In the first of our stockist profiles, Jessica Widdows, owner of the fabulous Of Cabbages and Kings in Stoke Newington answers our questions and gives some hints for designers keen to get stocked in her shop.
Jessica in store at Of Cabbages and Kings
How would you describe your shop and the range that you stock? What is your style?
Of Cabbages and Kings has a slightly unusual set up, in that we share our retail space with yarn shop Knit with Attitude. When we ‘moved in together’ two years ago it became apparent that we needed to adopt an aesthetic that suited us both. On one side of the room is a wall of wool; boxes filled with brightly coloured balls of yarn stacked one upon the other. Mirroring this is the Of Cabbages and Kings wall of products, pictures and prints. Of Cabbages and Kings has always been colourful, but we’re definitely getting bolder and brighter.
Who are your favourite designers or design brands?
I love those brands that evolve almost intrinsically as the shop evolves. Take for example Tom Pigeon (formerly Lovely Pigeon) who I’ve carried for years. I feel we’re always moving in the same direction. They’ve reinvented their brand enough to keep new lines fresh and exciting, but without losing sight of who they are. Another thing about a brand like Tom Pigeon or Alfred & Wilde is that they cross over so many of the products we sell - jewellery, prints, cards and stationery. It joins the dots visually throughout the shop.
Of Cabbages and Kings
What is your favourite item that you stock?
Personally, I have a bit of a Wolf and Moon jewellery addiction going on at the moment!
What do you like about running your own business?
Probably the community aspect – feeling part of something much bigger than myself: The local community, the creative community, the shop team etc. Also the challenge: There have been some incredible highs and terrible lows in this process, but the sense of achievement when it finally comes together makes it all worthwhile.
Where/how do you find new designers to stock in your shop?
The Of Cabbages and Kings markets have always been a great way to source new stockists. Not only do I get to see a full range of products first hand, it’s a brilliant measure of what’s popular and what sells.
What advice would you give to artists or designer-makers who want to get stocked in your shop?
We get a lot of designers contacting us so you need to make yourself stand out from the crowd with a strong instantly recognisable brand. And don’t underestimate the importance of professional photographs. Your photographs sell. They can make a bad product look good or a good product look bad. I’m forever horrified by some of the grey, grainy, out-of-focus images we get sent in!
Knit with Attitude