karin dunbar owner of stuff and co shop packing up some orders at the till area

Introduce yourself and your store.
My name is Karin Dunbar and I opened my shop Stuff & Co 4 years ago. I am a Graphic Designer whose love of shops came through packaging design and visiting some amazing places. I also love rescuing old buildings which is how my shop came about when I spotted an unloved empty Grade II listed shop and flat in my home town and I decided I wanted to create a beautiful space for lovers of shopping.

Is there a story behind the name?
I have a lot of ‘Stuff’. They are all beautiful useful things but there is a lot of it so my partner suggested stuff would be a good name. It actually works quite well – as product ranges – creative stuff, stuff to wear etc. I even created a tote bag for our customers that says ‘A Bag of Stuff’.

How long have you been doing this?
My grandparents had a cigar shop in Holland and I would spend  afternoons with my ‘Oma’ in there watching her behind the counter. I always wanted to have a shop and when I grew up I fell in love with shopping. The space, the smells, the way things were laid out. I had a small shop in 2005 while still working full time in London designing which was hard work. Now I’m a shopkeeper full time.

Best moment of store life so far?
When someone says it’s their favourite store. (Or when Howard Donald from Take That peers in!)

How did you come across Text From A Friend?
I found Text From A Friend at a Trade Fair and loved the simplicity of the text. So beautifully crafted – you can tell she’s a designer.

What's your favourite Text From A Friend product?
The rude cards – I was a bit nervous putting them out but everyone loves them. Also the song lyrics.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
An astronaut, an archaeologist, a radiographer (?!) an air hostess. Then my mum gave me a book called ‘Careers for Girls’ when I was 13 and I found the words Graphic Designer. That was it.

What advice would you give your younger self?
Never believe a word a man says.

When you get time off, what do you do?
Sleep – it’s very under rated, meet friends in interesting places to visit shops, I still like to do creative courses – it’s like being back at Art College.

Favourite city/destination to visit?
Amsterdam – I’m half Dutch so it has to be.

What inspires you to buy a maker's product?
It’s a gut feeling. I have to love it so that if I don’t sell any I’m happy to keep them. It’s worked so far as they sell. When I break that rule I’m usually stuck with them.

What do you love most about having the store?
The buying and making it look amazing – it means I get to be creative everyday.

Future plans?
Keep doing what I’m doing. Find new and exciting products.

Top tips for visitors to your city?
Visit West Street where we are – lots of lovely independent shops.

Find Stuff + Co:
Website: Stuff + Co
Instagram: @stuffandcouk
Facebook: stuffandcomidhurst

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