As a small business owner myself this is always a tough one. I absolutely love the theory of supporting small business but, like all of you, I have a budget and the big bad chain store (quoting my fav film – give yourself a gold star if you can work it out) is usually more competitive on price. It’s a certainly tough one! Let’s start with those lovely little shops….
Shop small? If I could live my life in theory, this would be the only way but practicality and budget will simply not allow. Saying that, I do try to do my best. You simply cannot beat the human contact and service a small business delivers. Plus, each offers a slightly different range and style. I have a few local ‘go to’ online/pop up shops that I love – the owners are a delight, the products are carefully curated and all in all, the whole experience is so satisfying. In no particular order…
Anwen of www.peastyle.co.uk always greets her customers with a smile. Her style is contemporary with a scandi influence and lets face facts, Scandi is definitely the go to style of the moment. Anwen’s style is so classic yet on trend and she was recently featured in 91 magazine (https://91magazine.co.uk/ ). Our house is full of little bits from Peastyle – I confess much from the sale section which offers some great bargains!
Another local lady is Lisa Valentine of www.lisavalentinehome.co.uk . Lisa shows us how clean lines together with a combination of form and function can produce not only a stylish interior but one which is also easy to live in. Could you ask for more?
Shop big? There are so many levels of product. Let’s face it, we all love a wander around the likes of John Lewis and Habitat but if you are anything like me, you will store all the ideas and products in your mind and attempt to seek out cheaper (and sometimes more suitable) alternatives elsewhere.
Firstly, Ikea. Surely everyone’s favourite Scandinavian home influencer? I confess, it’s one of my go to places – be it for a wander, to pick up ideas, purchase or eat (I can always bribe himself to come with me for a visit by promising him a trip to the cafe!). Here is a big confession… the new Ikea catalogue is one of my annual highlights and I have a little collection of past issues. One thing on my bucket list is to visit the Ikea museum and get one of those photos of me on a catalogue cover. If you are one of the few people on this planet who have never visited an Ikea, go today! Get ideas and absorb the whole ethos. These days you can also shop online so there’s no excuse – www.ikea.com
Another of my favs is HMHome – yes, they do more than jumpsuits which look great if you are built like a stick insect! Plus, they have adopted a pretty comprehensive sustainability policy and most of their homewares come with details on components, recycling and information on the maker. Could we ask for more? All that, competitive on price and a constantly updated range. Take a look for yourself at https://www2.hm.com/en_gb/home.html . Unfortunately if you live in Cardiff (as I do) there isn’t a designated store locally but they are expanding. I had the pleasure of visiting a store in Barcelona over Christmas and it didn’t disappoint – in fact, after seeing more of their products up close, it made me more confident to buy from them online.
Just to mix things up, I thought I’d throw in a lovely mid option for you – Have you ever visited Baileys? It’s possibly the most beautiful shop on the planet (in my humble opinion). You can get an idea from their website (http://www.baileyshome.com/ ) but nothing beats walking into that barn! Be warned, you’ll have to brush up on your verbs in readiness to explain this place to all your interior loving friends as no cameras are allowed! Yes, I’m being totally serious! No cameras! If you are lucky enough to live close enough, go! But, try to be cool…. Unlike my husband who tried to escape to their coffee house, ordered a latte and was left totally red faced (and feeling super common) when the assistant told him they only serve filter coffee. Thankfully they also serve cake so that saved the day for him. If you live too far a distance to visit in person, there is an online shop but in all honestly, it’s no substitute for the sights and smells of the real thing!
I guess in conclusion, using one of my Dads sayings (see my previous blog), only you know how you feel. As you can’t actually live your life in theory, shopping for homewares (like most other things in life), must involve compromise. For us, handmade bespoke kitchens are not an option and that’s where the likes of Ikea step in. However, when it comes to crockery we have a mix of day to day pure white (also Ikea, their ever versatile 365 range) and lovely Nordic Sea by Broste – all purchased piece by piece from the ever patient Anwen.
And there we have it, turns out my Dad was right yet again!
Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope this will encourage you to discover some small businesses in your own area. If you find any beauties, please let me know
PS. If you are still wondering about that film, it’s You’ve Got Mail!