WHAT WE LOVE: One of The Shopkeepers Best New Shops 2020, Joy Thorpe Decorative Antiques & Interiors is housed in a historic building with a pretty green shopfront. Unique antique and vintage homewares are mixed with one-of-a-kind and gift pieces.
WHO: Interior designer and collector, curator and lover of all things old, Joy Thorpe.
WHERE: In the charming Irish town of Castlecomer, Kilkenny.
What are Joy Thorpe Decorative Antiques & Interiors’ best-selling pieces? Everything in the store is unique, one-of-a-kind pieces that I have sourced specifically for the store, so once they are gone they cannot be replaced. I don’t have best sellers – but popular pieces that never hang around too long are old Haberdashery units, banks of drawers & art deco leather club chairs.
Where do you source products for Joy Thorpe Decorative Antiques & Interiors? I source all pieces from antique furniture Auctions, flea Markets or trips abroad. My favourite place for finding special treasures is Morrocco, I love to hunt every little shop in the madness of the medina to find something extra special to take back to the store with me.
Who are your customers? A typical customer of mine are those that share my outlook on how to decorate their home. They are a diverse bunch of people who appreciate finding well made beautiful antique pieces that are one of a kind.
How has the internet impacted your business? The store was created as a space to house my collection. The store allows me to display and style my pieces so that the customer gets a sense of how the pieces would work in their own homes. With the rise in popularity of instagram, the imagery and photographs of my store and the pieces I have in stock allow me to reach a wider audience. All my stock is just as likely to sell via instagram as from the shop, so the stock moves very quickly and I get to still have that interaction with customers.
Have you adapted your business to the coronavirus pandemic? Well sadly like most other shopkeepers I have had to close my doors during the lockdowns. However, thankfully with the power of instagram and the web I am still able to interact with my customers, I can still showcase and sell pieces online, which has been hugely helpful in staying afloat. We have all had to adapt to this new normal to keep our business moving forward.
Who inspires you? Sibella Court – her vision, unique style and love of travel.
What inspires you? I love beautiful Craftsmanship, the patina and history behind pieces; I love travel, and my favourite destination for inspiration is Marrakesh, the scents, the bustle of the medina, the vibrancy of colours, the architecture – and especially the appeal of the Tadelakt walls and all the beautiful tiles.
Before I was a shopkeeper, I…. had many retail jobs, from Visual merchandiser to buying, interior design, waitress…
Did you have prior retail experience? I have over twenty years retail experience, from high street stores to small independents.
Your favorite thing about owning an independent shop? I love the excitement of hunting for new pieces, the buzz of finding unique finds for the shop – the freedom to curate exactly what I want, I love the community of people I have met through owning the store, from auctioneers to furniture restorers and upholsterers. There is something very special about bringing a victorian chaise longue or old haberdashery unit back to life.
Your advice for anyone wanting to open a shop? You have to go with your heart, do what you are passionate about. It’s pretty daunting, but I believe that with your knowledge of retail, together with a clear vision and passion for what you want to achieve anything is possible and is for me a recipe for success.
If you weren’t a shopkeeper you would be..? A kept women….(probably best not to say that) A shopkeeper… I’ve always wanted my own little concept store with Antiques, cafe area and a little florist … all beautifully curated and displaying an exquisite collection of art, i’ve a bit to go, but I am always dreaming of the next stage for the store.
I wish I could…Escape to a chateaux
ON THE FUTURE OF RETAIL
“I feel there is a real appetite amongst the community to support local businesses where possible, the pandemic has really highlighted the need to bring the heart and soul back into the high street and local businesses really do bring individualism and personality to any village or town. I think more and more people are realising the importance of supporting local independent, specialised stores in order to keep the community thriving. The pandmeic in many ways has forced us to refocus on how and what we spend our money on, investment in sustainability and quality over quantity. Overall, I think the future of retail is promising.”
JOY THORPE DECORATIVE ANTIQUES & INTERIORS
The Commerical Establishment, Kilkenny Street, Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny