Wow, what a roller-coaster ride it's been having a shop! Now my little shop in Bristol is closed I thought I'd write a post all about it from beginning to end.
I hope you find it interesting and inspiring, it's been the best and hardest journey I've done so far so enjoy!
What made you open a shop? I get asked this a lot and it's been a toughie to answer. There's lots of reasons but here's just a few:
- I'd always wanted to have a shop (since a little girl)
- I wanted a place where customers could always find me (I'd sold at markets before that)
- Because I wanted to (I'm one of those people who need to do things rather than wonder 'what if". My mum always said "theres no gain without risk" and life's too short for regrets.
So after selling at lots of markets, and they ARE hard work, I decided to open I Love Crafty Shop Bristol. I wanted to keep my cute, kitsch style like I had created on my stalls such as this one.
With the help of my sister who's a production designer in the film industry we started looking for inspiration for shop design.
I loved this shop front with it's grass, cute exterior and windows full of lush goodies!
When I was on my honeymoon in San Francisco I came across this charming tea room called, The Crown and Crumpet which had a tiny gift shop which I fell in love with. It was soooo beautiful and full of handmade trinkets, a true feast for the eyes.
For me, to make my shop look half as sweet, quirky and interesting as this one would have been a dream come true!
This is the mood board I made for the shop. I knew I wanted pastel colours, as they are my favourite and reminded me of Disney, another HUGE inspiration. I wanted the shop to feel like an experience, not just be a space with products you could buy. I wanted to grab peoples attention and create a space like no other. I hope I did this!
This is my sister Kate's design, we wanted to paint a sky on the celling so we'd always have blue skies and it was very important for me to have a tree in the shop. I was inspired by a photo shoot by Tim Walker. We made one from a old shelf unit, chicken wire a plaster of paris and after a hour of auguring about how to make it we did!
So we open on the 14th August 2010 thanks to all my family helping with the painting, cleaning and getting the furniture in. It was a great day, and I felt very lucky and tired!
As well as selling my own crafty work I wanted to sell other local artists work. I was amazed by the amount of lovely, talented artists there are in Bristol and here's a few of them in front of the shop. Thanks to all of you who made the shop what it was!
We had our 1st birthday in 2011 and I hung bunting from the celling. it ended up looking like the inside of a circus tent and was sooo pretty!
Just before the new year, my little shop closed for business. I was very upset and it was a really hard decision. I'd loved having my shop but times are hard and in the end I had to decide to close.
So after a month of planning, 2 weeks of decorations and a year and a half of being open it took one day to clear out. I didn't feel sad, I found it quite therapeutic like it was the end of that particular chapter of I Love Crafty and my life.
The tree was the hardest thing to get out! It's now got a new home in a shop on the road where I live so I see it all the time, weird!
As much as I loved my shop I felt like it wasn't the right time to dedicate all my time to it but I'm soooooo happy and proud that I did. I met soooo many amazing people and friends through having the shop.
I don't regret having it or closing it, I'm just thankful for what's come out of it!
And now you can visit I Love Crafty in your own home on our online store here as well as selling at local markets and happily my jewellery is now on sale in shops around the country.
I've got lots of plans for I Love Crafty, this is only the beginning!
Thanks for reading this! Hope you like it and remember, I Love Crafty loves you!