Hello everyone. Today I’m delighted to introduce you to my latest find and go to shop when I need a perk up, a bit of green love or to prep for an #urbanjunglebloggers post! I promised in my last post that I will reveal where I bought my lovely handmade ceramic vessel and hanging vase from.
BOTANY, a concept lifestyle store, opened its doors earlier on this year and I’ve fallen head over heals in love. But, instead of me going on about it I will simply SHOW you this most fantastic jewel in Clapton and let Angela, founder extraordinaire and all round lovely woman do the talking.
I believe you come from a Fashion background. What was your journey to opening Botany? I developed clothing for 12 years for various branded fashion labels, the last 7 years of my career in fashion focused on Menswear which I became particularly passionate about as I like the timeless use of blocks and focus of colour and fabric to bring freshness to garments.
How difficult was the route to open Botany in 2014? Actually, it wasn’t difficult once I made my mind up, i was very focused. I saw the vacant shop in the new year (2014) walking past a friend directly after watching a TED talk which focused on doing what you love/enjoying your job.
The key question the talk urged you to think about was ” what is it you cannot not do” and this really resonated with me. I was at a real stale mate in my career and personal life and I felt like something had to change immediately. Whenever anyone had asked what I wanted to do in the past or what my dream job would be, I would say i don’t know but secretly in my head I new I wanted to open a shop and that it would be my creative outlet.
A few important factors came together at the same time, massive need for change in my life, good friends and their belief that I could do something like this, locality of creative individuals/friends I met over the last 12 years and their willingness to help me. I also had some funds as I had remortgaged my flat to do a loft conversion, so all the pieces of the puzzle had finally come together. I thought if I don’t do this now, I never will.
Chatsworth road is known as a true destination. There are many great little shops and eateries around. Was this important to you? Clapton is my home and has been for 10 years now. I find it inspiring and have always looked to reside where I feel connected, comfortable and creatively compelled. The people are friendly and it’s like no other place in London I know. I truly hope it retains its cultural diversity, community and village feel. It needs the varying mix of shops (of all kinds, catering for the entire community) to be able to do this.
Did Botany start as a fresh flower shop? How and when did you change course? I always intended Botany to be a lifestyle store, but it took some time to find the right products that represented the aesthetic I love and the ethos of the shop. For this reason there was more of a focus on cut flowers in the store at the start. The flowers and plants in the store are their to inspire visitors to get creative with their spaces.
What inspires you and how do you drive your business forward? I cannot draw or paint very well, but I can curate and express my creativity with the use of objects, flowers and living plants. I am visually inspired by what I see and it effects my mood and well being. I feel strongly that there are others like me, hence my vision for the shop is to inspire people like me to be creative with spaces we inhabit.
Are you planning to have an online presence with an e-shop? Yes, I hope to launch an online store in March.
There’s a real resurgence in people wanting to open bricks and mortar shops. What’s the appeal when online shopping is gaining more and more market share? Having a shop allows me to create and curate a space and make a name for Botany aesthetically. Once this has been established, Botany could go completely online or be channelled through another format, perhaps a warehouse space!
What’s next for Botany? Oh there is loads in the pipeline! Some very exciting collaborations in the spring 2015 and Botany own label homes wares product hopefully by the end of next year.
The rear of the shop (I call it the Green Room) – has so much potential, but we’ll start with pop-up exhibitions by local creatives, the 1st of these start this Friday.
Thank you so much Angela for sharing your passion and vision. I can’t wait to visit again soon.
5 Chatsworth Road
London E5 0LH
Time is still tight at the moment so I will see you here next Thursday 11th December. Have a great weekend!