On September 29th 2012, the doors of our retail shop opened on Chalk Hill in Watford. I wanted to commemorate the anniversary of this event two years ago and tell you all a little more about Graceful Avenue’s humble beginnings in the UK.
I remember that autumn day so clearly. Miraculously enough the sun shone down on us (no rain that day!) and everything went off without a glitch. I spent that day double-checking all the stock levels were correct and making sure everything looked clean and presentable. A few customers entered and some even bought something. It was a great start to our trading calender.
Interestingly enough I lived on the same street as my shop, so going to ‘work’ was not only quick and enjoyable, it was the most rewarding job I’ve ever had! I would cross the street on Mondays – Saturdays (you’d be surprised how difficult it was even though it had only one-way traffic!), unlock the door at around midday, make myself a cappuccino and work on my designs right there in the shop. Some days I could be seen making paper flowers, while other days I had my sewing machine out producing drawstring pouches. Time passed slowly but I enjoyed every single minute in there. Then at 4 o’clock I’d lock up, cross the street and I’d be home again! I knew I would never ever commute to work that easily again and I treasured every single work day I was fortunate enough to do so.
In the summer evenings I’d go bike riding through the forest a few blocks away from my apartment and smile to all the squirrels around me. We don’t have them in Australia. I learned to get into a rhythm where I worked 6 days in the shop and spent Sundays wandering the streets of London, discovering cute stationery stores, photographing picturesque squares and admiring everything the city had to offer from the eyes of a tourist. Secretly I was also taking inspiration from high-end shops and boutiques with regards to their store layouts, window displays and visual merchandising. London was full of creative energy and every step forward I took along their high street, only opened up a new web of thoughts in my mind as to the direction my shop could take. I didn’t realise it then, but I had a pretty great life.
I’m looking forward to possibly opening a shop again one day, but in the meantime I’m happy working in my studio and taking life as it comes.