Why are you so passionate about supporting British designer makers and why does buying British matter?
The seed was sown in 2004 during a visit to a big London event where I was alarmed by the sheer volume of poor quality products imported from overseas, many likely to end up in landfill within a short time. Already an avid recycler for nearly a decade, I was keenly aware of the impact humans were having on the planet and inevitably the future of humankind. So, already environmentally driven and aware that British made products are often better quality, made without cruelty to animals and by adults paid a regulated living wage, I was already thinkng that if we, as a nation, could reduce our carbon footprint by buying better and buying British, this would ultimately save on resources and waste whilst also preserving what is left of our historic manufacturing base, heritage and craft skills and ensuring their future.
We saw a surge of support for independent British brands during lockdown, what would you say to customers now lockdown is easing?
The 'buy local' campaign has certainly gained impetus and our business is very much part of buying local. The environmental crisis has not gone away during COVID-19. If anything, the use of disposable PPE, latex gloves and masks and the extensive use of hand sanitiser in plastic bottles is adding to the burden. We all need to stop buying cheap, throwaway goods. I know it is difficult for those on low incomes and our social welfare system is key to this too, but we all need to act wiser, not just think it.
What do you love about Battle?
On 14 October 1066 this area witnessed the most celebrated confrontation to take place on English soil - the Battle of Hastings, an event so significant it completely changed the course of English history. After the battle, William the Conqueror built Battle Abbey, near the battlefield. This famous English Heritage site draws visitors from all over the world who also visit our charming market town that grew up around Battle Abbey. Its vibrant and thriving community offers a diverse mix of attractions, independent family-run shops, galleries, restaurants and pubs, all waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. Located just 50 miles to the south of London, Battle is the designated High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is one of Lonely Planet's 'Top Ten Hidden Gems of Europe'.
Tell us about BRITISH Design BRITISH Made...
As you make your approach on the High Street you might hear the tinkle of great British music, anything from traditional Jazz to more contemporary singer-songwriters. As you enter, the fragrant scent hits you - described on TripAdvisor as 'amazing'. There's always something new and fresh to discover - a delight for all the senses! Before lockdown, you might have been lucky to find us on a tasting day and children would head straight for the craft corner, but Government guidelines mean we have to stop these activities for now. The store is pushchair and wheelchair friendly and dogs are welcome on a lead. Seeing everyone enjoying the full customer experience and leaving with a smile makes my day a pleasurable one.
Can you reassure customers who are nervous about shopping?
We are doing everying to protect our customers and staff. Every day before opening, we follow a rigorous cleaning programme (it has become my daily workout!). Staff wear masks in the shop and regularly wash their hands and apply sanitiser. We also have a laminated glass screen at point of sale, two metre markings on the floor, a one-way system and numbers are limited to two households. Our door is always open to encourage air circulation, all customers wear a mask and use sanitiser to protect each other and our stock. We encourage card only payments.
What's your favourite British food?
I have simple tastes: fresh, organic vegetables from a fortnightly local community vegetable box scheme with a few home-grown vegetables thrown in; roasted in British rapeseed oil and flavoured with any combination of garlic, lemons, chillies, ginger or fresh herbs from my garden; all the juices soaked up by a bed of lentils (sadly not grown in the UK due to climate), slow cooked with lots of garlic.
You can see the Roundabout & Knatty Knitters feature in Battle until 9 September - more details here.