SHOP OF THE MONTH The Ham­ble­don in Winch­ester turns 20

Founded by Vic­to­ria Suffield in 1999, Winch­ester’s award-win­ning home and life­style store of­fers prod­ucts from around the world. On the eve of its 20th birthday, we asked Vic­to­ria the se­cret of her shop’s suc­cess

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WHAT IN­SPIRED YOU TO OPEN A SHOP?

I was al­most lit­er­ally born into re­tail. My mum had a shop and my sis­ters and I used to work there dur­ing the school hol­i­days. Lots of my child­hood mem­o­ries are bound up there. Hav­ing tried a few other ca­reers along the way, shop­keep­ing felt like some­thing of a home­com­ing for me.

THIS YEAR MARKS THE HAM­BLE­DON’S 20TH AN­NIVER­SARY. HOW DO YOU AC­COUNT FOR ITS SUC­CESS?

Hon­estly, I don’t think there is any­thing ter­ri­bly se­cret about it. We all work ex­tremely hard, are mad about the prod­ucts we sell and are de­lighted to be part of a real com­mu­nity. And we’re a for­ward­think­ing bunch, so I hope the shop never feels as if it’s stand­ing still. Tra­di­tional re­tail is go­ing through a pretty tough time, and I think it re­ally helps if you truly love the pro­fes­sion of shop­keep­ing.

WHAT CAN IN­TE­RI­ORS LOVERS EX­PECT FROM A VISIT TO THE STORE?

A dif­fer­ent story each sea­son. Ev­ery­one talks about cu­ra­tion in in­de­pen­dent re­tail, but I think we take it to the next level. I’m not sure if I’m a frus­trated nov­el­ist, but part of the thrill of choos­ing things to sell is then think­ing of the story on which to hang those choices. We’ve done 1920s Italy with Villa Nec­chi, 18th-cen­tury Eng­land with Trade Routes, and 1980s LA with Sil­ver Lake. This au­tumn we’re chan­nelling LM Bos­ton’s Green Knowe se­ries of chil­dren’s books, which prom­ises to be faded, leafy and charm­ing – very much in keep­ing with an old English manor house.

TELL US MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT SPACE...

It’s an area where we fo­cus on tem­po­rary col­lab­o­ra­tions or ex­hi­bi­tions with sup­pli­ers, brands or spe­cific prod­ucts. It’s an op­por­tu­nity for the sup­plier to create their world within the world of The Ham­ble­don. To mark our 20th birthday, we’re tak­ing over the space our­selves and putting on an ex­hi­bi­tion cel­e­brat­ing our first 20 years. Ex­pect some au­di­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion! And 20 ex­clu­sive, lim­ited-edi­tion prod­ucts we’ve com­mis­sioned for the event…

DO YOU HAVE ANY IN­TER­EST­ING ANEC­DOTES?

I’m a hope­less racon­teur, as I have a ter­ri­ble mem­ory… We do have a pol­ter­geist in the base­ment though! The build­ing is full of his­tory; part of it dates back to Nor­man (and pos­si­bly Ro­man) times. Peo­ple are oc­ca­sion­ally a bit non­plussed by the scale and range of the shop; are we an Amer­i­can-style thrift store? Do I make ev­ery­thing we sell? Can I have a cap­puc­cino? Join The Ham­ble­don this Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber to cel­e­brate its 20th birthday and snap up the lim­ited-edi­tion range

Above Vic­to­ria loves cu­rat­ing an ever-chang­ing ar­ray of beau­ti­ful prod­ucts Left Stars Cham­pagne saucer, £72/six; La Souf­flerie Laveno Mon­te­bello green glass vase, £34.95; both the­ham­ble­don.com

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