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Wednesday, 29 January 2020

What A Business

How we started out

Nass, my husband, was a PE teacher when I met him.

My son's, as it happens.

I joined the PTA when I was going through a divorce.

I thought it would keep me busy.

We organised a summer ball.

Posh do it was.
Nass was the member of staff on duty.

And yes, we fell in love.
Not immediately.
We just thought it was a short term thing.

The rest of the staff gave us 6 months tops.
They even ran a book on us.

That was many years ago.
And yes, we proved them wrong.
And surprised even ourselves.


I had done a few interesting jobs in the past.

Years ago I nursed.

This was for an ad for the nursing agency I worked for,
 (I don't ever remember looking that smart on the wards)

Was, for a while, Vegetarian Chef at the wonderful West Dean College.
I worked alongside the head chef.
It was a fabulous experience.

We often used to wander over to the Victorian gardens
 early in the morning and pick veggies for the lunchtime vegetarian savoury.

In the early days of building up Arundel Eccentrics
I worked full-time nights.

A residential home in Crawley.
"Adolescents With Challenging Behaviour."

It was wild, scary and totally unpredictable.
 I was exhausted most of the time.
But it paid the bills.

For 7 years I painted and decorated furniture every spare minute.

 On my 4 work nights, I drove an hour to Crawley,
worked a 13.5-hour shift and drove back to Arundel.
Painted some more.
Fell into bed for 5 hours of sleep.
Then I got up and did it all over again.


I originally started in the Swallow
 brewery warehouses 24 years ago.

With two friends I had met at
The Body Shop Headquarters in Littlehampton.

We were teaching ourselves to paint and decorate
 furniture that we bought from junk shops.

The idea was to sell on market stalls,
 but we ended up in the warehouse instead.

 Body Shop friends rallied round and helped us set up.

Even the owner Gordon Roddick was a regular at our events.

Our landlord let us use the
empty front shop for a summer.

It's now William Hill.

A top antique dealer glanced in the window and noticed our decoupage.

He was looking for someone to decorate Victorian bamboo..with decoupage.

 What are the chances?

Allie and I worked on furniture from home for several years for him.
Nass had a day's trial with the same store.

He left 15 years later.

For a while, I had a shop in Ninevah House

the converted chapel in Tarrant Street,
 and a showroom/workshop
 in a barn on a farm in Binsted,
a village just outside Arundel.

When the opportunity arose for Nass and Steve,
(who he was working with)
 to set up,
we found the warehouse was empty so moved back.

Nass and I stock a combination of
English and French decorative antiques.

taking it easy in the warehouse.


My side of things is upcycling.

Sourcing vintage enamel bowls like this

and painting, gilding then decorating with decoupage,
turning them into this.

turning the likes of this......

into this


into this

piles of old buckets...

into something a little more desirable...

chest of drawers

and Victorian English bamboo
cleaned up from this

to this

old tin I found in a Lewes antique centrs

became this...went off to a new life in the US

an old hat tin

and a French vintage table/magazine rack

1930's English deed boxes

and the great thing is
we still love what we do

Liberty London

It was the decoupage that brought us to the
 attention of the fabulous Liberty store in London.

In 2016 they offered us a space.

It turned out to be the whole of the room on the 4th floor.

We were thrilled to be asked.

Can you imagine???

One minute you are behind the Co-op in Arundel.
The next in one of the most prestigious stores in the UK.

Come and see us all if you visit Arundel.

all details

All our latest stock can be found here
The Hoarde