or so, Tailor & Forge was trading online and started to gain momentum; however we quickly realised that the curated ‘store’ we were creating needed to be fully experienced to allow customers to enjoy the product ranges. We believe that there is a shift starting to happen in online shopping for lifestyle products in that, many of us now want to experience a brand, see and feel product in the real world and then order online. As a result, we decided to create the boutique in the real world with a bricks and mortar store. Starting off as a pop up in Greenwich, Tailor & Forge has now developed into a permanent store on Durnford Street in Greenwich Market. Somewhat of a shift from the original intention of combining work and travel – but all for the best.

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How would you describe Tailor & Forge's style?

Tailor & Forge is all about curating high quality products from the UK and around the world; products which are on-trend, as ethical as possible but also practical and affordable. We believe that there is a limited ‘middle ground’ when it comes to homeware; stores are either top-end or mainstream mass market, often resulting in an inability to purchase due to exclusivity or so run-of-the-mill that the love and excitement of a great interior just disappears. By curating our product range and style through research, we’re able to source high quality, beautiful and affordable products which won't break the bank, but will bring pleasure and joy to customers’ homes.

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Speaking of your products, how do you source them? Which have been your fave finds so far?

We spend a lot of time researching the fashion, interiors and designer-maker arenas to understand what the latest trends are and what the next season(s) may hold. This could be a certain pantone, a motif or material. There may be one element which resonates, or there may be several, but the intention is to curate the boutique with personality and practicality. We attend industry shows but also keep our ears to the ground by actively seeking out quality products and exceptional designs from a myriad of places - online, print, social media and events. 

Social trends have an influence; with vegan and sustainability being extremely important social topics at the moment and also into the future. It’s great that we are all becoming more aware of our responsibility to the environment so ensuring that we have products made of bamboo, vegan leather and provide products which have come from fair trade producers is extremely important. It can be tempting to purchase mass produced products from certain countries, but often the environment, social responsibility and quality are compromised; something which we do not believe is necessary or justified in todays diverse world.

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As well as curating stock from other makers, you also make your own products. Can you tell us a little about them?

After experiencing in our own lives, an emerging pattern of low quality, mass produced furniture which was flooding the market and on the opposite side of the spectrum, high-end furniture which was not only hard to find but was extremely expensive; we felt that there needed to be a much more real and achievable balance between price and quality. We reached out to a Fellow of the Institute of Carpenters - Steve, who has over 40 years’ of experience, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience designing and making beautiful furniture with an all consuming love and passion. We work together to design and make anything from white minimalist contemporary desks to solid reclaimed oak dining tables with inset Corian pieces and unique triangular shelving installations amongst many other things!

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Do you have any advice for other people thinking of setting up a shop?

Setting up a shop or any business takes dedication and hard work. But for us, it’s all about a genuine passion and love for what you are doing. If your product and your business is created with an authentic joy then this will resonate with your customers and your brand will come to life.

Location and being part of a community are also extremely important; which are two of the main driving factors to why we decided on Greenwich Market for Tailor & Forge. 

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What other factors made you choose Greenwich to become home to your boutique?

Greenwich is one of those places where you just don’t feel like you are in London! It’s a globally renowned destination which is full of culture and history. At the same time, Greenwich has a strong community where the locals, market traders and tourists all have a great vibe and spirit for the area. It was extremely important that Tailor & Forge was in a location where it could be part of a strong community and also be able to contribute to it. 

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If you could just choose one favourite product each from the store - what would it be?

Driss: This is a real tough one….however, my choice would the centrepiece natural handmade rattan day bed, adorned with a variety of cushions and throws filled with texture and colour. 

Scott: At the moment, it’s the valet mirror stand, a super, handmade mirror combining a phone holder, tray and coat hook all in one sleek modern design and hand made from French oak – beautiful, practical and affordable.

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What has been your Tailor & Forge career highlights so far?

It has to be meeting amazing people! Meeting fantastic customers and designer-makers, to local traders and other business owners who all want to engage and be part of the local Greenwich community. 

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Finally, do you have any exciting plans for the future?

We are constantly evolving the boutique, with new products every one to two weeks; the layout always changes too so there is always something new to discover and experience. As we enter into the summer, Tailor & Forge will shortly be announcing a range of masterclasses including talks on interior design, gardening in the modern home, mindfulness at home and many other topics. So watch this space!

9 Durnford Street, Greenwich Market, London, SE10 9BF, UK.

www.tailorandforge.com