One half of Scamp (Stacey) is a Leeds dweller and was thrilled when Chirpy (a very cool design led gift store) opened up in her neighbourhood a couple of years ago. She was even more thrilled when Harriet Vaight, the shop's owner, wanted to stock our baby wear and baby mobiles! If you are ever visiting this fine city get yourself over to Chapel Allerton and pop in to say hi and enjoy Harriet's extremely well edited and selected choices of lovely 'Design to Make you Feel Fine!'
What is the Chirpy story and the idea behind the shop?
I’ve lived in Leeds for over 15 years, but really struggled to find cool and unique gifts for friends and family. I loved going to the local craft fairs and arts trails where there were lots of talented people making amazing things, but they just didn’t have an outlet in Leeds to sell their wares. And after 10 years in the private sector getting disillusioned with the corporate world, I decided that maybe I should be the one to do something about it.
It’s Independent Retailers Month this July - what do you think makes independent shops so special?
Independent shops are amazing! They have so much more character, personality and uniqueness than the high street shops. We can support the smaller UK makers by stocking their lovely products, and provide people with a more exciting shopping experience and something just that little bit different.
Where do you find inspiration when it comes to filling your shop with such lovely items?
It’s easy as there are so many makers out there designing and creating such amazing products. I just keep an eye out for something unique and fun, that you wouldn’t find in the usual high street store. Discovering a new supplier who makes a really cool product that you haven’t seen before, but you know that people would love, is really exciting.
Most of all I love the customers, everyone is so friendly and lovely and a real pleasure to deal with. And I love how every day is different, there are so many aspects to running a business, there is no way that you can get bored. The creative side is also really fun, being imaginative with new product displays, putting on crafty events and taking photos for social media.
What is next for Chirpy?
Putting on more and new events in the cool upstairs space. I love it when people come and have a fun time trying out something new and I’d like to expand this more. Then getting my head around an ecommerce site and starting to sell online, it’s something I get asked about more and more. And maybe eventually another Chirpy somewhere, who knows?!
A perfect day includes?
Starting off with a tea in bed with my book, then getting out and about in the fresh air in the garden or to one of Leeds great parks or nature reserves, eating some yummy food at one of Leeds many great places to eat, and ending the day with a movie night at an independent cinema.
thanks so much Harriet :) x