Julia Smith is a U.K. based photographer, stylist, and lifestyle blogger. We are big fans of her beautiful Instagram and website Humphrey & Grace. Julia recently featured The Old Haberdashery, a vintage-inspired homewares, textiles and haberdashery shop on her blog. We fell in love with this charming shop, and Julia has kindly allowed us to share her post with our readers.
The Old Haberdashery
by Julia Smith
“I have been meaning to invite you to visit The Old Haberdashery through my blog for over a year now. Sonia’s shop is one of my very favourites – so much so that I make a special trip to visit her from time to time as the ever changing stock always includes many items I would happily re-home.
From vintage spools of thread to glass bottles (I may have bought a few…), fabrics, accessories, trimmings and so much more. There is always treasure to be found at The Old Haberdashery… And so, wanting to share this marvellous shop of curiosities with you, I asked owner Sonia Boriczewski to divulge a little of the story behind the scenes to us…”
Sonia Boriczewski, shopkeeper at The Old Haberdashery
in Sonia’s words…
I trained as a textile designer specializing in Knitted Textiles and left Chelsea College of Art and Design with a first class honours degree back in 1997. After graduating I set up on my own designing paper yarn accessories. I then spent 9 years living abroad, teaching Textiles and Costume History in Shanghai and then 4 years in Barcelona taking time out to have a family.
On returning to England I knew I wanted to use my creative talents and knowledge and start my own business. I had spent a lot of time foraging in the antiques markets in Shanghai, finding beautiful old textiles and antiques. I have always had a passion for the old and unloved, coupled with an inherent desire to make things. I began sewing when I was 6, learning from an old lady in my village. Bringing all this together lead me to my current path.
I started small by way of local fairs and renting a small space in a local vintage clothes shop. This gave me the confidence I needed and a chance to try out my style of vintage and haberdashery, marrying the two.
I was very lucky in that I had a lot of people spurring me on. My landlord is what I would call a ‘patron of the arts’, a canny businessman who saw that what I did would complement his business. It’s good to have a mentor or someone who can give you invaluable advice and push you a bit out of your comfort zone.
What I wanted to create was a space where people could come and experience something. A spot of retail theatre, some treasure hunting, colour therapy and leave filled with ideas of things to make and projects to begin. Where possible I source vintage but this is not always achievable so I also stock things that fit in with the ethos of the shop.
So for example we have Merchant and Mills haberdashery and we have recycled silk yarns from India. I like to support other small businesses in this respect. Most of the things in my shop tell a story.
I believe that you have to nurture your own style, believe in your vision. It took me a good year to develop my own ‘Old Haberdashery’ style. The biggest compliment I received recently was from a fair organizer who invited me to one of her events saying ‘there’s no one doing what you do’. Knowing where you fit in and finding a different take on what you do has been so important.
During 2013-14 I produced a range of vintage haberdashery for Liberty. They approached me after seeing me at a fair.
I do love getting to know more about the creative folk I meet, and as such I am planning to re-open some conversations on my blog, they have been on the shelf for far too long already! I haven’t had chance to move the category over to this site yet, but I will soon, as the archive is full of wonderful people.
33a High Street, Ticehurst, East Sussex