The shops, the people who sell my work worldwide...who are they? What are their dreams, their inspirations, what made them start their own businesses? A feature in words and images with a little surprise-coupon at the end...
Just before I leave the country for a summer break I would like to put the stockist spotlight on Hen & Hammock, a succesfull online gardening, home and outdoor lifestyle shop. They are based in Moreton, Oxfordshire (UK). I love their honest concept, their well chosen assortment, their style...
Hen & Hammock: webshop - blog - twitter
When did you start your webstore and what made you decide to start it?
It was a time-of-life thing. Time to stop commuting to the big city and time to spend more time in the garden. The former was achieved very early on. The latter is still an aspiration!
What choices do you make when you purchase new products?
When we look at new products we have two priorities. The first is that the product needs to look good and be practical. Beauty alone is not enough, neither is functionality. We search for nice looking products that serve a purpose.
The second is that products should make the world a better place. This can’t always be achieved, but we should try by asking the right questions and by favouring producers that share our values.
What is the most beautiful part of your work and what part just ‘comes with the job’?
There are lots of rewards in what we do. Helping producers by buying their products is enormously rewarding. We also donate 10% of our profits to causes we feel strongly about, which is very satisfying. This year we gave £500 to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, which is striving to reverse the decline in the bumblebee population
The biggest challenge for us is getting products from some of our producers in a timely fashion. We don’t like letting our customers down with the words ‘Out of Stock’.
Which Hen and Hammock products would you like to show to us?
Kettle watering cans, because they show what fun practical gifts can be made from recycled plastic.
Picnic blankets, made from new wool waste. There is something very appealing about having a unique colourway. And they are a good excuse for a picnic!
Seed trays. These simple trays are made locally from waste wood and make germinating seeds all the more satisfying.
Paper maché bowls. The cooperative which makes these bowls is inspiring, as are their designs.
Is there any article that is produced almost uniquely for your shop?
The scarecrow kits are unique to Hen and Hammock. We collect the coffee sacks, which would otherwise go into landfill, and assemble the kits in house.
What are the items you took home from work?
Every day at this time of year I use one of our recycled tyre trugs for collecting weeds.
And later in the year, one of our Sussex trugs for collecting vegetables.
What do you expect to be a real trend for the future in your business?
I think product provenance will move to centre stage. It is already important for food, and will become increasingly important for the gift market. A gift is so much more if you can show who made it, where and how.
What will you be doing in five years? What is your ultimate dream?
We are living the dream already. I hope to be doing the same in 5 years!
Thanks so much Andrew, for this little peek in your green paradise!
I wish you all a wonderful summer, with nice relaxing garden work. And of course: For tools and other great stuff, made with love go to Hen & Hammock and use the discount code on the coupon below. Enjoy!