Thursday, 12 August 2010
"Get out of this shop now!" yelled the two year old as he stood, feet firmly apart, hands on his hip and crystal blue eyes glaring out from his blond, blunt fringe. I watched in astonishment as the mother in question obeyed. "Alright darling, you look around first and let me know when I can come back in." Once upon a time, 78 Durham Road was a sweet shop. Mrs Jones ran the only sweet shop in Raynes park for 30 years until she sadly passed away. I found myself pondering the thought; I wonder what Mrs Jones would have to say today about the children of West Wimbledon? This prompted me to get on immediately with a project I have been keen to complete. The naughty stool.
I can take no credit for this idea. We first came across it at our little friend, Cameron's first birthday party so we set about finding old stools and painting them up. Yesterday I sign wrote them and Steve waxed them up. I had barely put them out in the shop when a rather frazzled looking mom pulled up outside in her huge 4 wheel drive. As she opened her door I heard the screaming of two boys. "No darlings. Mummy is just posting a letter..ooh, what's this a new shop? No, you can't come in, no don't hit your brother, but you might break something, I said no! Oh alright, but don't touch anything." My heart sank. In barreled a pair of twins. Blond twins around 3 years of age. "Noddyyyyyyyyy! They yelled as they each located my vintage noddy toys, one climbing on the back of an 80 year old toy horse the other clambering over a 60 year old set of Plant Tuscan pink china trios to grab the other from the window display. "We want!"they shouted in unison. "Put Noddys down darlings, they are not toys" she said as she looked at the price tag. I watched in quiet horror as the two then decided each others' Noddies were better and a game of tug of war ensued. "Mummy can't buy them. Daddy will kill me. Put them down, now, I mean it, give it here, give it!" and a tug of war ensued between her and the boys. Finally, she handed the noddies over to me "I think you had better hold onto these" she said as she turned her attention to a long bit of cowboy bunting. "Would you boys like this for your bedroom?" "Yeeeeeeeees!" they shouted in unison. "Oh quickly, before they break something" she said. "I knew this was a bad idea." Is there anything else I could put in the boys bedroom?" She asked....pause.....hmmmmm? I pointed at the naughty stools. It didn't go down too well. Needless to say, the boys were trundled out of the shop, enticed by their mum dangling the bunting at the door saying "look boys, look what mummy bought for your room, come and see." It took her 15 mins to get the boys back into the car.
Poor Noddy was then returned to the relative safety of his horse and lives to fight another day.
It has been a week of ups and downs. We have opened our doors in the middle of the summer holidays and Wimbledon is quiet. A steady flow of curious visitors come in and enjoy browsing. Some are keen vintage supporters and buy something, others are going to take some convincing but that's all part of the job.We knew it would be a slow burn.
It still amazes me when somebody walks in and says, "what is it exactly that you sell?" "Ummmm...fish and chips", we are tempted to say. It has slowly been dawning on me that the public don't mind what you do but they need to be told what they are looking at. They are not that quick off the mark. So I have felt more like an educator this week and less like a shop proprietor. Hmmmm? Perhaps some 'vintage' lettering in the window might be in order.
I also set about making a 'shop open' sign for the pavement. We used an old fire surround and screwed a teacup onto the top. This was hilarious as so many people came in to say, "Be careful the teacup is going to fall off your sign" haa haaa. (Cunning way of getting folk through the doors.)
I have also begun making my recycled Noddy and Ladybird book gift cards. Already, we have sold a bunch. People love nostalgia.
All in all it has been a great week. So many lovely people have popped in to say hello and have a browse around. Our bank card machine arrived yesterday and I got to use it for the first time. Steve is getting on with some more furniture which we hope will go out on the forecourt.
Mrs Jones might turn in her grave at the changing face of childhood, but I hope she would approve of our little vintage shop on Durham Road and of the first of our 'naughty' range.
Enjoy the weekend lovely friends.