More than once, Skipton has been named the best place to live in Britain. And the North Yorkshire market town just got better with the opening of a new lifestyle shop which I dare say will make folk even prouder of where they live and content with their lot in life.
Maud’s House has been opened by 25-year-old Hattie, who wanted to bring something new to Skipton and give a helping hand to small businesses and young designers.
Hattie has a background in design and illustration and previously worked for branding agencies in Leeds and as a website assistant for fashion brand AQAQ.
She’s been helped by her 26-year-old boyfriend Jonathan, a freelance illustrator working from the couple’s home in Saltaire, which they share with their “crazy” terrier Ralph.
The pair set up their own illustration and design studio, Little Tail, over a year ago, but Hattie has been looking for something else of her own to get her teeth into.
She said: “I’ve always wanted to own my own shop, since working for my cousin at the age of 16, making printed artwork and chatting to the locals, to watching the AQAQ brand grow and develop into what it is today.
“Retail is a world which I love being part of.
“I love the sense of community you can create from having somewhere people want to spend time, sharing products with like-minded people and of course all the interesting people and friends you can make on a day-to-day basis.
Creating a brand
“I decided to create a brand, give it a name, a look and feel. What would it sell? And more importantly, where would it be?
“So Maud’s House was born, named after my great grandmother (and my own middle name), carefully designed by Jonny to represent the shop.
“Location was key. I didn’t want to open a shop in the city. I love the simple, slow life of the country and I wanted to open somewhere where I could settle in for a few years and really feel comfortable spending so much time in.
“We’ve always talked of moving to Skipton and settling down there – Jonny’s home town and my favourite UK market town – so it was a bit of a no brainer.
“For a while our plans were put to one side. Little Tail was getting increasingly busy and finding the right spot in Skipton was nearly impossible with leases being so expensive and business rates sky high.
“But one day I spotted a unit in the 14th century High Corn Mill, previously a vets, on the market for a reasonable price which ticked all the boxes. And here we are – what a whirlwind couple of months it’s been!”
Believing in yourself
The concept of a ‘lifestyle shop’ is completely new to Skipton, says Hattie.
“It is a risk,” she said, “but so far so good. I’ve had some wonderful feedback from the locals who have enjoyed watching something fresh arrive to town.
“It’s good to set yourself apart from the rest and believe in yourself a little to stock products that other people would like. It’s scary putting yourself out there but I’ve found it positive and rewarding so far.
“I carefully curate all the stock myself, sourcing homewares from Denmark and the Netherlands, while predominately supporting UK illustrators and designers.
“It’s really important as small business owners ourselves to support and nurture other small businesses and recent graduate illustrators. We know how difficult it is to get your foot in the door and that extra step up whatever it is might be priceless.”
In the coming weeks Hattie plans to introduce more homewares, prints and books, and the online shop has now gone live.
Need to know:
- Maud’s House, 3 High Corn Mill, Chapel Hill, Skipton, North Yorkshire BD23 1NL
- 01756 799119
- twitter/instagram: @maudshouseltd
- photography by Giles Smith, used with permission