Friday, 15 March 2013

Chit Chat with Souvenir



Chit Chat Friday with Cassie from Souvenir

          I was just so excited when Souvenir moved into the Highgate neighbour. I had lived in Highgate for awhile and Archway Road was looking so bare and so sad. I dreamed about amazing, eye-catching shops coming in to the area and I got my wish! When Souvenir moved in on Archway Road, it brighten up the whole street. Souvenir's window displays are so alive and welcoming, there is no chance you'll pass it up without having a browse through. And once you have a browse you'll realise you want to buy the whole shop.
          Souvenir is a breath of fresh air with their adorable selection of beautifully crafted pillows, china, wall decor, gifts and much much more! I could have sent hours in there oohing and ahhing over everything. So just don't take my word for it, go and visit Souvenir for yourself. You won't walk about empty handled!
I had a chance to chit chat with Cassie the owner of Souvenir. Read on to find out more:
249 ARCHWAY ROAD, HIGHGATE, LONDON N6 5BS 
Tel: 020 8245 8597 souvenirgallerylondon@gmail.com 
OPENING HOURS: WEDNESDAY to SATURDAY 11am - 6pm



1TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND? WHEN DID YOU START SOUVENIR?

I graduated from the London College of Printing as a graphic designer, then worked as a set stylist before opening Souvenir just over a year ago.



2HAD OPENING A SHOP BEEN A DREAM OF YOURS FOR A WHILE, WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO OPEN THE SHOP?

I’d been thinking for a while about opening a space showcasing the work of exciting new artists and designers. Then the shop in Highgate became available and I’d grown up in the area, so knew it well. I took the opportunity!



3WHAT INFLUENCES YOU WHEN YOU ARE BUYING FOR THE STORE? DO YOU FOLLOW TRENDS, DO YOU TAKE SUGGESTIONS FROM CUSTOMERS, ETC?

I look for pieces that are unusual, well made and affordable. The idea of the store is that everything looks like an illustration, whether it’s a cushion, an eggcup or a necklace. I like things to be functional as well as beautiful. If it makes me smile or it’s something I haven’t seen before, then I’m drawn to it. There’s an animal theme in the space, particularly foxes - this wasn’t planned, but has turned out to be what most customers respond to.



4YOU HAVE THE CUTEST THINGS IN YOUR STORE! WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGNER AT THE MOMENT? ANY NEW AND UPCOMING DESIGNERS YOU ARE CARRYING OR HOPING TO CARRY?

I’m excited to be showing the work of an artist called Yvonne Ellen. She finds vintage pieces of china and illustrates onto them. Her designs have proved very popular at Souvenir and we’re currently the only shop stocking them. We also carry the prints of a wonderful artist called Sandra Dieckmann – her illustrations have really captivated visitors to the store, it’s been amazing to see everyone fall in love with them.



5WHAT IS YOUR BEST SELLER RIGHT NOW?

Our best seller would have to be our cushions shaped like foxes, which are handmade from vintage velvet. Each one is unique and we’re the only shop in London stocking them. It’s been incredible to see the reaction to them – they feature in our window displays and literally stop traffic. Almost everyone who comes into Souvenir asks about them, we also recently had one featured in the Observer Lust List.



6DO YOU DESIGN YOURSELF? DO YOU HAVE YOUR OWN CREATIONS IN THE STORE OR HOPE TO HAVE YOUR OWN LINE?

I have a lot of ideas for pieces I would like to design, but there’s no time at the moment! Running the store takes up every minute, so for now my creativity is in the layout of the shop and the window displays.



7IF YOU COULD COLLABORATE WITH ANYONE IN THE WORLD, WHO WOULD THIS BE? WHY?

The photographer Tim Walker. I’ve loved his work for a long time and the props he creates for his images are always incredibly beautiful.



8DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHEN BUYING FOR THE SHOP OR WHILE YOU ARE IN THE SHOP? WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?

While I’m in the shop I listen to the radio – I like to keep the music varied for our customers. Unfortunately the radio has started crackling every time a bus goes past so I think it will have to be replaced soon!



9BEST ADVICE SOMEONE HAD GIVEN YOU? WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR US?

Stay true to yourself. I’ve aimed to make Souvenir a space I would love to step into as a customer and filled it with pieces that make me smile. I think as soon as you try to be something you’re not, or try to please everyone, you lose your way.  



10WHAT’S NEXT FOR SOUVENIR? ANY SPECIAL PLANS, EXCITING NEW PROJECTS IN THE WORKS?

We’re looking into the possibility of selling online as a lot of people have been asking for this. We may also start to use the space for evening and weekend craft workshops. We’ll continue to look for exciting new artists and designers whose work we can showcase!










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