This week, we caught up with Lisa Edwards from Ooh How Lovely, in Hawkhurst, to discuss the vibe in the village and get to know more about her vibrant interior design shop.
Welcome, Lisa. Anyone who’s driven through Hawkhurst will know your colourful shop on the crossroads. Tell us why you chose Hawkhurst.
I’ve always been fond of Hawkhurst, and in fact, 20 years ago I ran a shop called Duckadilly in the same premises. Some things are just meant to be!
I left the area for a while, but I was drawn back to Hawkhurst as it’s truly an amazing village. Our customers are very loyal and keen to support local businesses. We are really busy at the moment, which is exciting. Our specialty is interior design, including bespoke upholstery, curtain-making, blinds and lampshades, plus gifts and cards. Just this morning, I met with Natalie from Sida_Says who makes beautiful tutus for children and adults, as well as crowns and wands. These will make an exciting addition to the shop.
What did you do during your time away from Hawkhurst?
I designed kitchens and bathrooms for B&Q for seven years, and then I managed the café at Charleston Farmhouse in Lewes, as well as lots of other things! About eighteen months ago, I decided to come back, and as fate would have it, I was able to set up shop in the same building. Business has continued to grow since then, and even during lockdown, we remained busy – there has been no let-up!
It’s fair to say you’re quite creative and hands-on…
Yes, I am creative, but I like to encourage others as well. I love colour and patterns. The shop itself is very bright, and co-incidentally, very much in keeping with the Be Local brand!
Many of our customers come to us because they want to brighten up what they think of as a ‘plain’ house, or space, with a splash of colour. So I spend much of my time creating feature items, such as lampshades, cushions or chairs. It’s all about finding their style, not mine. Some customers love what I’ve done with the shop, but for others, it’s a little ‘full on’, so it’s about finding what works for them. Everything is handmade, so we can be as wild or as calm as you like!
I do the designing and put the colours and patterns together, and I have three upholsterers, two curtain makers, and one lampshade maker supporting me. It feels great championing local craftspeople!
We also stock a selection of gifts and decorations for the home. Everything is handpicked by me, and every time you visit, you will find something new. I love our greeting cards and stationery too – we have six card spinners now, so there’s plenty to choose from!
What’s been the vibe in Hawkhurst since lockdown?
We’ve been busier than ever during lockdown! I continued to decorate the shop as usual, to let people know we were still present in the town, and as a result we had a lot of enquires.
It’s also really positive to see some new shops opening. In The Colonnade, there’s INDesign Kitchens – offering bespoke kitchen design, and then on the opposite side of the road where Charlie’s Orange used to be, we have Perfectly Polished – offering various beauty treatments such as nails, lashes and tanning. They’re both really encouraging additions to the high street!
I know some communities are struggling, but it’s great to see that Hawkhurst has a real buzz to it and the vibe is really positive! Last year, we participated in late night shopping every Thursday evening during December. It rained the whole time, but we still had lots of fun! We hope to do the same this year, and we’ll be accompanied by one of my customers who plays in a brass band, as well as a flautist. Also, having recently been elected as Chair of the Hawkhurst Business Partnership, I can’t wait to be a part of switching on the lights of the businesses and the special festive shopping day on Saturday 5th December!
And what does the future hold for Ooh How Lovely?
I’m currently talking with Romney Tweed in the hope of forming a partnership. A friend, Paula, who owns a flock of alpacas and Jacobs sheep, is going to run a workshop to teach us how to spin and weave the fleece into knitting wool in November, which is very exciting! We will also be offering Festive Wreath Making with the lovely Anthea in November and December. Check our website for dates. In fact, we plan to run a number of classes next year – venues yet to be confirmed, but we’re thinking of Dunks Hall, in Hawkhurst, for some of them.
This week we’re running a teddy bear workshop at Sissinghurst Location House. Sally, the owner, lets her beautiful house as a location house for photo shoots, filming and PR purposes. We’ll be using her very stylish kitchen, so it will be a fab couple of days.
Lisa, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us, and for brightening our day whenever we are stuck in traffic at the crossroads in Hawkhurst! We wish you all the best for the remainder of 2020, and an even more successful 2021!
If you’re looking for something both unique and bespoke, or to book a space at any of the November or December workshops, you can pop in and see Lisa at Ooh How Lovely on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 10-5pm. Or if you’d prefer a private appointment, contact Lisa on 01580 848303 or email@example.com. For more information, visit oohhowlovely.co.uk.