7 Grange Road Darlington DL1 5NA
The concept store was born in November 2019. I always wanted to have some sort of physical presence so my customers could feel the fabrics and try on the designs for themselves as many people still enjoy the experience of high street shopping, as do I. The business began to outgrow my parents spare room and so I was looking for an office/storage space when I began dreaming up the store. I had the opportunity to take a premises on the prestigious Grange Road and things moved rather quickly as I wanted to open before Christmas to have the optimum results.
Although I knew I wanted to open a boutique and I had the dream vision in my mind, I knew I didn’t want to go it alone. I always loved the experience of uni and working alongside other creatives. I thought it would be fun to approach other local brands that also handmade their work in order to also stock their work in the boutique. The criteria in my mind to begin with was to find local, emerging brands and I started out contacting Sophie Gowling who handcrafts her jewellery in Newcastle and whos work I love and had purchased before, plus Nuddy’s founder Kassi Emadi who is also local and had recently began her brand of vegan, shea butter soaps. From here I began discovering more and more local brands and also brands as far as Liverpool (Aloe earrings) down to London (Little Stories) and I am now proud to say I also stock Yellow Fit tea and couture dresses from Ajola Atelier from Albania.
Having so many young brands together is so inspirational, we really bounce off each others ideas and growth. We are able to share marketing, run giveaways together and extend our customer base further than we could alone. Having the physical store has also been amazing as I have met so many of my customers in person, listening to their feedback I have designed new pieces, such as, most recently, a longer version in our kimono. It is so important to me to hear and take in what my clients want so I can think of them in all my designs.
We aim to grow and give back to our local community. We have already seen the brand grow and develop so much over the past two years and I can’t wait for it to continue, along with the brands we support. I have very loyal customers and have new ones discovering the brand weekly so I plan to continue to work for them and put in place some new ideas to allow customers to follow our ethical and sustainable values.
The concept store has began reaching more and more emerging brands with many contacting me about getting involved, therefore I have developed my online store so I can welcome more brands to the concept, even brands that aren’t so close to home yet still stand for everything we do!
There's no better feeling than helping a really small brand grow that extra bit further allowing them to realise their dreams.
I couldn't have a better job and I've proudly created this for myself and for other small business.