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
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