Interview Contact/Role: Gemma Kitchener Owner/Designer/Maker of Gemsville
Instagram : http://www.instagram.com/gemsville
Markets: Illustrations, homewares and footwear
Modern Retail talks to Gemma Kitchener, Owner and designer of Gemsville, where you can find bespoke and customised canvas sneakers to fit your personality, mood or outfit. A unique and personal gift for someone or yourself!
MR: How would you sum up your target customer?
GK: My target audience is mainly women in their 20’s-40’s, but the actual recipients of my shoes are from all walks of life. A lot of customers are buying as a gift so I get asked to make kids shoes and men’s too. Being custom designed means that I can create to nearly any idea or brief, that’s part of the reason why I love what I do so much. I get such a vast array of requests from my personal favourite pet portraits right though the spectrum to unicorns or vampires. Everyday day is different just like each illustration or pair of shoes I make.
MR: Why should people shop with you?
GK: People should shop with me if they are looking for something a bit different, I create illustrations and homewares but my main products are my bespoke shoes. Completely custom so you’re guaranteed that no one will ever have the same pair of kicks as you do. I think it’s vital to support small and local artists/businesses. Everytime you buy from someone small you really do make their day. It’s easy to pop to a department store or supermarket and just chuck something in your basket on impulse but to buy from indie businesses shows you’ve taken the time and effort to pick them and that feels ace.
MR: How do you use technology/media/ecommerce to improve your offering?
GK: Technology is key to my business, I do sell at the occasional pop up shop or craft fair but the majority of my sales and business is created online through my various shops ( Etsy, Look Lane etc) I’m also quite active on various social media platforms….Twitter and Instagram are by far my favourite and I love using them not only to promote and share what’s going on with my business but interacting with other makers/businesses in the same boat. It’s an awesome community and everyone is really supportive of each other which is so lovely.
MR: What do you love about your work/business/brand?
GK: Gemsville is great because it is a place where I get to do all the things I love. I can get creative and draw things which is what I’ve always enjoyed doing AND call it my job. The other factor that makes it all the more rewarding is customers feedback. Hearing back from customers who have such lovely things to say about my products, it’s a great indication as to what works, what people like and how I can progress and develop.
MR: What advice would you give to a new retail start-up based on your experience?
GK: If you’ve thought about starting your own business I’d say just go for it, you’ll only spend your days wondering “what if” otherwise. With my business I started up alongside my regular 9-5, a hobby if you like, as time progressed and Gemsville became more popular I reduced my hours until I was luckily enough to be able make it my full time job. It is hard work but if it’s something you love you should stick at it.
Charlotte Lynch, Modern Retail UK