The Shop is Back! : Head & Hands settles back into Walthamstow!
The Head & Hands storefront has been on quite a journey. Its inception was back in summer 2016, starting life in a small incubator space in Walthamstow. I had the keys for just 6 months to test my idea in a mini retail unit. I then developed the online store which I’ve lovingly nurtured and grown over the last 2 years. It then appeared again for brief festive residency at Leyton Yoga in 2017, with lots of pop-ups at markets and fairs in between.
Those who have chatted to me, will know how much I miss my physical store and that I love nothing more than having a home to share my collection of carefully curated products; for people to browse, touch, and learn about. Having a home for Head & Hands also gives me the valuable opportunity to have lovely conversations with my customers face-to-face – my favourite part. It’s something I’ve been manifesting ever since I handed back my shop keys, and at last, the universe delivered!
I met Caroline initially as a curious customer in my incubator space at Central Parade. Back then, we had a fleeting chat about our shared far-off dreams of quitting our jobs to become shopkeepers. Our paths crossed again several times, both selling our wares at chilly outdoor Christmas markets and setting up our stalls at local gift fairs. In January 2018, I was super excited to find that a year later, Caroline had indeed quit her job to open The Every Space in her very own incubator unit in Central Parade! Her cute little shop was packed full of eclectic gifts, cards and children’s toys and was received really well in the neighbourhood. When Caroline came to the end of her 6 month tenancy there, she was keen to continue what she had started - so we met up to see if there was any way we might join forces to realise our Walthamstow shop dreams together. Over many cups of tea, some sketching and number crunching, I realised that unfortunately I wasn’t in a position at that time to take on a full-sized shop unit. But soon after viewing a run-down, overpriced shop unit and feeling a little deflated, I got an excited message from Caroline - she had found the shop of dreams! She was opening up The Every Space in Walthamstow in just 5 weeks time and invited Head & Hands to be a part of it! It was such a joy to be asked, and I am so grateful to Caroline for sharing her vision with me and others.
Walthamstow has a special place in my heart, it being where the Head & Hands journey began and my home for the past 5 years. It’s a haven of great places including the gallery of 1800’s socialist designer, William Morris, the neon wonderland that is God’s Own Junkyard, and not forgetting the longest outdoor market in Europe!
The Every Space’s shiny new full sized shop is part of Central Parade in Walthamstow, East London. And what’s more, it’s the same shopping arcade where both of our businesses started out in mini incubator units!
This revived parade was set up by Waltham Forest Council in conjunction with social enterprise Meanwhile Space to bring disused local buildings into better use. A short stroll from the sourdough bakery, Today Bread, and Central Parade’s busy freelancer co-working space ; this charming gift and plant shop takes you on a journey through independent and local business owners’ hearts and minds. Not only does The Every Space stock it’s own collection of quirky gifts, kids’ books, cool pins, cards, plants and even intriguing moss balls in mason jars, but Caroline has also invited other independent female owned businesses to complement her collection. From Flowers for Your Weekend’s seasonal flower bouquets, to Kindred’s ethically produced slogan tees, and then there’s Head & Hands which naturally feels right at home here.
My little corner of this beautiful store displays Head & Hands’ signature homewares, apothecaries, earthly treasures, and jewellery. Well stocked with your favourite crystals, natural wool weaves, facial oils and signet rings. Some of my most popular items are here for customers to get their mitts on including Incausa hand pressed palo santo incense, sage smudge wands, A Folk Tale embroidered polish wool slippers, and the magical Mama Moon candles.
For now, I will continue to hold my workshops at Holdspace in Angel, but we are in discussions about bringing the healing magic of slow crafts into the store for small gatherings and maybe head massage will be back too – so watch this space!
The shop launch party was I was while I was away in New York. If you missed the launch too, fear not there will be more gatherings and launches of exciting things coming soon to The Every Space!
While I was away, I sent Head & Hands assistant writer Kim along to take a look and do a little interview with Caroline.
It was a wet dreary Saturday, but nothing could dampen my excitement (I think the lemon drizzle cake and prosecco on hand helped too). It’s so exciting to see that the Head & Hands treasure chest is back on the high street and Caroline’s vision of a lifestyle and gifting store, with everything under one roof, has been realised.
So Caroline, how does it feel to be back at Central Parade?
It’s great to see our old customers come back to support what we’re doing. We did a soft launch on Wednesday and ever since then we’ve had people come in to say, ‘we’re so glad you’re back here’ and ‘oh look it’s Head & Hands, we’ve missed her’. It just feels right.
How did you come to create The Every Space?
I’m an interior architect, specialising in retail interiors, branding and customer experience. I used to work for a design agency, managing major commercial projects like John Lewis and L’Oreal. Like so many of us, I got to a point where I wasn’t feeling challenged, so I left to figure out what I wanted to do. I always felt connected to retail, so this just organically happened. I had seen so many nice stores that could do well, but weren’t successful because they didn’t understand what the community needed, or they weren’t curating the right products. I just wanted to create something authentic for where I live.
Is it a risk, considering high street shops are shutting down as more people shop online?
I’m a real believer in the high street. Despite the convenience of online retail, people absolutely love shops and they want to see and touch products. They want things that have been selected, that are unique. I also feel that in Walthamstow there is a gap for good gifting. Things for every day, local people; a nice place to come and enjoy.
How do you select your products?
I really wanted to work with Head & Hands as I love the fact that time is taken to source these beautiful products. The ethos behind the brand being to slow down really resonates with me and customers respond well to it.
A lot of the products I source are chosen because people will get something back from it. Everything has a purpose or a story behind it. As I’ve gone through the process of building my business over the last year and a half, I’ve worked to refine my range and most what I’m selling is from people who make their own products and have their own small businesses. People are really interested in that. They are making more mindful choices; considering what’s good for the body, better for the planet and how we can connect with the community. I hope they come here because we’re local and we’re doing this for them.
Written by Kim Watson
Head & Hands is now a part of The Every Space in Walthamstow. The store brings together a diverse mix of gifts, flowers, clothing and every day homewares, books and wellbeing products in the heart of Walthamstow.
Find us at Incubator 1, 6-10 Central Parade, London E17 4RT
You can now also Click & Collect on online orders from the store! Just choose ‘collect from Everyspace’ at the shipping stage of your order.
Tuesday - Friday 10-5