London-based Creative Consultant, Anna Jacobsen, specializes in brand & visual concept development, photography, lifestyle and interior styling. In 2015 she started a blog, We Are Here Now, showcasing her photography and interior and design projects. Anna’s love of vintage rugs found the perfect sales outlet on her blog’s webshop, where she uses her skills to create, style and photograph gorgeous environments for her finds. Anna’s Nordic heritage and photography is featured in the newly released book, North: How to Live Scandinavian. She shares her story, her work, ‘We Are Here Now’ and inspirations with The Shopkeepers.
What are your best sellers? In normal life I’m probably best knows for my photography work and interior styling. When it comes to my webshop, it’s for the colourful handwoven vintage rugs.
How do you source your products? I source my products from all over, the vintage rugs I pick up at local auction houses & antique shows (often in the Norfolk countryside). The ceramics are a special collaboration with a local designer and the posters and prints are my own photography work.
What are the challenges selling online compared to a physical store? Really not sure as I’ve never had a physical store, however the obvious is lack of footfall and that people don’t ‘discover’ you the way they would if you were located in a busy shopping district.
What are the advantages? No rent and staff costs. Convenience & flexibility
Who are your customers? People who are interested in one-off products and appreciate the special quality of handmade items that come with a story. Most of my customers are UK and London-based, however the rugs often sell to the States and last year’s wall calendar was popular throughout Europe as well as Northern America (hence me and my dear friends at Lokal 54 are in the process of making a new one for 2018).
Anna Jacobsen, Shopkeeper at We are Here Now
Who inspires you? Old stylish ladies in the street, people who have left the corporate world to start their own creative venture, philanthropists, anyone who can do crow pose at yoga (I can’t!)
What inspires you? Being in nature, silence, kindness, travel and exploring new places, beautiful environments, the changing of the seasons
Before I was a shopkeeper… I did a whole array of things including working for the UN in Nairobi and working in fashion trend forecasting for six years.
The hardest lesson learned in starting a business? For me – time management!
What task do you like to delegate? Anything to do with finance or tech.
The best lesson you have learned opening your shop? If something doesn’t work, try something different! Don’t get stuck with just one idea, explore various options and be open-minded.
Your advice for anyone wanting to open a shop? Don’t stock what everyone else has and follow your heart instead of trends.
Which famous person would you like to visit your shop? Illse Crawford, Kelis, Drew Barrymore & Barack Obama
If you weren’t a shopkeeper you would be..? Well as I’m only really a part-time shopkeeper I think I’d just continue the photography full-time oh and I’d love to train in Chinese Medicine.
What is your perfect day off? If I’m in the countryside: Lie-in, breakfast in the garden, a swim in the sea, a really good book read in a hammock, finished by a BBQ. If I’m in the city it would be an early yoga session followed by brunch in a good coffee shop with a friend, an art exhibition and an early evening cocktail (preferably with a live jazz band)
Can you share five favorite shops? I love Botany on Chatsworth Road, it offers a beautifully curated selection of homeware and plants and is owned by one of my best friends. Being Scandinavian I love Svenskt Tenn is Stockholm and The Apartment in Copenhagen I adore. As I live in London Liberty is of course on the list and Alfie’s Antique market is a must-see. I’m also very keen to check out Petersham Nurseries new Covent Garden location.
Do you have a favorite neighborhood coffee shop and restaurant? I like Allpress in Dalston and the Pavillion Café in Victoria Park. For dinner Legs is literally around the corner from our flat and offers a brilliant food & natural wine selection. In Norfolk I like the Victoria Pub as well as the The Gunton Arms.
I wish I could… write a best-selling novel, travel the world and become a professional spa reviewer, stop worrying.
On the Future of Retail
“I think the online shopping experience will develop and grow further. For physical stores I see them being (constantly changing) interactive lifestyle experiences such as Artilleriet in Gothenburg & The Apartment in Copenhagen. I also think it’s interesting what someone like the Soho House Group is doing with the their Soho Home brand, mixing vintage with their own label.”