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The Story so far - Part Three

Moving isn’t easy at the best of times but throw in a Global Pandemic, National Lockdown and Government guidelines stating strict social distancing and Harriet and myself could have been mistaken for two rabbits in headlights for the best part of April and May 2020.
How are we going to pack up and move the Lewes shop if we can’t get within 2 meters of each other or anyone else for the foreseeable future? How are we going to fit out a shop without any access to building materials? Is there any point in fitting out a new shop when we have absolutely no idea when we will be able to reopen our doors? Along with every other shop keeper in the country, and around the world, we were anxious and scared about what lay ahead.
Packing up and leaving 196 was emotional but there is nothing like packing up 6 years worth of shop debris to ease the sadness. It had served us incredibly well, packed with our vintage inspired fashion, homeware & gifts, but we were already getting excited about our plans for the new space.
When it came to paint choices, we decided to go with the same wall colour as in the last shop.
Our favourite 'Dickensian, nicotine stained, mustard' that we love so much and have always had so many lovely comments and requests to colour match. After much deliberation we also decided on a dark teal for the counter area. We were concerned that it would be way too dark but we love the depth it gives the space.
We had been counting on Antique Markets providing us with lots of beautiful furniture to fit out whatever new shop we had moved into……… Hmmm yeah that was now out of the question! Antique fairs and markets were a distant memory….. Luckily, a little trip to our storage space in Firle came up trumps and we used all sorts of odds and ends to create a space we are really, really proud of. Our shop counter was an old kitchen unit bought at the Lewes Auction house years ago for £40!
We reused a lot of what we had from the previous premises. The panelling from behind the counter instantly transformed the space and we felt at home before we knew it.
The fabric we used for the changing room curtains had been sat in a pile for ages. The amazingly talented Sam, transformed the beautiful piece of old Crewel work into 2 beautiful curtains which not only do we want to take home but so it seems do almost all of our customers!
Some old shutters, also found in the storage, provided some lovely old wood that was cut into a scallop shape for the shelves in the Savon De Marseille display. We love them! I now want scalloped edges on all my shelves at home.
Yet again, the amazing Sue braved our DIY scaffold tower to beautifully sign write our CLOSET & BOTTS sign. She is truly the loveliest woman in the world. So positive and talented. A true superstar!
So after a solid month of exhausting work, on the 18th of June, we were ready to open our new doors!
We have tried to create a compact and refined version of the original shop. We have kept true to our favourite colour pallet which will of course change throughout the seasons. We are also really excited to expand both our children's and gentleman's sections. And dare I say it, with Christmas on the horizon, we are getting very excited about our festive shop displays and the lovely big window and window cabinet we now have to pay with.
Closet & Botts Lewes shop
  Closet & Botts Lewes shop  
We have been to our first market post lockdown and we had the best time! It was a beautiful warm summers day and we managed to find some really beautiful things. It felt so good to be out doing what we love most. Can’t wait for the next one!
 And so a "new normal" begins. We have had to make a few changes to the way the shop functions now. Limited customers, hand sanitising and the wearing of face masks being a few but if we have to wear one then it may as well be pretty! In the shop we have been selling some beautiful one off masks made by hand in Lewes. We also have a range of cotton floral and plain masks available online too. Who would have thought 8 months ago that we would now be selling face masks?!
The response to the new space has been mind blowing. Yes it is smaller and no we no longer have a garden space but right now, in this peculiar time for retail, we are still packed full of vintage inspired fashion, homeware and gifts our customers love. We thank everyone who has supported us, either online or by coming into the new shop.
We are so very grateful.
Thank you for reading x

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