The shop looks utterly beautiful, you’ve created a treasure trove of brilliance. Tell us how the concept came to you.
I moved from Margate to Ramsgate two and a half years ago, and ever since my first visit, I’ve been obsessed with Addington Street. There’s something about it that’s so special and I always imagined being part of it in some way.
Positive Retail opened its doors around the same time as us moving there and Anna and I have done a few little bits since then, but in July, as my studio was bought by the council, she asked if I’d like to utilise the space. Of course I snapped up the offer and said I’d like to do a collaborative space in December which showcased local creatives. I started my blog and instagram 8 years ago, focusing on creatives and small businesses so it feels like a fill circle moment to use my platform to showcase them physically.
You’ve had the launch weekend which has been a huge success! Apart from feeling slightly tired (launching store is frazzling right!) how do you feel? Fav bits from the weekend?
It was such a lovely first weekend. The first day was spent recovering from too many cocktails (courtesy of our neighbour, Seabird) the night before, but it was easily sorted with all the lovely locals popping in. It’s a wholesome feeling to be showcasing so many talented people who are based in Thanet, and to chat to others about all that they do. I absolutely adore connecting people, or introducing them to something new, so being able to cheerlead for other people is definitely my favourite thing. We also have the lovely Marie from Albie & Pearl next door, so forming a friendship with her has also been wonderful. Addington Street really is a community vibe - I love it so much!
Things on your Christmas list this year from the store?
How about everything? The hardest struggle for me is to not buy it all. I’ve handpicked everything based on what I’d want to wake up to on Christmas morning. A lot of things, I have already owned for a while!
If I had to choose, I think the knitted hot water bottles from What Meg Knits are so unique and a really great gift. The woven art from A Little Victory is also something I’d love to have on my walls. They’re a little pricier but timeless and super special. The rugs from Hessia Studio are also incredibly unique and could be hung on the wall. The fact that all of these things are handmade and have had precious time and energy put into them by people is priceless.
As well as the above, I’ll definitely be buying some table linen from Dolly Rocket ahead of the big day. Her hand-drawn paisley napkins are beautiful and every paisley is different. My favourite is the one featuring a martini. Similarly, Appreciation Project’s striped tablecloth is perfect for hosting.
If you read the press you’d think retail had no hope however you have seen this weekend yourself that when you create something new, with heart, it works. Any predictions for retail for 2024? What do you think retailers should be doing, what would you like to see more of?
Physical retail has obviously seen tough times in recent years but nothing beats being able to pick something up and browse in my opinion, particularly when you’re discovering new brands or creatives. I love discovering new things when I’m on holiday, or in a new area. It literally gives me butterflies when I find a space that has a lot of thought and consideration within it.
In terms of advice for others, I think it’s all about creating an experience or a vibe these days - a place that people like to hang out. A cracking playlist, good smells, and always being up for a chat are things that people have definitely noticed in the first few weeks of the Positive Retail x Emma Jane Palin pop-up. It really warms my heart when people walk in and complement the shop and the curation.
In areas that are slower, you need to serve the local community as well as day trippers. At the moment the shop is heavily focused on gifting for Christmas, but if it were to continue, I would adapt to what I thought was missing in the area (while still fitting in with my style etc). I’d host monthly events and offer loyalty discounts to keep people coming back. Your shop is a point for connection and community, so using it as such will ensure that people want it to stick around.
Emma Jane Palin is a multi-award-winning blogger, writer and interior stylist residing between London and Ramsgate, UK.
Known for eclectic styling, Emma's home is filled with 60s and 70s references with a modern twist. She is heavily influenced by fashion and music, but always with a mindful approach that champions vintage and preloved style.
Her location caravan, Club Jupiter, is available for shoots and rentals, and you’ll often find her opinion-led pieces in the likes of The Guardian, Evening Standard, The Times and more.