We are really excited to introduce Cathy who owns the gorgeous giftshop No.4 on Mersea Island in Essex, which has just started stocking IzziRainey products.
Hi Cathy, please tell us a bit about No.4?
No4 is a small shop, we opened mid November 2016 to celebrate and be a shop window for the work of individual artists, craftsmen and artisan producers. Many are members of the island community in which we are located.
That is great! Where did the idea come from to start No.4?
I was beginning to consider retiring from 42 years of teaching but having been recently widowed I knew I needed a project, whilst I still had the energy! My daughter was working on establishing herself as a florist and had been doing an outdoor 'pop up' flower stall through the summer, but really needed cover in the winter. Gradually the two ideas started to merge.
Had you always dreamt of opening your own shop?
No. An actual shop is a relatively recent idea. Initially I was looking forward to giving time to developing my own skills (in ceramics or textiles) and in latter years to setting up a co-operative to give small producers on the island a place to work and share. So far, finding suitable and affordable premises has been the stumbling block on that idea so it's on the back burner.
Well it looks fantastic! As you know all of our products are designed by Izzi and manufactured in the UK, is this something you feel passionate about? Do you stock a lot of other British designer makers?
Yes definitely. Everything we stock, apart from the furniture that makes up our display space, is British made.
That’s great. We think it is so important to champion British designer makers. If it possible to, do you like to stock local artists in your shop?
That was the starting point for the shop. Apart from about six suppliers, all our producers live on the island or within a twenty mile radius. Fortunately for me, Mersea is a very creative place!
Sounds as if the island is full of lots of creative people! We see that you do workshops and master classes in the shop, is this something we will see more of from No.4?
We hope to develop this side of the business and provide the community with a wide and diverse selection of workshops as and when we link up with different tutors.
We will definitely keep an eye on what you are up to! You have lots of wonderful fantastic products in store, where do you tend to source your products from?
Nearly everything in the shop is made by someone known to me. Although we linked up with IzziRainey in London we found there was a slightly obscure connection!!
I am beginning to find new producers are introducing themselves and searching us out, offering their work.
Do you have theme for your shop or do you like to mix it up?
At the moment it is quite a mix. Depending on sales and demand we may begin to specialise more, but our aim is for quality design with a contemporary edge. Customers are enthusing about the individual quality of the things we stock. They appreciate buying something 'different'.
What first drew your attention to IzziRainey products?
It was fresh, fun and quite simple. Knowing the processes involved in the making helped to appreciate the different products.
Thank you so much Cathy for joining us. Everyone take a look at NO.4's Facebook page or pop in if your ever nearby.
Izzi and Lara
IzziRainey is a Norfolk company, based on a farm, designing and manufacturing high quality homeware and interior products within Norfolk and the UK.