Friday, 10 June 2016

A New Venture: the Three Wise Monkeys Vintage & Arts Emporium

"In the heart of the St Albans countryside is a long established high-end outlet store selling fabulous homewares and luxury leather goods.   Immediately adjacent to it is this.  My eyes just lit up when I saw it, my little house of dreams! I just had to have it."
Denise outside the Three Wise Monkeys Emporium, pre-restoration

Fate had a hand in me meeting Denise. I saw a post she'd shared on Facebook in a group we were both a part of, about a search for potential traders for a new space - to be called the Three Wise Monkeys Vintage & Arts Emporium - opening up in Hertfordshire. It was at a time when I was frustrated at not being able to find a community outside of London for small indie designer/makers, so I leapt at it and sent an email. My imagination was fired up and energy levels at an all-time high. Weeks went by and yet this stranger's vague Facebook post remained at the back of my mind. And then the email came. Would I like to go and see the Emporium and have a chat. Yes. Yes I would.

She sent a text saying 'I'll meet you by the ivy-covered door'. Who wouldn't be intrigued? At first we were very businesslike and mindful of health and safety; "mind the step", "watch out, the floor's a bit rickety here". But walking around the beautiful old saddlery, smelling the old leather, seeing the raw beauty in the beams and the old shop fittings, let alone the BUCKETLOADS of potential, any awkwardness melted away and we each discovered a kindred spirit.

Later, porfolios shown and forms signed, we went for a cuppa and some cake at the neighbouring cafe. Topics of conversation included glitter, real-live organ grinders and monkeys, studded bowler hats, origami jewellery, tiny terrariums, Alice in Wonderland, and much more (I can't wait til next time - and imagine if there was wine involved!?).

Plans include an Italian-inspired cafe, units and cabinet space held by local collectors and artisans, and a workshop/meeting space. There is also Colin.

Becca, me, and Colin. As you do.

But anyway - I don't want to divulge too much here. You can read all about Denise's plans and progress with this fabulous building and project on her Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and blog. Rather importantly, there is also a Crowdfunder page. There is still a lot of work to be done before we open in September, and every penny counts (and could be thanked for in cake!). Likewise, if you have any skills you are able to offer the restoration of this gorgeous building, please also get in touch.

Incredible image, of unknown origin - pinched from Three Wise Monkeys' FB page

Thank you for reading. Xx

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