We are Caroline Johnston, founder and owner of The Every Space, and Harri Tanter, florist and owner of Flowers for your Weekend. We connected through one of the first Hive events in Walthamstow where we immediately recognised each other as I had recently brought a print for my husband from a pop up Caroline had held locally.
Harri: Caroline had just taken one of the incubator shops set up by Meanwhile Space in Central Parade in Walthamstow. After an evening of chatting and learning more about each others businesses, our aims, goals and ethoses, we decided it would be great to do a collaboration for Mothers Day using her shop window to showcase some of my bouquets. It was a fantastic opportunity for both of us and the response from the customers was really positive.
We kept in touch and when Caroline was looking for a permanent premises she contacted me to see whether I would be interested to join forces more permanently, in a larger location. Caroline also approached the incredible Amanda from Head and Hands to come on board (who had also previously had an incubator space) and whose inspiring workshops and wares focused on self-care and slow living.
Hayley (Kindred) was the 4th brilliant local business to join us in the space. Her brand produces ethically made, screen printed t-shirts, sweatshirts and casual wear (the only label I will now buy and wear!)
“It was to be a shared venture that allowed other local businesses to have affordable retail space and develop their individual businesses whilst supporting and mentoring each other.“
Caroline's vision for The Every Space was for a lifestyle gift and plant store that supported and championed independent makers and designers. It was to be a shared venture that allowed other local businesses to have affordable retail space and develop their individual businesses whilst supporting and mentoring each other. We loved the idea that I could supply and stock the store with fresh flower bouquets each week that our customers could take home or buy as a gift and I couldn’t wait to be part of the project. Throughout the shop there is a focus on ethical and fair trade brands, unique and really special pieces and the four companies really come together to compliment each other in one space. Caroline: I was walking around town thinking how great it would be if someone opened an independent shop here. I knew I had the skills to do it, so I set up a market stall and began selling.
It finally became a shop a little over a year ago. I knew it was important to create an interesting and changing space for our customers. Products handpicked with my design eye, books and words that encourage mindful thought, creativity and personal connections. Plants are a large part of the experience. Their presence evokes feelings of calm. The nurturing of ideas and growth fundamental to what I do.
Our borough offers amazing support for small businesses to start up (lots of resources and affordable small pop-up units) but the step up to a full shop is really expensive and a huge commitment. I knew that if I invited some others to work with me it would become more affordable for everyone. In terms of our offer; their presence makes the space feel even richer and our mutual support is invaluable as our businesses grow and evolve.
When I first met Harri, she showed me a picture of herself holding a bunch of her flowers- I loved the flowers; they were full of colour and texture and personality. I knew that the style would fit well with the shop. I think that flowers are a perfect product extension for a gift shop. By offering pre-made bunches we make it easy to buy for a gift and to take a bunch away for your home.
Harri: With the support of our customers and community we are continuing to grow and develop; the store feels richer and more established every day. It's full of flowers, books and gifts that encourage mindful thought, creativity and personal connections. Plants are a huge part of The Every Space experience and walking into the shop is like walking into the jungle.
Several times a week I fill my front section of the shop with fresh hand-tied bouquets choosing seasonal and beautiful blooms and foliage directly from New Covent Garden flower market. The bouquets change each week so customers can get a colourful floral surprise when they walk in, hopefully introducing them to many interesting and beautiful blooms they may not be familiar with. I also provide bunches of the “focus flower” of the month, which changes each season, as well as providing a delivery and subscription service if you cannot get to the shop to collect your flowers.
The Hive events have been fantastic and extremely important to me as I have developed and grown my business over the past few years. It can feel very daunting and often lonely to start a business from scratch, and the events have been a great support and taught me a great deal. Their informal and friendly events are a great way of networking and finding out about other local businesses and the speakers are always fascinating with a wealth of knowledge and tips to share; from marketing, social media, finance, coaching, encouraging you to just “take the plunge” (thank you, Wendy, from Homeplace online!) and much more. Championing local businesses and ideas, sharing advice and connections, offering coaching and additional training and generally helping one another has been the main aim of establishing Hive, and I have made some great business connections (as well as friends!) through the meet-ups.
Several meetings on from my first Hive event with Caroline, the topic of the evening happened to be on “Collaborations” and the benefits that can be gained from working with other local businesses and collaborating together, It was a great feeling to know that our own collaboration had already taken place, when we, along with Amanda and Hayley, decided to create The Every Space together after reconnecting at one of these very evenings.
We look forward to growing our shop further, with exciting new products, initiatives, collaborations and workshops planned for the future. Do come and visit us if you haven't already, we'd love to meet you!
You can find The Every Space at 6-10 Central Parade, 137 Hoe St, London E17 4RT W: The Every Space I: the_everyspace