Like so many creative small business owners, Maritza Masiello’s previous career seems a world away from her life today. “Prior to owning The Find Store, I worked in the city in legal accounts – so very different to what I am doing now!” she recalls. Things changed when she found full time work was no longer compatible with being a mum and caring for her four young children. A more flexible way of life was necessary, so Maritza teamed up with another local mum to open a children’s lifestyle shop. This cemented her love of retail and when the business partnership came to an end, Maritza decided to continue, evolving the store into a more grown up offering and rebranding the business.
Maritza experimented with both selling online and in-store and is now settled in her current premises in Lee, southeast London, offering both options. A bit of a hidden gem, her neighbourhood of Lee has a strong sense of community which Maritza was incredibly grateful for during the pandemic and periods of lockdown. “2020 and 2021 were awful for everyone, and I am so thankful for the customer support during those times as we offered a click and collect and local delivery service, which was hugely popular.” Running a retail business is never without challenges, a global pandemic being one of the biggest, so Maritza is extremely appreciative to have weathered that storm, no doubt down to loyal customers and her determination to thrive.
Being able to adapt and react quickly proved to be one of the advantages for small businesses during the pandemic, and alongside this, the freedom to go with your gut instinct and do what works for you is what makes being your own boss so gratifying. Maritza admits that she does not have a strategic approach to buying stock, and simply says “I go with what I connect with and love and know that our customers will love, too. I know there is probably a best practice method out there, but this works for me.” This instinctive approach is what makes a business unique, and personally knowing your customers allows a deeper connection with their needs and wants, something a larger corporation just can’t compete with.
These relationships with her customers have allowed Maritza to confirm the common ground she shares with them – a love of beautiful objects but with a commitment to sustainability at the forefront. “The products we sell have been ethically made, with style and longevity in mind,” she describes. Inside the store, visitors will find an abundance of houseplants, which always go down well. These are accompanied by homewares such as plant pots (for said plants), kitchenware, textiles, baskets, wooden objects and candles from British brands such as Our Lovely Goods, Tres Paper Co and Bohemia. There is something for everyone in the family and the varied collections allow customers to update all areas of their home, from the kitchen and bathroom to the kid’s room and garden.
Looking ahead, and with covid restrictions (hopefully!) a distant memory, Maritza is excited about the future of The Find Store, in particular building on the community spirit surrounding the shop. She describes the new Gather Events she has launched: “These are a new addition to the shop that allow people to gather, connect and meet with like-minded people though workshops, meet ups and even private dining in collaboration with my husband’s restaurant, Luciano’s, next door.” She is keen for visitors to become fully immersed in the space and to be inspired by the surroundings and so she is also adding a coffee shop instore, where people can pause and relax for just a little longer.
Like many small retailers, The Find Store has adapted and evolved since its inception just four years ago, negotiating challenges and hurdles along the way, but it’s clear that it’s ethos of everyday beauty, sustainability and community will continue to see it thrive for many years to come.
We selected a few of our favourite The Find Store items for our photoshoot. Below are the details and links to the individual objects featured.
Coffee pot dripper – £45
Green mug – £14
Meraki dish wash liquid – £20.50
Cotton throw in rust – £82.50
Concrete planter pot – £45
Salt jar with spoon – £42
Candle – £22
Wooden jar with lid – £19.50
To view their full range visit www.thefindstore.co.uk or take a trip to their bricks and mortar store at 133 Burnt Ash Road Lee, London, SE12 8RA.
Follow The Find Store on Instagram for a peek inside the store and Maritza’s life as a shopkeeper. @the.find.store