For sometime now our bricks & mortar shop in the heart of Porthmadog hasn't felt 'right'.
As the one who spends the most time in the shop I felt as though we'd lost our way, lost sight of why we started. Just going through the motions of what was expected from a high street shop, full of stock, bursting at the seams and a high rotation. It was becoming a huge pressure and just isn't what we are or ever wanted to be.
It occurred to me over our Christmas break that as the ceramics side of the business grew it was time for it to really become a priority. We'd lost sight of our ethos, stocking work we wouldn't necessarily buy ourselves for the sake of looking full and to be seen as doing 'right thing'.
So... at the beginning of February we'd been open about a month into the year and the uneasy feelings had not subsided after we'd initially put it down to the pressures of the Christmas rush. We decided to stop, strip it all back, start again. Change it, prioritise it, start from fresh as though we'd just arrived, make it feel new and exciting again, but familiar, like home.
Before I continue in any detail as to what we've been up to, Glosters is still home to a selection of our favourite makers and always will be. What has changed is we are no longer stocking pieces that didn't sell well or didn't fit comfortably amongst the other work.
You don't keep a dog and bark yourself right? Why were we making our own ceramics and not giving it the spotlight?
Our main focus during the revamp, as well as switching the focus, was to make it feel more open, and that meant going a bit Mary Kondo on it!
There where days when it very much felt like being trapped in cluttered box. Just removing the wall that spereated the window display area from the shop made the world of difference. So much more light poured in!
(On the left our 2018 autumn window display including the wall separating the shop and window. On the right our 2019 spring display now without the separating wall.)
'Less is more'
My goodness how true is this?!
Over the years as more stock arrived and our displays weren't very good at making the best use of the space, we accumulated more furniture... Just cramming it in, another table, more boxes, you become blind to the clutter and chaos hen you're working in it each day.
During the revamp we've got rid of (okay... some of it is just stored in the basement because I couldn't part with it...) a huge wooden table, a wooden chest, a whole sections of scaffold board shelving and an arm chair, how did it even all fit it?!
Next on our agenda was our greetings card display. We had made our display using old pallet wood. Why? well because we're pretty creative, like to recycle things... and when we opened we were flat broke and had to use what we had to hand!
The display had done us well for 5 years but again as time had gone one we've expanded our range but not the display.
We took it all away, removing all the pallet wood, taking away a section of the scaffold board shelving. Once we could see the wall again we opted to board it making it easier to attach our new card display. We painted the boards in 'Dark Duck Egg' paint from Wilko. Then it was just a matter of attaching these picture shelves from Ikea that make aperect card display. We are really pleased with how clear this space now looks.
(Our previous pallet wood card display)
(The new card display)
Next... 4 years ago we made a dodgy deal (not that dodgy calm done... ) on some scaffold boards. In a matter of 12 hours we'd flung them up in the shop trying to fill the vast high ceilinged building we'd chosen. Never really giving much thought as to what or how we might display work on them.
(shop display summer 2018)
In my search for something new, something to sit along side the boards, or within... I came across Peg & Board on Instagram and enquired if they could make a custom board to fit amongst our scaffold boarding 'No Problem!"
When it arrived I did suddenly realise just how big it is! But perfectly made it slotted into the space without any issues.
It has certainly made the space lighter and a lot easier to style with the option of moving the shelving and pegs around regular.
(New Peg Board display)
Mugs have quickly become our most popular product, but they never had their own space in the shop and often looked lost on the shelving.
With some of the pallet wood blocks from the card display we optimised on the light open space now had by the window and created a 'mug wall' space for the mugs to be displayed and not lost. It has already proved extremely popular.
(New Mug Display)
Last, and by no means least, my absolute favourite part of the revamp has to be our dining table display. It was during a 4 hour drive that Tom suggested 'we should have a dining table, laid ready for meal. That'll display the tableware...'
It's not often I agree with him on shop ideas but I literally could not wait to get this done!
A problem however was the two tables we already had taking centre stage in the shop. Old school work benches they've always been a topic of conversation, especially the vices! Just not terribly practical. But at the bargain price of two for £10 when we bought them we couldn't really say no!
The thought of getting rid of them did break my heart. It was also pushing towards the end of the week, this revamp had taken longer that we'd planned, Tom hadn't touched clay all week and we where falling behind on orders. We had one board left from making the card display, we measured the size of the tables. Suprisigly the exact same size of the board... 'we'll just see what it looks like...' Errm! Perfect!
We took the vices off. Waxed the new board top, I made a cotton scrim table runner and Boom! The dining table of my dreams!
(New dining table display)
There are a few jobs left on the 'to do' list, just like a house... the diy jobs at a shop never end.
We've planned a little revamp of our soap/ toiletries display which includes a Glosters handmade sink and some tiles.
A photo wall, we've decided that being the till area will become a feature wall of some of our best photographs. It'll be a work in progress and added to regular, possibly hanging seasonally.
(Photography feature wall)
Face lift... we are in desperate need of some paint on the outside of the shop too... it looks a little worse for wear at the moment, the trails and tribulations of and old wooden shopfront. So hurry up weather, I have a tin of dark navy paint and a brush at the ready!
How does it all feel now?
Flipping fabulous! We love it! Clear, light, spacious, the focus has defiantly switched, it feels 'right' like we've grown up and so has the shop. I was fresh faced and 26 years old when this crazy journey at Glosters began, times change and this feels like it's changed for the best.
Surprisingly all the stock we had before the revamp had fitted all back in. It just goes to show what some cleaver storage and display can achieve.
I cannot wait to get styling that table for all the seasons!
Let us know what you think of the new look.