Hi Natalie! Please tell everyone a bit about yourself and introduce your online shop to our readers.
Hello, I’m Natalie and I live in East Lothian with my husband, two children and dog, Bertie.
In September 2020, I launched Village Green an online homewares and lifestyle shop specialising in handmade practical items for the home and individual, created by skilled craftspeople living locally.
What was it that made you start your own business, what is your inspiration?
I love discovering independent shops and seek them out when I’m on holiday or visiting a new area. I particularly like finding products that are of their place. It got me thinking where I could find these products with provenance in the Lothians and because I couldn’t find the shop that I was looking for, I created it.
Where about in Scotland are you located, and what’s it like in your community? Are there many other small businesses nearby?
Village Green is based in East Lothian where the majority of the makers also live, running their own small businesses. One of the best things about setting up the business is getting to meet and work with lovely people. The makers I approached were so encouraging and enthusiastic about the idea. They’ve been really helpful and kind to me in figuring out how to run a business for the first time. I’ve felt so welcomed and encouraged.
There are a few other businesses that have launched in the last year, some like Raven Botanicals and flasket which have become part of the offerings at Village Green. Social media has been a wonderful way to connect to one another particularly over the last year. The local online community have been great and many other local businesses have been cheerleading our successes.
What type of products do you sell in your shop, and do you have any unique offerings that you would like to share?
We stock handcrafted products for the home and individual.
The product range is growing all the time but a few of the products are award-winning skincare products, room mists from the UK’s first Wildlife Certified enterprise, incense burners made from foraged wild clay, locally grown willow creations and lots more.
We’ve recently commissioned some products that will be exclusively available through Village Green so watch this space.
What’s next for your business? Do you have any exciting plans or changes in place, now that Scotland is gradually opening up again?
You’re one of the first to know but I’ve recently received confirmation that we’ll be part of the Artisans Hub at Fringe by the Sea in North Berwick in August 2021.
I’m making plans for Village Green’s 1st birthday in September and really hoping that this will be a pop-up somewhere in East Lothian where we can socialise, meet our makers and connect with the lovely customers who have supported Village Green since launch.
Do you have a certain criteria when sourcing the wonderful products that you stock in your shop?
The criteria that I try to adhere to is that the products are: made locally, created from sustainable materials, handcrafted, useful and beautiful.
The idea from the very beginning was for all the products at Village Green to be an upgrade on the ordinary, creating small everyday moments of delight.
Are the items in your online available worldwide?
We’re only able to deliver within the UK currently but I am looking for a reliable and affordable solution for worldwide shipping. The pressure is on as my Australian in-laws have been asking.
Please share more about the area that you are based, what would you recommend seeing and doing to people visiting?
East Lothian has so much to offer. I’ve lived here nearly 9 years and still get a buzz that I can be on a beach in 15 minutes or in Edinburgh’s city centre in half an hour. There are many beautiful beaches and woodland walks to visit and lots that I’m still discovering.
The beaches of East Lothian are particularly beautiful. Ravenheugh Sands is one of my favourites and there are some super places to stop for a coffee or something more substantial nearby. The views from Drift are spectacular even on the most dreary day and Bostock serves the most delicious breads and pastries.
The woodland walks are excellent too, Binning Woods has become one of our regular walks recently although I love Gifford Community Woodland too, the fact that it’s near my favourite coffee spot Lewis and Clarke is an added bonus.
WHERE CAN WE FIND OUT MORE?