Shop Local: Saffron Walden owner on her lighting and gift shop and the importance of this campaign

PUBLISHED: 11:00 22 October 2020 | UPDATED: 10:05 23 October 2020

Wendy Howell, owner of Design Essentials in Saffron Walden. Photo: Celia Bartlett, Ailec Photography.

Wendy Howell, owner of Design Essentials in Saffron Walden. Photo: Celia Bartlett, Ailec Photography.

Celia Bartlett, Ailec Photography

Although the pandemic has brought challenges, it has also brought opportunities for a lighting, home accessories and gifts business.

Design Essentials in Saffron Walden. Photo: Celia Bartlett, Ailec Photography.Design Essentials in Saffron Walden. Photo: Celia Bartlett, Ailec Photography.

Design Essentials on Market Row had just the right items for many people who suddenly had to work from home throughout the coronavirus crisis.

Owner Wendy Howell started her business as a two-year pop-up shop.

It has now been in business for five years in its permanent location and has brightened many people’s lives.

Wendy thinks our campaign which encourages people to shop local is “an amazing idea”.

“It means they are investing in the local economy, it’s local people, local jobs, it means local employment. We use a local printing company and local freelancers. The money gets invested back in the community.

“I think our customers invest in the community. Our customers have always invested in the shop because they know the value of shopping local. They have always been very supportive of that.”

Her customers are both loyal and local, and have a variety of interests.

She said: “We have a mixture of people who find us because they do projects in their houses and we have people who are interested in our gift ideas. Sometimes they are updating their homes.

“We do quite different products. What we display in the shop is just a small selection of what products we can do. We have quite a lot of products, and with us being an independent store, we have to have a lot of products that are different to big chains.

“We have smart technology products which did particularly well over the lockdown.”

She added: “We are open less hours because of the pandemic, but we are offering more bespoke appointments to people who are vulnerable or are very time-poor.”

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