Case Study: Hello Home

Case Study: Hello Home

Hello Home is a furniture shop in Staveley. It’s owned by two friends who create unique pieces of furniture by sourcing and re-purposing old, unloved furniture, as well as offering new and vintage furniture and homewares. Reuse is one of the ever important 3 R’s of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – so we’re all for this concept! We spoke to them to find out what inspired Hello Home.

Q. How did Hello Home begin?

We are two friends Sarah and Sam, who own Hello Home. Our life paths have been very similar. We both went to art college and ended up working in the fashion industry, myself (Sam) in fashion design and Sarah in fashion buying.

We had both moved away from Kendal for college, university, and work, and found ourselves returning to Kendal around the same time, which also seemed to be when we were both starting our own families.

After not seeing each other for years, we ended up bumping into each other at a toddlers music group. After lots of days out with the kids, and with the odd night being squeezed in, our plan was hatched.

We were both creative and loved Edmondson’s Furniture Warehouse which was a long-established furniture warehouse in Kendal which sold second hand and new furniture. We decided to rent out a bay together and start Hello Home, selling our upcycled furniture. The rest is history really. We have been trading for about 10 years now. Painting and recovering old furniture, and after lots of enquiries from customers, decided to start offering an upcycling service also. Sarah paints customers own furniture to their requirements, and I do the same with fabrics by recovering customers old armchairs or dining chairs for them.

We would have liked to get a shop together, but couldn’t find anywhere suitable, so Sarah runs the Kirkland shop and paints all her furniture there and I recently found the perfect space for me at The Old Studio in Staveley.

Q. We noticed you have a store in Kendal too, and the shop in Staveley looks lovely and colourful. What drew you to setting up a shop in Staveley Village?  

A. Apart from its amazing position in the beautiful Lake District, Staveley is such a lovely village. It has been somewhere I’ve always known and loved and have come to a lot throughout my life.

Being particularly drawn to its amazing bakery, pubs and cafes, which are all great to go to after a nearby walk, swim or bike ride. It’s a very creative village too with Staveley Yard being the hub. It also has a great community feel with its coffee mornings, repair café and money raising events.

The Staveley community has made me feel very welcome. Since opening my shop here I’ve had so many lovely locals popping in to introduce themselves, wish me luck, and saying how nice it is to have something like Hello Home in Staveley.

Q. What interested you both to start sourcing and repurposing old, unloved furniture? 

A. Sourcing and upcycling old furniture is something we started to do as a way of expressing our personalities in our homes, and creating unique pieces of furniture that we couldn’t find on the high street. This makes for a more interesting, sustainable home, keeping costs down, with the added and main benefit being that it saves furniture from landfill.

Q. Do you have other ways that you try to be sustainable within your business?  

Yes, we’re not perfect, but it is definitely something we both try hard with. When we can, we’ll use recycled fabrics and environmentally-friendly paints.

We buy sustainable furniture and amazing recycled products, from gorgeous rugs to glassware. We use paper bags as well as recycled bubble-wrap and packaging. I try to use leftover bits of fabric from various projects to make doorstops and little zip bags, and I fill my doorstops with my fabric scraps too.

Q. What do your customers say about your approach to upcycling and repurposing? 

A. We get great feedback from our customers who are really pleased to be offered an environmentally-friendly way of shopping for furniture, homeware and soft furnishings from a small local business.

Q. Have you noticed an increased demand in people wanting a more eclectic mix of new and vintage furniture and homeware?

A. Definitely! Customers seem happier than ever to mix up the furniture origins in their homes. Putting mid-century pieces alongside painted pieces, antiques, and new sustainable pieces. People are now used to the term ‘pre-loved’ which has helped them embrace secondhand furniture, which in the past may not have been considered. They are realising that eclectic mixes of furniture can be married together beautifully with colour and texture.

Q. Do you have a favourite second hand/charity shop in South Cumbria that you would recommend?

A. We both love the Age UK Warehouse on Station Road, Kendal. It always has a great selection and variety of stock.

Q. In your opinion, what do they think are the key issues for a village like Staveley to be focusing on to help the environment? 

A. From what I’ve seen, Staveley does seem organised with ways of helping the environment. There are solar panels in Staveley Mill Yard, which I think give back excess energy to the village? There is the litter-picking equipment offered near the Spar shop, the shared book scheme and the Repair Cafe every month and the electric bike scheme! I’m very impressed. But like all communities, there is still a lot to do. After the recent news about all the pollution in the rivers, that could be something to focus on. I think having a strong community definitely helps get everyone onboard with new ideas, and ways of rethinking things, so I think Staveley is doing a really good job so far, and will continue to work hard to do their bit in helping the environment.

Visit Sarah and Sam at 4 Kirkland in Kendal and The Old Studio on Gowan Terrace in Staveley, or visit their website to find out more.