Before we start with our story I think it's only right that I provide a bit of background into who we are so... here we go. We're a family run business. I'm Sam, a mother of two gorgeous little ladies and partner to Jake.
You could say that Isla-Gracd Ltd is our third little lady, born from a lifelong passion for all things to do with arts and crafts, especially interior design.
For me, the dream of starting a business of my own really started back in 2007 when I bought an end-of-terrace cottage with spectacular views over the rolling hills of the Weald of Kent which, with the help of my wonderful parents, I lovingly renovated from top to bottom. It was exhausting but the sense of achievement was immense.
When the cottage went on the market back in 2009 I received a phone call from a researcher for A Place in the Sun: Home or Away, informing me that they had viewed my cottage, loved it and wanted to have it on the show - and it was. Friends and family have always, and still do, tell me that I have an eye for these things' but this gave me the confidence to believe that I really do.
The dream became much more real when in 2009 I met Jake whose parents ran a highly successful shop on Goodge Street for 26 years, as well as wholesaling to the likes of Liberty's and other well known stores. They designed and sourced most of their products in India and formed close friendships with their suppliers which still exist today. I have heard countless stories and seen wonderful photos of their shop, which inspired me greatly, fuelling my idea of one day being able to create something of my own.
Add to this a furniture painting course with the wonderful Annie Sloan back in 2010 and my creative juices were only just getting started!
A trip to The Spring Fair at the NEC in Birmingham really cemented my desire for creating something of my own. There are lots of online shops out there but I wanted to create something special, somewhere people could come to shop that didn't feel like all those other mass produced online stores but just like walking into one of these little boutique stores you stumble across... an Aladdin caves full of unusual, unique pieces that set you all a tingling and wanting to buy the whole store...or is that just me?!
Jake was a musician, he plays the keyboard and piano. While he's no longer in a band he still writes stuff and plays for us, friends and family at home and gatherings and, has even now taken to playing for our guests at our home pop-up shop which is great fun. Jake also dabbled in website design back in the day. So, in 2015, after Jake was unable to stop me babbling on about my trip, my ideas and my dream shop he simply said 'well, let's do it'....so we did! Together we designed the website, stock was ordered and so it began.
However, it wasn't enough for me to just source great stock, stuff that I would have in my home and mostly do, I wanted to add something more unique and that's where our own range comes in. Here, we source original art from local artists, make our own prints, greeting cards, and I design and hand stencil various mediums such as bags, cushion covers and art which are turned into prints.
As a family, we have been so inspired by our venture that since 2015 it has seen Jake re-train and set up his own Landscaping business and in my spare time (which you can imagine isn't much) I am studying for a diploma in Interior Design. My ultimate goal is to set up my own Interior Design Business which links into our wonderful shop.
So, here we are. Isla-Grace Ltd was born from my passion as was the name itself, being a combination of the middle names of our darling daughters, who of course are our daily inspiration.
Thanks for taking the time to read our story and, we hope you enjoy browsing in our little shop wonders.
Sam & Jake