Folly & Roses had been a dream of mine for decades. I started painting in oils at 12 and exhibited paintings by my teens. I knew I'd never be satisfied with being a commercial artist and wanted more security than painting pictures, hoping people would like what I did, then handing over 50% of the price to a gallery when they did. It wasn't for me.
For many years I had a notion that I wanted my own shop where I could create all the products, get that creative urge out of my system and maybe earn enough to get by. It was all a bit scary though, so for 20 years I worked regular 9-5 jobs in offices, and finally retail and hospitality. As it turns out this wasn't a bad thing. When I finally had the courage to go it alone I had bags of experience dealing with customers, online sales, marketing, and the 'stuff' that goes on behind the scenes in all industries. I started F&R online, which as I've learned now, is much more labour intensive than a bricks and mortar, but was definitely the best way to get started around a regular job.
Our first incarnation was as part of a collective. Six lady creatives banded together to take on a shop and studio space to give us all a little area to call our own. In principle it was a great way to start. Baby steps I think they're called. In reality six creative women with their own ideas, priorities and drive was, in the end, utter chaos. A lot of fun in the beginning, a huge learning curve, and utter, utter chaos! BUT! It gave me the confidence that I could run a business. I'd had a go at everything behind the scenes and I was pretty sure it was within my capabilities. I was already confident in my products, it was the other stuff I found terrifying.
One day in 2019 I was sitting in our cottage in Scotland having come to the realization that it was not the place to open the kind of luxury wellbeing shop I wanted, and out of the blue asked my other half 'how do you feel about moving to Norfolk'. To my surprise he just turned around and said 'I love it, lets go!' He had also been disappointed with his job prospects in Scotland and was ready for a change. So, two weeks later we were shop hunting in North Norfolk and two weeks after that we were moving!
I have never worried about starting over. I've done it several times now as I've evolved as a person and my ambitions have changed. I've never felt tied to a place and moving from Scotland back to my native East Anglia wasn't a particularly big deal for me. I knew North Norfolk was the best choice for the kind of business I wanted and so that was my driving force. I grew up in Cambridgeshire and so Norfolk was somewhere already familiar to me. Its a beautiful county and somewhere my Grandfather had wanted to live. He was a big influence on me and at the time I was excited to tell him about the move. It all happened very quickly, but sometimes that's how things go.
Folly and Roses opened mid-September 2019. I'd found the perfect little shop with roses over the door in Hopper's Yard, Holt. Next door to 'The Folly' tearooms and opposite a little shop selling loose leaf teas. It was like coming home....