As you all know by now, I'm an avid supporter of small businesses and I will shout from the rooftops about each and every one of the retailers that stock our British made products. So continuing with the 'Our Lovely Stockist' blog series, next up is the gorgeous Lakin & Boone - a family lifestyle store.
1. Tell me about your wonderful business Lakin and Boone. Is there a story behind it, how long have you been trading?
Lakin and Boone is a small family lifestyle store in Truro, Cornwall. We are situated in Lemon Street Market which is a small building filled with lots of independent shops from a florist, to a refill store. In Lakin and Boone we sell a mixture of clothes, books, and toys for children. Plus a selection of cards of course!
The shop has been open for a year and a half and we have lots of lovely regulars who visit us from across Cornwall, but due to our location we also get lots of tourists during the school holidays (when we’re not on lockdown!)
Lots of people think the name is our surnames but that is not the case. It’s actually a variation of a name from a very old bit of paperwork that is framed in my Auntie’s house - a piece of paper that belonged to my great great grandfather.
2. And little bit about you…
After finishing university I undertook work experience in children’s publishing and loved it! I thought I would go down this route for a career but decided city living wasn’t for me and moved back to Cornwall to be with family. Unfortunately there isn’t much publishing work in Cornwall…
I started my career working for marketing and PR agencies, my favourite client was a kids’ brand of play and lifestyle products which gave me my fist insight into the industry. I then moved to work for a children’s organic clothing company where I specialised in email marketing.
The majority of my family are self employed and as I neared 30 years old I decided the time was now or never to start my own business. That’s where it all started!
3. What kind of products do you sell? Who is your typical customer?
We sell products that I would buy myself either for my son or for friends and family. We love working with small independent businesses and family businesses. Using ethical companies, producing sustainable products is important to us, plus offering our customers something unique to the high street stores in Truro.
As we are close to a very big hospital, lots of our customers are buying gifts for newborns, which is always exciting.
4. Your favourite children’s book and why.
I was a massive Enid Blyton fan as a child, it all started with The Faraway Tree then I moved on to Famous Five and Malory Towers. I enjoyed how easy they were to read and that there were so many in a series! I was a massive bookworm as a child and would get through a book in a day easily.
Now I love that I can take my passion for reading, by selecting an exciting selection of modern children’s books for the shop.
I love reading The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin to my son, although at the moment he prefers the That’s not my… books!
5. What inspires you in your day to day life? Does this have a direct effect on Lakin and Boone?
My family play a major part in my life. I am one of four girls and we are now all having our own families which is bringing us even closer together. Their children and now my own son Atlas who is only 7 months old, play a big role in the products I choose to stock in Lakin and Boone. Plus it means they get to be mini product testers!
The ethical side of the business is also important to me, with the new generations in mind I want to feel that we are doing something positive for the earth that our little ones are going to live in.
6. How did you discover Plewsy and what is it that you like about our products/designs?
We first found Plewsy on Instagram and have been stocking them for well over a year now. The combination of lovely illustrations and thoughtful wording were so unique and I knew would appeal to our customers. We mainly stock new baby and age cards for children, but Fiona’s designs are so fun, we usually can’t resist adding a few more into the mix!
7. What is the biggest challenge you have faced in business?
Being a bricks and mortar store in today’s climate is hard, even before Coronavirus. Getting customers through the doors, especially when you are not on the high street is tricky, when they can make purchases from the comfort of their own homes so easily. I am however passionate about keeping the UK high street alive and offering a personal service which does set small indies apart from online stores and big highstreet chains.
Coronavirus has to however, be the biggest challenge as it was just something you couldn’t plan for and is unprescedented. This has allowed us time to focus more on our online shop, but whilst we are missing seeing our customers face to face it is lovely that we are still being supported by them during this time.
8. Name 3 other independent businesses that you love.
I would like to give a shout out to other children’s shops with a bricks and mortar store, as I know they will be in a similar position to me during this time.
Small Folk in Totnes
Baba of Mine in Leicester
Organic Zoo in Brighton
Lakin & Boone have a website full of beautifully curated children's products, head over to their website for a browse or follow their journey on Instagram @lakinandboone
lakinandboone.co.uk | @lakinandboone
Read our other blogs in the series here.