Why I am closing my shop.
09 February 2019
Yes it is quite a big change! And lots of people are baffled about why I'm closing so here are some thoughts to explain.
I have realised that being a designer-maker, a single mother, a shopkeeper, selling online and at fairs AND running a shop (with bad building signage on the first floor) is TOO much! It has been fun but it's also made me more and more anxious & stressed & I didn't have much time for the things I love.
When I moved to Oxo Tower in 2011 I really 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 am such a people pleaser that every time someone came into the shop I immediately became massively distracted and stopped work. To the extent that for the first 4 or 5 years I barely made any new creative work at all.
At the risk of oversharing I have always felt that I am rubbish at everything and never really believed in myself. My father certainly told me so often enough along with several teachers and I also crashed and burned out of education, leaving at 14 after two expulsions. I just had that inner sense that I'm no good. Many creatives share this imposter syndrome feeling I know. Well, looking back over my time as a shopkeeper I think it's just taken me years to realise that what I was trying to juggle was actually just too much for most people rather than evidence of my rubbishness.
I have learned a lot!
With my son doing GCSE's, the rent going up, and most importantly, a constant nagging unease that I am not doing what I really like doing most of all (creatiive work), it definitely feels like a great thing to be giving up my lease. So why did that decision make me feel literally ill for ages? Terrified of sinking without trace. And like a complete and utter failure, visible to the world as someone who'd crashed and burned (even though the decision is right for me so rationally who cares what others think?!)
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 the above sounding a bit dark I have had so many fun and happy times in that shop!
I'm really excited to be renting a tiny studio in a railway arch, a short dog walk away from home.
I am still terrified about this change. I still hope to make a living doing what I love & trying to look positively rather than critically at the things I've done.
I now think that staying in profit for 8 years (albeit sometimes not paying myself for ages) was an achievement (of sorts)
I know that not everyone can or will buy when they come into a shop, but if you have small independent shops you love to go to because they are a stop on a lovely walk you sometimes do - please just buy a card or even something tiny every time. If I had £1 for the people who came in every day and told me how lovely, how beautiful, how wonderful, how they ALWAYS came to my shop whenever they were on the southbank - but then left without buying anything, then I could have paid myself a small wage a bit more often.
Most of all...thank you everyone who did buy and who enjoyed my shop over the last 8 years. 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.