Tell us a bit about your background. Why choose Frome to set up shop?
I decided I wanted to set up SEED in 2000 after I’d graduated, I had lots of really talented friends who couldn’t get their work in to galleries and shops because they were starting out and weren’t already showing elsewhere – it was a catch 22 situation. I decided I wanted to support creatives and give them an opportunity and outlet to sell through whilst supporting them to grow, I often found myself helping them shape their businesses too. I used to work in fashion and styling but in 2009 I started looking for a shop to start Seed, I visited Frome and fell in love with it immediately – the independent shops were like nothing I’d seen before, it was such a creative town with an amazing community spirit.
It has been lovely to see SEED grow (sorry about the pun, which I’m sure you get all the time..?!) over the years. What have been your personal highlights?
Haahaa I think most people wonder why we’re called Seed? It relates to supporting crafters and makers and them and us growing together.
My highlights, well it’d be hard to beat the first day I opened in 2009, I moved my whole life from London, only knowing one person here. I opened in the most gorgeous space at No. 13 Catherine Hill, I still love that shop it’s so pretty. I opened the doors and we actually had customers! It was the best feeling and so exciting, I had been saving and planning for this for 9 years and for other people to love what I was doing was an incredible feeling.
How has your background in fashion informed what you do at SEED?
I think it’s really helped me: Putting the customer at the centre of the process, I used to build collections ensuring the products and prices were perfectly balanced as well as designing and developing products from concept to delivery. It means I understand the development process and what it takes to deliver and price products as well as ensuring our entire collections are distinctive and cohesive. When I left my career in fashion I wasn’t sure quite how I would work with clothing again so it’s exciting to experience it from the retailer perspective and I’m loving buying our womenswear ranges.
What’s your current favourite, or best selling product at the moment. Is there an artist or maker that you’re particularly excited about?
We have waiting lists for some of our makers, including Cat in the Shoe’s magical sculptures made with repurposed materials, stuffed and embellished by hand. Amanda Banham ceramics are really special and always adored, Amanda applies her illustrations to her mugs, plates and bowls. The Sid Dickens Memory Blocks we sell are highly collectible and we have customers travel from all over the country to see our collection. We have a really popular range of recycled crystal vintage inspired wine and champagne glasses. We are so lucky to have so many wonderful makers it’s too hard to choose, I love them all.
We are really excited to see the launch of the Saturday workshops for 2019. Can you tell us a bit about the idea behind using the shop as a space for learning in this way?
When we moved into No.3 Catherine Hill, it was always my intention that we would hold workshops. Now that we’re fortunate enough to have a second floor, we can bring that vision to life and help people enjoy learning new skills rooted in craft and artistry, which I think are such important outlets for people who have an interest in it. We want to give people a chance to to take a few hours out of their crazy schedules, be amongst like-minds and treat themselves in learning a new skill and having fun. We have a wonderfully exciting programme of workshops planned including brush calligraphy, Shaker-style wood workshop, spoon carving, botanical tile making, acrylic jewellery making plus more in the pipeline.
Finally, tell us about your ideal day off. Where is your favourite local hangout when work is over for the day?
I love sunshine and warm weather, so my ideal day off would be to go for a picnic with my family and a long walk around Stourhead, it’s so magical there. After work though I love popping for a sneaky G&T at The Three Swans, it’s such a unique and lovely space.