Kirsten Harris, 46, is owner of Bob & Blossom in Columbia Road, East London.
DESCRIBE THE LOOK OF THE SHOP
Stuff that brings smiles to faces! We carry our Bob & Blossom range of fun kids’ clothing and also stock lots of other cool gift ideas, books, knitted toys, retro prints, toy cars – nostalgia with a modern twist. I love bold graphics. Oh, and we have big fluffy tutus in a rainbow of colours.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR LOCATION?
Being next to the colourful Columbia Road Flower Market is incredibly inspiring. I’m always using amazing colour combo ideas from it. This area has a relaxed and utterly charming feel, independent shops to explore and a lovely atmosphere. On Sundays, it comes to life, lined with eccentric flower sellers and bursting with blooms, and buskers entertain the crowds – it’s a special place.
BEST AND WORST BITS OF THE JOB?
We have such nice customers – the comments that we get about the brand and the shop itself make me proud. But there are never enough hours in the week. Running the shop and the online side of the business means there’s always something to do.
HOW DO YOU JUGGLE FAMILY AND WORK?
Things are easier now that my son, Manny, is 17. But in the early years (I started Bob & Blossom when he was born), it was tough juggling work with a baby in tow. Running your own business, you never switch off. But I have a supportive partner and the best bunch of staff. You have to learn to delegate.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVE TOY GROWING UP?
I had a toy till as a child – I ‘played shop’ all the time. I’ve always been a shop girl at heart.
WHAT ARE YOUR BEST SELLERS?
At the moment, Brother & Sister tees are our most popular line, along with big fluffy tutus.
WHAT’S THE KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL SHOP?
Know your customer and give them something they can’t find online – great customer service, a smile and a chat. Sell things that make you happy.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE SHOP?
We’re getting ready for a Columbia Road Christmas right now – already! On Wednesday evenings in the run-up, there’s a magical feel to the street. It’s a bit like stepping back in time. We’re planning our mulled wine and carol singing nights – they always draw a crowd.