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Closing my bricks and mortar shop

01 March 2019

Yes it is quite a big change!  And as lots of people are baffled about why I'm closing I thought I'd share some thoughts to explain my decision.

Snowden Flood Designer Maker shop

Being a designer-maker,  a shopkeeper, selling online and at fairs AND running a shop is a lot of work.  I am well organised but a shop generates a ton of admin.  Yes really a ton.  So I have to either be a shopkeeper or be a creative but doing both while running it alone (and to the high standard I work at) is not possible any longer.   Well not without turning into a deranged person. Besides, it feels like time to try new things and to simplify - while focussing on creative work at the same time.

Snowden Flood shop www.snowdenflood.com

When I moved to Oxo Tower in 2010 I meant it to be a workspace - a workspace that hopefully paid for itself in selling items to passing trade.  What I didn't factor in was that I like meeting all the customers from around the world, and frankly I'm a bit of a chatterbox. Every time someone came into the shop I immediately was distracted and stopped design work... (that seems to function in a different part of my brain from the social bit).  It's not easy to make new creative work like that!

It's been wonderful.  It's just that I realise it's time to return to design and creativity and hopefully some new challenges to push myself a bit too.Snowden Flood Antiques Vintage www.snowdenflood.com

I have learned SO much from being at Oxo Tower.

With my son doing GCSE's this year, the rent going up, and most importantly, a constant nagging unease that I am not doing enough of what really drives me (creatiive work and learning), it definitely feels like the right thing to be giving up my lease.  That's a scary decision though.  I'm terrified of sinking without trace. But I know it's right for me now.

Snowden Flood designer maker artist www.snowdenflood.com

Final thoughts:

I will really miss meeting the amazing people that came through those doors. 

I feel so lucky to have stocked the work of some great designers whose work I love and respect

I've been REALLY lucky to have been helped by very many really supportive friends and workmates, Sophie Abbot in particular.

Despite jumping into the unknown a bit now, I'm grateful for so many fun and happy times in that shop.

I am still terrified about this change.  But that's not a good reason to stand still is it?

I am so proud at what we (because you the customers are a HUGE part of this) have achieved - winning the best loved Southbank shop Time Out award last year and frankly even just being in profit for 9 years in a difficult retail environment ...all major wins!

Most of all...thank you everyone who bought from me and who enjoyed my shop over the last 9 years. People who have visited from far away lands every time they've come to the UK because they love the shop so much - you are amazing!  I hope you will come to open studios and that I will see you at events.  (sign up to be on the mailing list to hear!)

If you read this and visited, I'd love to hear your thoughts about your memory of the shop. Thank you all so much. x


  • Posted by Frank de Biasi on March 02, 2019

    Wow! You said it all, exactly what most of us creatives are going thru every day!
    Good luck in the new space! Xf

  • Posted by Jo on March 02, 2019

    I visited your shop in December with some USA visitors and we all loved the shop , the beautiful goods you had displayed but especially the warm welcome we received. Its unusual to have beautifully designed and handmade things being sold alongside handpicked vintage items and we bought a few of each . The vintage hand drill I purchased was happily received by a DIYER at Xmas and the vintage Guiness eggcup has joined a collection of similar vintage. To have the designer and maker of other things we and our visitors bought in situ was an added bonus . Our visitors particularly enjoyed meeting you and recounted their visit to friends back home . We wish you luck with your future plans and look forward to seeing many more of your creations on Insta and ‘in the flesh ‘ 😀🍀

  • Posted by Sheila Saphier on March 02, 2019

    Hi Snowden,

    Good wishes for this new phase of life and creativity.

    I hope we’ll be able to order from you soon.

    Sheila at Orleans House Gallery Shop

  • Posted by Lucy Hastings on March 02, 2019

    I loved your shop and your creative work. AND bought loads of it, So if stopping the shop means more creative work then I can’t wait to see what you produce next. Good luck with it all. stay in touch.

  • Posted by Cornelia frentiu on March 02, 2019

    I never been to your shop but enjoyed your work as my boss got me few lovely presents that I will treasure for ever.Wishing you good luck in the new stage and please don’t stop indulging us with your amazing work.
    Ps:Appreciate the "oversharing"and felt like I know you.I had an upbringing similar,no praises,no support,nothing to stimulate me,so I can relate to that.
    Good luck to your son !

  • Posted by MAGGIE WILCOCK on March 02, 2019

    Good luck with the changes Snowden, we’ve been buying your stuff for years – mostly wedding gifts, but often as gifts for colleagues who are returning to Australia or New Zealand & they all adored the iconic London presents they were given. we will continue to purchase – no matter where you are!

  • Posted by Rosemary Napper on March 02, 2019

    Thankyou – I have cups and teapots with great pleasure of the Thames
    I loved your shop and sometimes came and didn’t buy…..
    Good for you in keeping going

    From what you say about your self – you have a high level of self awareness
    If you ever want a map to gain a deeper understanding of what you say here I am happy to offer you a half price place (as my thanks to your creativity) on the Official Intro to Transactional Analysis – your reflections resonate totally with these ideas. Go well and keep me posted

  • Posted by Pam on March 02, 2019

    Though I now live back in the US, I lived nearby in Borough market area for two years and used to come to the shop very often. Your “river map” series of cups and saucers are among my favorite posessions! But I have a lot of tea towels and other items, too. And love the cityscape china.

    I always go by whenever I am in London so I will miss the shop.

    But I think you have made the right decision- you should concentrate on your creative work and not let the burdens of running the shop overwhelm that. Your work is so very beautiful.
    Be assured, you brightened up my time in London a lot!

    I wish you would do more of the rivers series!!!

    Best of luck to you in this next exciting chapter


  • Posted by Debra Worthington on March 02, 2019

    Lovely note. I feel as though I have known you for years even though we’ve never met.
    Wishing all the best and I am going to order some mugs or plates or both so we can have tea as the Brits do! Best of everything to you on your journey! Regards, Debra

  • Posted by Chrissie Burley on March 02, 2019

    Congratulations on your life affirming decision.
    My daughters and I had the pleasure of chatting (and purchasing!) with you at the Country Living Christmas Fair in London. We’ve spoken about you since as you made such a lovely, positive impression on us.
    Good luck in your new venture.
    I vow to always buy a little something when I enjoy meeting an independent creative artist.
    Kind regards

  • Posted by Nina Edwards on March 02, 2019

    What a heartwarming and honest post, just wanted to say that we got all of your plates as part of our wedding gift and 8 years on we still love them and use them for our special occasions. The design is unique and I look forward to seeing new things in the near future. Good luck and will be popping over in future events

  • Posted by Jennifer on March 02, 2019

    Popped in with a friend a while ago and it was so friendly & welcoming. Love the picture I bought of a lady by her dressing table. Speaking as someone who had to ‘sell their soul’ in a non-creative job, just to make a living, I think you’ve done brilliantly to stay afloat! And your creations are lovely. Let me know if you ever make another of those bags with the green cycling 1920’s ladies on, as I’m still lamenting losing mine! Lots of luck in your new adventures.

  • Posted by Sarah hume on March 02, 2019

    Good luck! Wishing you the best. I use your mugs every morning (for the last 10 years I think) for coffee and they never cease to please me!


  • Posted by Chrissie Burley on March 02, 2019

    Congratulations on your life affirming decision.
    My daughters and I had the pleasure of chatting (and purchasing!) with you at the Country Living Christmas Fair in London. We’ve spoken about you since as you made such a lovely, positive impression on us.
    Good luck in your new venture.
    I vow to always buy a little something when I enjoy meeting an independent creative artist.
    Kind regards

  • Posted by Julia bannister on March 02, 2019

    Ihi Snowden, i know this is not helpful at this highly emotional time but as my children tell me ALL the time “you are better than that”. You are a warrior girl, fantastic mother , daughter, friend and creative and you are much too sociable and far too talented to be shackled to a shop . I only love mine because it is full of people (mostly on the payroll as opposed to paying customers ) and it is a great distrAction from the empty nest.
    I think you are going to LOVE your arch and the time to create and design and I think it will lead you in lots of new directions which will more than compensate financially and rewardingly than the shop. I think you have made a brave and brilliant decision and I hope to come down this week and give you a big good luck hug. XxJulia

  • Posted by Val Neale on March 02, 2019

    Hi Snowden your story is amazing as of course are your designs and products, many of which I have bought as you may remember. Wishing you all the best at your new Herne Hill studio and I look forward to seeing you soon plus, of course, your new creations which am sure will be fab. Exciting times ahead for you!!!

  • Posted by Mary Masterson on March 02, 2019

    Glad to hear you’re continuing to trade in Herne Hill. A lovely shop on the Southbank with always a warm welcome. Good luck in your new venture.

  • Posted by Anita on March 02, 2019

    Love your designs and always buy something if not many things! When I come in, independent designers with shops are the lifeblood of the creative community …I’m saving up for the river plates with gold! Will miss you from
    Gabriel’s Wharf…but understand the tide is turning in the retail world.
    See you soon …

  • Posted by Melinda Pickworth on March 02, 2019

    From the first time I saw some of your designs I have been a fan. I love the British and London flavour of your designs mixed in with a bit of 1940 meets 2019. I try to buy gifts that are unique and British, as my American family love to receive them.
    When I met you, I liked you, too. You are funny and just lovely! I think your new venture will be good for you. You are wiser and doing what you love and will have more time for yourself, son and Gretel. I look forward to seeing your new designs. Heaps and heaps of good luck!

  • Posted by Helen on March 02, 2019

    Your design work is too good for you to sink without trace. Good luck for the next part of your work. X Helen

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