In the competitive world that is The Hambledon, we ask: New York City or National Exhibition Centre? Rob goes to New York for a week of shows; hangs with the fashion crowd; stays in Brooklyn's super nice Carroll Gardens with the lovely Emma and Roger; shops for rare vinyl; visits a very photogenic Coney Island; frequents jazz clubs and pizza parlours and attends parties with the great and the good of menswear. Lucy and Victoria head to the Midlands and Spring Fair for a day of strip lighting, Subway sandwiches and volume gifts. But who found the choicest pieces for the shop? The race is on.
Welcome to SS17 at The Hambledon. We’re calling it Miami Nice. Womenswear, menswear, homeware, it’s all feeling a bit ‘80s coming-of-age summer in a good way; endless sun-soaked days, beach loungers and pool parties. Basically, all the fun without the bad hair and shoulder pads.
Saturated pastels, metallics and strong prints feature across the board in Womenswear. Accessorised with turquoise and yellow Nailmatic, a rainbow of plastic baskets by Sun Jellies, and all kinds of ban.do attitude. Meri Meri and Rice flood Homeware with summer colour and everything to get a party started. And the fun and colour carries on down to Menswear too with pastel Ts, shorts and beach accessories. Game of frisbee anyone?
So while we were stocking up on boxes of tissues and unpacking umpteen deliveries last week, Rob was hopping on a plane to NYC to hunt down exciting new things for AW17. We watched his Instagram feed with envy - record shopping in Brooklyn, nights out at the Blue Note Jazz Club, all-American diner breakfasts, buying appointmenets in trendy Hell’s Kitchen showrooms - but bless him, he saved the best pics just for us: Coney Island on a beautiful and deserted winter's day. Thanks Rob!
2016 was the quite the year for us with, thankfully, many more highs than lows. After the craziness of Christmas and THE sale, we took a moment to look back on the past 12 months and remind ourselves of what happened in the world of The Hambledon.
We did it! Independent Retailer of the Year at the 2016 Drapers Independents Awards. And Best Lifestyle Independent to boot. Announced at a special celebratory lunch in London on Wednesday, with Victoria, Lucy, Rob and Finn there to pick up the gongs. (Rob promptly broke one but ducked out of the ceremony to a bicycle repair shop over the road and got it fixed). In the world of fashion retailing, Drapers is the oracle and these the most coveted industry awards there are, so we couldn’t be more thrilled. Big smiles all round, and huge thanks to all our lovely customers, suppliers and staff who make it all happen.
If the hearts, thumbs up and smiley faces are anything to go by then jolly pictures of our partywares are a good thing. And anything dog-related is even better. In fact, it doesn’t get any better than a real-live dog, all big eyes and wagging tail. Thumbs up, smiley faces, heart, heart, heart.
We hear you. And so it occurred to us that there might actually be one thing better than a cute dog and that's a lot of cute dogs having a party.
So Jack and Jackson came over and Burt and Wyatt were coaxed downstairs from Lucy’s flat over the shop, and we got our party on, Meri Meri style. Up went the banners, on went the party hats, the superhero masks and unicorn horns and out came the doggy biscuits. Entertainment in the form of party plates and cups, perfect for knocking over and chewing on. Hold down that heart button.
There’s this great new place in cyberspace we’re hanging out these days. Trouva, which translates as ‘a lucky find’, is an online community of the UK’s best bricks and mortar independents; a place to shop an edited selection of all our wares in one place.
It's a best of the best situation. We shopkeepers search high and low to fill our stores with “just the good stuff," as we like to say here at The Hambledon, and the talented Trouva team whittle the wares down and bring all the really good stuff together on their website.
So here we are, with a nice new shopfront, a sort of virtual home from home, right next door to lots of lovely people doing their own independent thing. It’s a good place to be. Even better now we’ve just been nominated for Best Gift & Lifestyle Boutique in their first ever Trouva Boutique Awards. Wish us luck. And come and say hello. Over here.
Lucy did all the prep but I'm afraid she bailed on the sale itself because she's a sensitive soul and it was c...flippin' ...razy. Thank you one and all for braving the chaos and seeking out the bargains. It was fun while it lasted. But don't expect another one soon. You've cleaned us out.