I am an accidental retailer. As with most things in my life retail is something that I just fell into & this is the story of how. Our story, mine & my husband Rob’s.
We moved to Norfolk as our first child was born, he as a contract pig farmer & me as a stay at home mum looking forward to spending the rest of my days as a lady who lunched, nipping into Waitrose for a spot of supper & spending my afternoons at yoga classes. Life however has a habit of biting you on the bum, I seriously underestimated the time taken to rear children & before Paddy,our son, had reached his third birthday needed to earn some cash again. With no formal qualifications finding a job that I loved, paid well & gave me the flexibility I needed to look after my children proved difficult in West Norfolk, those of you who know this part of the world will also know that such jobs are rarer than hens teeth. At the suggestion of a girlfriend who had found herself in the same situation in Sydney, I set up a mobile shop taking nightwear & other clothing items to residential care homes in East Anglia & thus in a roundabout way Artichoke was born.
Fast forward almost twenty years & I have two bricks & mortar shops which sell clothing & accessories sourced from European as well as British brands. One in the cathedral city of Ely & the other in the Norfolk market town of Swaffham from which we also run our pop up shop which we take to events throughout East Anglia helping charities both large& small to raise tens of thousands of pounds each year. In addition we have a small web based business selling jean parcels to ladies throughout the UK & Ireland. It is my hope that with this new website we will be able to build on this success & over time feature many of the brands that we sell in the shops here.
My husband’s life has changed too. He now has a herd of (very rare) Large Black Pigs, a flock of native breed sheep & some Dexter cows – you can follow his antics at Scotts Field Pork. Our children Paddy & George are at university so we are home, almost alone, with our three dogs Ruby, Sidney & Bleu.