Hello Indie! The local owners
Muddy meets some of the fantastic local sellers behind the Indie Store Spring edit in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
We’re blessed with amazing indie businesses in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. But with small firms facing extraordinary challenges right now and many front doors closed until 12 April, if we want them to survive and thrive, we all need to support local.
This month, Muddy launched The Indie Store Spring edit, signposting great gifts and online shopping finds to buy direct from independent businesses across 25 Muddy Stilettos counties. To celebrate these fantastic sellers and makers, we caught up with some of the friendly faces in Hampshire and Isle of Wight behind the fantastic clothes, jewellery, accessories, homewares and more in our fresh, new offer. Say “hello, Indie” to…
David Littlewood, BluBambu
“The idea behind BluBambu Living came from a two-year relocation to Singapore – our gateway to Asia. Weekends were spent venturing off the tourist track. Indonesia soon became our second home. It was there we discovered a rustic, exciting and inspiring furniture scene.
“Back on the South Coast, our offer is sustainably crafted, reclaimed teak furniture, Scandi-inspired accessories and coastal homewares. Many items are handcrafted from reclaimed materials by skilled artisans In 2020, we introduced our first gourmet range, from Nicholas Vahe. This year, we plan to add more great foodie lines.”
Harriet Cleverly, Cleverly Wrapped
“I launched Cleverly Wrapped in Sept 2014 as an online shop selling scarves. It evolved into a clothing and accessories boutique, with the opening of our shop in May 2018 on Stockbridge High Street. Our gorgeous scarves are still a big focus – they make amazing presents.
“We’re growing very fast and I have had lot of success online during the last year. My Insta feed really helps – I like to try every single item that comes into the shop. Having input from my daughter, 17, (pictured), and my very fashionable mother (aged 76) also helps me find things that are relevant to a broader age range.”
Izzey Hung, XV Stripes
“I’m so lucky to live on an island surrounded by water. XV Stripes is about life on and off the water and designs are created from real life. The colours of the island and water continue to change, providing constant inspiration.
“Probably the biggest challenge I had starting out was putting hard-earned savings into a dream and translating that into a reality. Working with Vicky, [Sanders, Creative Director at XV Stripes], we went through a long process to get to the dazzlingly blue fabric we wanted.”
Deborah Leabeater and Karen Addison, Loungers Clothing
“Deborah and I have been friends for many years and often discussed setting up a business together. It finally came to fruition in 2020 when we launched Loungers. Passionate about ethical and sustainable fashion, we wanted to work with companies that shared our vision. It took a lot of research but we succeeded in finding the right materials: certified organic cotton; an eco-friendly alternative to plastic for our buttons. Our tags, too, are made from seed paper and discarded cotton fibres.
“COVID changed things for us – in many ways for the better. Now, everyone lives in Loungewear! There were, of course, unexpected challenges. That said, we’re so fortunate to have had a good first year: reviews and repeat orders have been amazing and we’re proud of the product we’ve created.”
Karen Hutchings, H&B Style
“I’ve had a long career working in fashion and retail, working with high-street names like Monsoon and Laura Ashley. I ventured out on my own in 2015, starting out small with village fetes and pop-ups. Opening my shop, H&B Style in Winchester, was the next exciting step in the journey.
“Trading in the pandemic has been challenging. We have lots of loyal customers who have been wonderfully supportive and we’re very grateful for that. Seeing someone find something they like and leave the shop happy makes me incredibly happy – its a real buzz. In this tough time for retail, my message isn’t to support local by buying lots of stuff you don’t need. Rather, it’s to think of us before you head to the obvious big online retailers.”
Emma van Lindholm and Melanie Branco, Seaweed Limited
“Team Seaweed was born at the school gates. After spending time together, our love of organic products grew alongside our friendship. It’s our obsession to pick products we use and love ourselves. Before the company went live, we literally tested, tasted and smothered ourselves in products… for TWO years! Fortunately, we’ve had lots of help: friends, family, kids – everyone gets involved.
“Being based on the South Coast, we love sea views and beach walks. A day doesn’t pass – rain or shine – without us appreciating fantastic views and salty air. That’s why we chose Seaweed Limited, Purveyors of Pure: our name had to have a link to the sea.”
Charlotte Cornelius, Southsea
“My first boutique opened in Castle Road, Southsea in 2015. Before that, I worked from my home studio, a short walk from the beach on Hayling Island. Two years later, we moved Charlotte Cornelius Jewellery to a larger property on Marmion Road (East), with a custom-built workshop and a bigger team. I really love the community vibe in the area.
“Personal service is an absolute must. We genuinely value every person who walks through our door and really listen to what customers want. As a small business owner, integrity is also really important to me. That’s demonstrated by policies like profit share and using ethically sourced and recycled materials.”