With over six months of trading under our belt, we wanted to take a look back at what we've achieved - together with our friends, our family and our lovely network of traders and makers. Most importantly, we've loved every minute and wanted to share our journey with you.
Ken and I were dabbling - me in painted furniture and Ken in furniture restoration and French polishing. I'm a veterinary nurse by 'trade' and Ken, having served in the military, had been working as a gardener creating willow fencing but, in our 'spare' time, we both had a penchant for all things antique and vintage. The opportunity arose for us to take over the old Heritage Reclamation building in a great location opposite the well-known Wild Man pub in beautiful Sproughton, Suffolk. A great big leap for us, but one that we just couldn't resist - it meant turning our hobbies into a real business.
Over our first six months of trading we've got braver and braver in our purchases, and have grown our network of traders (see our last blog post). Some of our purchases are certainly things that we'd not have envisaged this time last year - an Edwardian examination couch, a Victorian fox with witches wax death mask, a 19th Century Dutch marriage cupboard and the most amazing vintage cash register:
Since we began trading, when we became distributors of Vintro chalk paints and home to over twenty different traders and makers, we've also added lots of other strings to our bow. As well as offering furniture painting and restoration from our on-site workshop, Ken's also become a fully-qualified City & Guilds PAT testing engineer - all your electrical devices can be tested for safety; we insist that our traders have everything tested before sale.
We've launched a competition to celebrate our 6-month anniversary and we gave away a beautiful vintage stripped-pine chest as a prize - Dot Talley, our winner, came to collect her prize and gave us a glowing testimonial: "What a exciting place to spend time, it's absolutely packed with room after room of beautiful things, I couldn't take it all in at one visit, also a delightful courtyard with a tinkling water feature - just the place to sit with a meal or just a snack i will most definitely be back"
We've had some amazing write-ups over the last few months from lots of different publications:
... just a few of the fabulous reviews that we've had - we always welcome journalists to the Shed; we know that they'll be impressed with the 5,000sqft+ that we have filled with antiques, vintage and brocante treasure... and they always LOVE Tea at the Shed.
And that brings us on to Simon and his Tea at the Shed tearoom - who wouldn't love his paninis, afternoon teas and cakes, gluten free delights and teas, coffees and drinks galore? We've only ever had positive reviews. Simon's a dark horse and hides away in the kitchen but we'd like to sing his praises from the rooftops - we're so happy that he decided to work with us - we know that customers browse, visit the tearoom to make decisions and take in the delights, and then make decisions - always good to decide things on a full stomach!
Our final news ... our latest initiative is that we're going to be partnering with a Bury St Edmunds-based auction house to offer valuations to our clients on a monthly basis.
We are planning to hold regular valuation events here at The SHED. Customers will be able to bring along as many items as they like, to be valued by Oliver from Bishop & Miller auctioneers, on a first come, first served basis. Customers can then decide to take their item home, put it into a Bishop and Miller auction or sell to one of our fabulous traders.
The first valuation date is Saturday 19th November, and the next is Saturday 10th December. In the new year we will aim to hold the valuation day on the last Saturday of each month so that you all remember the event. The valuation event will start at 11am and finish at 1.30pm
Bishop & Miller will be happy to look at and value your objects to include: jewellery, watches, pocket watches, silver objects, gold, fountain pens, books & maps (pre 1900), all types of antiques, clocks, scientific instruments and slides, works of art, tribal objects, ceramics, antiquities, coins, medals, militaria, antique furniture, paintings, antique and modern firearms, musical instruments - antique and modern.
So, that's a roundup of our first six months - and what a six months it's been. We've laughed (we can't deny we've cried!), we've met the most amazing people - both traders and customers, and we've bought more bizarre objects than we ever thought we would. We're constantly trying to think of new initiatives to keep the Shed at the forefront of your mind when it comes to furnishing your home or for gift buying; and we've realised our dream... we couldn't have asked for more so thanks to everyone that's supported us so far.