As The Interior Port on Albert Road is set to open, I caught up with Heather to talk about the new shop, what customers can expect and what it is like opening your own independent business on an iconic road.
Having known Heather for a long time through SF, it has been nice to see her plans grow and how it has all come to fruition. Working on Heather Leather Crafts with her mum Pauline and developing ideas together led to the decisions being made now. I asked Heather what people can expect from the new interior shop and she said, “The Interior Port is for people who love home interiors, people who miss John Lewis and Debenhams and that strolling in for gifts and home accessories. I’ve always said my ideal customer is… well me really! Someone who doesn’t necessarily earn a lot but likes their home to look nice. Someone that can appreciate the finer things in life… but has to think about a budget.”
Speaking of the new creative space that is about to open, Heather said this shop will create a job for both her and her mum but will also be an outlet for independent artists, photographers and crafters. Loving the idea of collaborations with everyday people, you really pick up on the feeling of community and being inclusive with the mum-and-daughter team. Heather said, “We want a shop where people can come into, browse and leave with a gift for a loved one or a little treat for themselves and also support local makers and creative go-getters.”
There will be two shop windows with ideas around having one of the windows as maybe a monthly-themed window display that can focus on one particular crafter, maker or photographer. Showcasing what we have here in Southsea in the way of independent creatives is something that both Heather and Pauline are passionate about.
Having raised part of the money for the shop from a recent crowdfund which the duo are grateful for, means the look and feel of the shop is important but has also been created on a budget. Bringing on board friends that can help build units from scratch has been a huge help and the two women business owners have said they want a bright and friendly space that is both welcoming and not pretentious.
On a more personal note, Heather explained that the Albert Road shop that resides next to Wines By The Sea will be so much more than just a shop. It will be the start of an independent bright future. Having never felt very academic but always creative means Heather has always had to work jobs that don’t necessarily pay very well in retail and hospitality but have given her tons of experience and drive. Being 35 now has allowed her to stop and take stock of her life and put a huge focus on her abilities and strive for a more fulfilling creative career. Loving the chance to design her own products is something that has been a vision for a long time, collaborating and having custom ceramics made alongside cushion ideas that can wow any interior fan has been an exciting point of the process.
Make sure to look out over the coming weeks to see the curated premises, filled with local independent creatives work with jewellery from Spott and Herbert who is a fab regular at the Love Southsea market as well as Lyndon Candles. Leather Heather will still play a part in the interior space with a chance to offer more bespoke options for clients. I hope you will join me in wishing Heather and Pauline all the best in the opening of the shop and look out for the launch date and opening of the corner spot on the fiercely independent stretch!