The talented locals behind The Indie Store
As we gingerly step back into the real world, it's more important than ever to support local. Here, some of our local Indie Store businesses recount their journey and show what makes them special
The Spring edit of the Indie Store is a super scroll of fresh new fashion, gifts and ideas for your home where you can track down the best of local talent across the Muddy counties and here in Somerset and Dorset.
But who are those local faces behind the brilliant brands? In the first of a two-parter, we speak to the people behind five fantastic local Indie Store businesses.
Kirsten Thompson sells easy, wearable casual women’s fashion with an emphasis on luxury fabrics and modern classics, plus accessories, beauty, lifestyle and gifts in her boutiques in Taunton and Topsham, and online.
I’m not sure if my husband knew the spark he was igniting when he bought me a book titled ‘How to start a business’ and a new laptop. I’d done a couple of pop-ups close to home with a few jewellery brands after identifying a gap in the market locally for well-priced accessories and, with my youngest at school, what started as a hobby has grown into two boutiques in Somerset and Devon and a successful year-old online sales platform. Allotment has enabled me to re-awaken my ambition and creativity and combine my love of people, fashion, sales and expand my knowledge on running a business. The past year and the challenges it has brought with COVID, business closures, Brexit and having us all at home whilst continuing to work on the website has meant my business and my sanity has been pushed to the limit and at times it has felt like a test of human endurance. My business will never be the same as the retail landscape evolves post COVID but it’s survived. Lockdown has allowed me to take a step back and feel proud of my achievements and realise how passionate I am about growing it. We can’t wait to re-open our boutique doors this Spring and to see our customers, some of which have shopped with us since those early kitchen days, but I am forever thankful of the decision to go online in 2020.
Based near Langport, Mary Temperley makes luxurious natural skincare products for the face, body and bath.
I set up MAKE after leaving London when I was pregnant with my second child. My life and work in London was not compatible with the family life I had imagined for my children. I knew I wanted to create a business that could start from home while I had my babies. We were converting a chapel back in Somerset near my family and where I grew up, with enough space to store the boxes, labels and jars while I created MAKE. It was not always so idyllic and seamless as the words may convey but I was driven by a belief that I could create something that was truly good for you having been spurred on by a knowledge of the realities of what many cosmetic products contain. Making creams is a combination of science and cookery, both things I enjoy as well as the creative satisfaction of coming up with the packaging . I enjoyed being able to create in my own time , while our family grew. We now have four children and the business is no longer running from home but at the time, it was a wonderful opportunity to combine the two worlds and and somehow make it all work.
JULIA DAVEY HOME & GIFT
Julia stocks a beautifully curated selection of homewares made by artisans and small, independent businesses – plus her own range of bone china tableware – in her shop in Bath and online.
Having a place of my own to sell my own work wasn’t really on the agenda. But when a little gem of a shop front appeared for rent in Bath, my mind started ticking. And didn’t stop. My children were turning one and three, not an obvious time to jump in and create a whole new arm of my business but I did. With talented friends selling and offering their beautiful work left right and centre I knew I had made the right decision. We are having a hard time to see how it is going, being closed for six months of this second year is certainly not an easy perspective to have. But we are here, home schooling around customer collections and the post office. We have grown and so has our offering. Modern craft and design – whilst great examples exist so might we!
JOSIE MITCHELL JEWELLERY
Josie makes gorgeous, handcrafted jewellery with recycled silver and gold and gemstones in her studio in Bournemouth.
I started creating jewellery around four years ago as a hobby, and in the recent two years my partner and I moved to Bournemouth so he could fulfil his dream of becoming a chiropractor. Living by the coast has had a huge impact on my designs and inspiration, and in my spare time I love going for walks along the beach, foraging for unusual shells, stones and anything that sparks an interest. From a young age, acadaemia was never my strength. I was always drawn to creative projects and anything that allowed me to express my creativity in a more unique and non-traditional way. I remember a DT class where my teacher dug out a box of crystal gem stones, some ear posts and glue. I was fascinated by the process and the fact that I had made something that I could actually wear! Little did I know that 15 years on I’d have built my very own jewellery business, specialising in heirloom re-designs and one-of-a-kind treasures inspired by ancient Greek mythology and ocean textures. I’ve finally found a job that gives me so much pride and joy, and even though times can be tough (especially with a pandemic in the mix!), I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Charlotte’s lifestyle store in Blandford Forum and online sells a stunning range of homewares; luxury bath and beauty products; women’s clothing, shoes and jewellery; children’s clothes and toys; stationery, gifts and more
Dorset born and bred, I moved away to university, travelled a little and ended up living and working in London as a wholesale manager for Tommy Hilfiger. I didn’t ever quite imagine living in London and for a long time I commuted from Hampshire into town, which felt like a fairly happy solution. In my mid thirties, the pull of Dorset was eventually too much and at the end of 2006, my husband and I moved to a small village just outside Blandford Forum. In many ways it has been my destiny to work with my mum Wendy, who made The Hambledon Gallery the shop it is today, having lived with it as a second home all my life. We worked together, celebrated the shop’s 50 years in 2012 and Wendy retired in 2015. From then on I’ve tried to build the website business, while trying to keep true to the bricks and mortar shop that has so many loyal and lovely customers.