Sunday, 31 July 2011

CITIZEN NOTTINGHAM Sarah Davenport From The Davenport Shop Of Originality

My Nottingham Day
Photo by David 'Dwyz' Wayman
I normally get up around 6am and have coffee and don't have a cigarette as I'm trying to give them up and then I walk the dog, my giant white long-haired Alsation who's moulting at the moment! And then I'll get into the shop as early as possible as sometimes I'll have a meeting before we open.

We first opened the shop on October 1st 2010 in Nottingham's Flying Horse Walk because lots of independent shops were closing and as unique and original skills were at risk we wanted to showcase new and existing talent in Nottingham. The shop is everything creative, we have more than fifty designers and artists involved and the talent is incredible. Everyone here is from Nottingham and works for clients who are looking for something unique and original or very personal with a difference and not mass-produced. We like to be challenged, anything! If they can imagine it, we can make it.

We normally spend the mornings getting everything organised and as we offer bespoke products that tends to take a lot of work. So mornings we do as much of that as we can and if possible we try to leave the day free for talking to people and our customers. We have a steady flow of people coming in so the day turns into a bit of an event. Noon is when we start to get really busy, especially on Saturdays. We have artists and fashion designers popping in, we might have musicians playing or artists painting and they're mixing with all our customers which creates a nice buzz. It's very relaxed and social and some of the artists have met each other through here and then gone on to collaborate on different projects. Mum makes sandwiches for lunch, mozzarella and tomato are my favourite at the moment. When Susi Henson from Nottingham's Eternal Spirits is in town she kidnaps me and she often takes me to Antenna, if not there we'll go to Nottingham Castle and I also really like the Walk Cafe.

Photo by David 'Dwyz' Wayman
We also have lots of events happening live in the window and filling the window with activity attracts so much attention as people are so used to walking past a static window display. Every time we have anything like the fashion show we did recently or even if it's just a local artist doing a bit of painting people will stop and watch and take loads of photos. It's also wonderful to draw people across the street, that's kind of magical. So many retailers decide what you want and push you towards it but here you can be curious, come down the stairs into the shop and decide what you like. Every day is different and that's what's really lovely, you never know who's going to walk in, sometimes we'll be sitting here and by the end of the day we'll be working on the most exciting project you could ever dream of. Projects we're working on include a small piece of bespoke furniture, one of our artists is working on a winged mermaids piece and we also work with a local weaver who weaves everything individually so every garment is unique and tailored exactly to each customer. And in the midst of all that we're Tweeting, meeting with clients and connecting people to people so that the artists are directly contacting their customers. So we spend time having crazy ideas and making them happen!

Photo by David 'Dwyz' Wayman
The shop closes at 5 o' clock and whoever is around comes along for a drink after work. I might go to Waltons, sometimes it'll just be me and mum and sometimes it'll be everybody and it'll turn into a bit of a mad one. There's a lot of networking and collaboration that goes on after hours. I don't cook so much, it varies really, I'm good at beans on toast! I'm so focused on things we're doing I've forgotten to learn things like cooking. After work in the evening we'll get back to whatever projects we're currently working on. If I do go out in the evening, The Victoria in Beeston is really nice, sometimes I'll go to Rock City at the weekends and Nottingham Contemporary is also very nice in the evenings.  Frequently the other creatives will have events and launches on so we'll go along to support those. Apart from coming to the shop and our free events, everyone can also follow what we're doing on Facebook and Twitter and we're also working on our new online shop. I go to bed between midnight and 1am, I either sleep really well or not at all. I think it's all the creative stuff just going on in my head!

You can find out more about The Davenport Shop Of Originality and all their events at

Photo by David 'Dwyz' Wayman

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