Cherryade, an exquisitely curated and beautifully designed store in Poundbury, is the creation of husband and wife team Ginny and Ian Stanley. Soon to launch online too, we talk to Ginny about taking the time to build the personality of a brand, and what it’s like working together as a couple.
Hi Ginny! Tell us about the team behind the scenes at Cherryade…
As a husband and wife duo we are responsible for all facets of the business, from the fun stuff like sourcing and buying, to the boring jobs like the office paperwork. Most of our big decision making is made together – luckily, we agree most of the time! We are now very lucky to be supported in the shop by a small team of amazingly talented staff, each with their own strengths and expertise – the value of good employees is not to be underestimated!
What inspired you to set up your business, and how did you develop the idea?
We ran a coffee shop together for a few years, and began selling a small collection of homeware. We quickly realised that this was the direction we wanted to take, so we sold the cafe and focused on starting a new business.
We opened almost six years ago. Having previous experience of being self-employed helped enormously, so we were well aware of how much time and effort is required and how all-consuming it becomes.
Could you describe Cherryade, in a nutshell?
We are a design-led concept store, offering curated collections of goods for life and home. Our collections feature jewellery, bath and fragrance, children and baby, cards and wrap, stationery, books, homeware, utility and house plants.
Where does the name come from?
Driving home from the Peak District one day, ‘Sally Cinnamon’, a Stone Roses track came on the radio, and we were singing along. ‘Cherryade’ was in the lyrics, and it was born. It doesn’t really mean anything, it just stuck and we went with it!
Do you have a core ethos or set of values at the heart of your business?
We feel strongly attracted to the concepts of slow living and wabi sabi, and want to show their value to our customers. Taking time to appreciate the simple things in life fits exactly with our ethos and is reflected in our product range. Self-care, products with sustainability in mind, and those that celebrate natural materials and textures are also a focus. We try to choose special pieces that will stand the test of time and bring joy when you use or see them.
Tell us about your neighbourhood…
We are based in Poundbury, a newly built village-like urban extension to the county town of Dorchester in beautiful Dorset. Built on land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, it’s home to a great collection of independent shops and cafe’s amongst residential housing, and has become a popular destination for both locals and visitors as an alternative to the traditional high street.
How valuable is social media and Instagram to your work?
We have been steadily growing our Instagram and online community since we opened. It grows with us organically and I hope shows our culture and authenticity. It’s a real feel-good moment when customers tell us they have come specifically after seeing a post – sometimes travelling some distance. It reaffirms how important our online community is. How amazing to be able to reach out to people who like what we do every day! It’s a privilege, and a part of shop life I really enjoy.
How did you go about designing the Cherryade store?
It was love at first sight with our building. It’s sited on a corner plot, with a double-aspect and two entrances. It’s a building that looks and feels architecturally impressive and beautiful from the outside. Internally the high ceilings and huge arched windows form a space that is full of light. We created individual zones for our categories of products to be merchandised together, like a mini-department store, with the intention that each area has enough room to give the product and/or designer credence.
How do you source and curate your collections?
When we travel we gain inspiration from places we visit, and of course we enjoy the trade shows in London, Paris and particularly Scandinavia. We have our favourite suppliers who have remained consistently strong for us and continually bring out new collections.
It’s good to visit their showrooms to see and hold products in the flesh, and then consider our buying focus and direction for each season. Increasingly we find we can source online, especially finding some of the less well known smaller designers and creatives who may not have a presence at trade shows. We find the most difficult bit is deciding what not to buy! Editing and curating takes up a lot of our time!
What do you find are the pros and cons of running an independent store?
We love working for ourselves and making our own decisions. We have spent our whole married life working together and it is hard to imagine anything different now. It definitely has its challenges of course! The main one for us – as it is for anyone who is self-employed – is the continual battle to find the right work/life balance. There really aren’t enough hours in the day!
What have been Cherryade’s highlights, so far?
Highlights for us are always customer satisfaction and positive feedback. It’s reassuring to hear that people ‘get it’, and we take that compliment very personally. Every single decision is measured and considered, so it is confirmation of that effort paying off when we get lovely comments.
Do you have a typical ‘working day’?
I split my time between being on the shop floor, buying, and working on social media. We don’t have an on-site office, so we find quite a lot of time is also spent working from home. It can be difficult trying to concentrate on buying decisions and budgets with the buzz of the shop happening at the same time! There is always a huge amount to do on a daily basis, such as serving and spending time with customers, working on displays and merchandising, taking deliveries, and plant care.
How has your business evolved since you began?
We are constantly evolving as trends come and go, new designers and suppliers come on the scene, and of course we are always looking for something new to offer our customers. The house plant trend in recent years is one such example, as its now become such an integral part of what we do, to the extent that the shop has become a bit of a jungle! We started some years ago by introducing a few succulents and cacti, and have since progressed to weekly deliveries of many differing species, varieties, sizes and shapes!
Our online business is now all set to launch. It was always our intention to let the physical shop grow and gain personality, to develop its culture before going online, which I believe has been crucial for us. It’s going to be a big year!
How do you handle marketing and PR?
We do very little traditional advertising and struggle to see much value in that anymore for a business like ours, considering the power of social media. We find having direct engagement with our followers and customers benefits us considerably more.
Any favourite products, makers or bestsellers?
The love is always there for every single product that we choose to stock. Earl of East London scented soy candles are a particular favourite, currently. Each has a beautiful back story of how the fragrance was created, each with a totally unique scent. The quality is excellent.
And do you have any gems of advice for aspiring independent store owners?
Be prepared for blood, sweat and tears – and very long hours! Concentrate on the positive comments, ignore the negative ones. Listen to as much advice as possible – but don’t believe all of it. Trust your instincts!
What’s in the pipeline for you and Cherryade?
We expect most of our attention in the immediate future will be taken with the launch of cherryade.store and growing that into as much of as a success as we can.