Let me tell you about how I found my beautiful shop by the sea….I had a smaller shop to start with, a tiny shop in fact..smaller than my bedroom…smaller than most bedrooms come to think of it. It was £35/week making it much cheaper than hiring a studio space to work from. That was the real reason my life as a shop owner began, I was looking for a workspace and couldn’t find one.
After about 6 months I needed to get a larger premises to run some small business workshops, I was pondering how I could do this when I noticed a double frontage shop just around the corner empty for the first time in years. So I called up the number on the ‘to let’ sign……ha! If only it was that easy….in reality I had to track down the owner of the property on the governments land registry, find his home address and write a letter to post through his letterbox asking if the shop was rentable…. I was pretty determined and had a lot of free time.
I imagine many of you will be coming here never having been to the Textile Candy shop in Morecambe so I thought I’d use this blog post to show you around. I also figured it would be a great opportunity to show those of you who have been in the shop what it used to look like to begin with.
It wasn’t in a complete state of disrepair, unlike a lot of the other empty shops in the area, but it did need a rather large amount of imagination to see the potential. With a bright red door, crumbling exterior tiles and questionable wallpaper covering the inside there were plenty of things that could have put me off BUT the large windows and secret back room won me over!
Despite the huge windows, the grey floral wallpaper made the space look really dark, even worse was the vinyl wallpaper that covered every inch of the shop, including the ceiling. Coming up with new ways to cover the wallpaper (because it refused to come off) required endless creativity. I covered one wall with wood, another with fabric and another with peel back cork wall tiles. I left the ceiling….some battles just really aren’t worth fighting.
Stripping off the floral wallpaper was the first thing I did and, of course, things often look far worse before they get better. It was chaos to anyone who couldn’t see the end goal, which nobody could as it was completely in my head. It was a mess….but I learnt SO much. I taught myself how to tile, found out how to plaster holes (there were many to practice on) and fine-tuned my electric sanding skills.
At the time of renovating the shop I had very little money- working part time as a receptionist at a leisure centre just about covered shop rent and bills. This meant that I had to get really creative with the interiors, so many fixtures in the shop were salvaged and, with the help of my dad, an alright looking interior began to emerge. The Belfast sink was a free salvaged item, the floor to ceiling mirrors were salvaged and originally from a wardrobe someone was throwing away and the furniture/fixtures were all handmade by me using scaffolding planks, wooden pallets and basically any free wood I could get my hands on.
I’ve been asked quite a few times about how my branding emerged and why I chose yellow for the highlight on my social media/website and for the front door of the shop…. There is a very simple reason for this…. It was the cheapest outdoor paint in the shop!
After a few weeks of hard grafting the shop started to come together. My dad helped me to put the wooden sign up and I painted the exterior…by hand…..in the cold….sat on the floor with a tiny paintbrush… It was definitely worth it but I will not be doing it again.
I recently decided to paint the floor white using Ronseal white floor paint and now it looks really fresh and bright inside, the white really makes the products pop and I’m so happy I committed to a white floor. I also got these fantastic cork tiles from Amazon to cover up some more of the vinyl wallpaper, they double up as earring hanging devices too which is pretty useful.
So there it is, the Textile Candy shop renovation from start to finish! I hope you’ve all enjoyed looking at the before and after photos, I love taking time to have a look at these and give myself a little pat on the back.
it’s really easy to get caught up in the present and forget your past achievements. We, myself in particular, spend so much time comparing our ‘journey’(cringe word) to others when really we should only compare it to our own. Sometimes I feel like my own expectations cripple me; I’m not making enough progress at the shop, Textile Candy isn’t growing fast enough etc but then I look at these photos and see visual progress. It reminds me to be a bit easier on myself.
So whatever it is that you’re working towards please remember to look back with positivity and motivate yourself with the progress you’ve already made.
One of my favourite parts of the shop is a motivational mural by Harry Clayton Mills, in the back room there’s a painted tortoise… the message next to him reads “forwards is forwards”. Speed doesn’t matter.