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LOCAL RETAILERS ON WHY THE KING’S ROAD IS SPECIAL AT CHRISTMAS

Christmas on the King’s Road has got even more personal this year. The Resident speaks to eight retailers about why the offering here is so different from anywhere else

Words: Mark Kebble

Osborne and Little

Dee Bull on the showroom that has long been a fixture on the King’s Road

What do you think will make you stand out this Christmas?
Our window display and our participation in the festive events being organised in conjunction with many of our fellow King’s Road retailers.

What’s the Christmas spirit like in your own store?
The staff here LOVE Christmas. As our products are not Christmas specific, we tend to decorate our store later than many others. I think this builds anticipation, so we’re not jaded or ‘Christmassed Out’ by December. We make sure we’re playing a good mix of Christmas and non-Christmas music so people don’t get bored with the
same sounds.

If you had to select one must-buy item from you, what would it be and why?
Relating to Christmas, it would probably be our ready-made cushions. They make great gifts that aren’t too obvious and I think they pass the ‘present squeeze’ test!

Other than your own location, describe your perfect King’s Road day?
If I were lucky enough to have a day off, a coffee with something naughty from Beaufort House would give it a kick start. Shopping (both window and real) would be broken up with lunch at OKA or Rabbit. A stroll through the Chelsea Farmer’s Market would be a must and would include the Chelsea Gardener with a gelato from ‘Dri Dri’, followed by more shopping! I would also try to fit in some tranquil time at The Physic Garden….
osborneandlittle.com

Dee Bull of Osborne & Little, which has long been a fixture on the King’s Road

Dee Bull of Osborne & Little, which has long been a fixture on the King’s Road

Peter Jones

Lee Mathias, Operations Manager Home, on that John Lewis Christmas advert

Is Christmas always an exciting time for you?
I LOVE Christmas! There is the most fantastic buzz at Peter Jones during the festive season. Once we launch our Christmas shop my fantastic visual merchandising team transform the entire shop over night and dress our windows that showcase such beautiful products and really brings Christmas to life.

What do you think will make you stand out this Christmas?
I always love our Christmas advert – every year it is such a big event when it is revealed. I also want to inspire our customers with amazing store experience, innovative products and deliver fantastic service.

If you had to select one must-buy item from you, what would it be and why?
I absolutely love the designer Tom Dixon and have my eye on the Tank Whiskey decanter. Another favourite and a great gift is Tom Ford aftershave for men.

How would you sum up the Christmas spirit along the King’s Road?
Absolutely magical. I love arriving at Sloane Square and seeing the beautiful lights. Truly inspiring.
johnlewis.com

Lee Mathias, Operations Manager Home, at Peter Jones, loves it when the John Lewis Christmas advert is revealed

Lee Mathias, Operations Manager Home, at Peter Jones

AntikBar

Kirill Kalinin Kirill Kalinin on why original vintage posters offer something unique

Is Christmas always an exciting time for you?
The build up to Christmas is always busy for us. Posters are ideal for someone looking to give something more memorable and special. They can be tailored to a person’s interest; for example, a favourite film, holiday destination, sport or as a fun gift relating to their job or hobby, and we get quite a lot of orders.

What do you think will make you stand out this Christmas?
We are putting together a winter related poster exhibition – Let It Snow – at our gallery opening in November, which should generate some seasonal interest. A lot of the posters that will be on display are from the 1930s-50s and show a glam side to winter travel.

If you had to select one must-buy item from you, what would it be and why?
We have nearly 2,000 unique original posters in stock and it would be challenging to pick only one. My personal favourite at the moment is a fun Guinness poster – Guinness When You’re Tired – featuring a pint of Guinness sitting with hands crossed and a big smile on the creamy foam. It always makes me smile.

If you had three wishes this Christmas what would they be? It would be nice to have a bit of snow (but not too much). No disruptions to the public transport would be a bonus. Plenty of festive R&R with the family after the Christmas rush.
antikbar.co.uk

Green & Stone

Hester Baldwin on the family business with the special approach

Is Christmas always an exciting time for you?
As long as the customers and staff keep the festive cheer high, it is without a doubt one of my favourite parts of the year. That is not to disregard the chaos that inevitably comes as the days count down and I can only speak of my own experience, but I love helping people find and create the perfect gift.

What do you think will make you stand out this Christmas?
There are very few retailers like us that have continued trading in an old fashioned sense. We might appear slow and archaic, but the attention to detail and the care we take with customer queries and the satisfaction that ensues for both parties are qualities that can’t be faked. However, being well renowned in the area for being ‘the art shop’ does spark some fear in me that people will assume we are just an art shop. I love to see reactions when people venture into the back of the shop where we have antiques, or children’s faces when they see the craft room.

If you had to select one must-buy item from you, what would it be and why?
My particular favourite would be the antique glasses. I love the hand blown nature and sturdy thickness in the absinthe glasses or the delicate finesse of the champagne bowls. Added to that innate beauty they are all at least 120 years old.
greenandstone.com

Marks and Spencer

Zoran Koprivica, Store Manager, on how a large business still has the personal touch

Is Christmas always an exciting time for you?
Personally, Christmas is always a magical time for me. In M&S we call this time the Golden Quarter, with the number of new products on foods and clothing making it really exciting. Seeing both regular and occasional customers in my shop buying Christmas products and giving them great service, as well as having happy staff, is an exciting time.

What do you think will make you stand out this Christmas?
Our famous customer food to order, which is bigger and better than ever with over 50 exciting new lines this year.

If you had to select one must-buy item from you, what would it be and why?
This is tough one, as in foods there are over 300 new products from chocolates to super food this Christmas. In clothing & home it also hard to choose from beautiful cashmere to half price deals on beauty every week. But if I had to choose one thing, it would be the beauty advent calendar worth £250, which you can buy for £30. This product is coming to stores in November. I have already reserved one for my wife!
marksandspencer.com

Zoran Koprivica, Store Manager, makes sure a large business like M&S still offers the personal touch

Zoran Koprivica, Store Manager, makes sure a large business like M&S still offers the personal touch

Chelsea Physic Garden

Sue Medway, Director & Curator, on the local significance of the gardens

What do you think will make you stand out this Christmas?
Gifts you genuinely can’t buy anywhere else. Many of our products are produced by us, from British craftsmen and only available at the Physic Garden. We are also the antithesis to the High Street experience; we offer you a tranquil escape, it’s rarely that crowded this time of year, you have an opportunity to look round the Garden free of charge when you are here, and the Tangerine Dream are serving delicious freshly prepared lunches.

What’s the Christmas spirit like at the Garden?
The Garden has a theme each year that is woven through all of our
activities, from our programme of lectures, to the schools programme; influencing seasonal planting and into retail product. This year it is Scent and so we have wonderful scents wafting round, in products, from the café kitchens and from winter flowering plants in the Garden.

If you had to select one must-buy item from you, what would it be and why?
Our cushion covers. The fabric has been woven especially for us from an historic print of the Garden. They come in either soft grey or green, which would match my home colour scheme exactly. My problem is I want a set of grey for the house and green to go with my new garden furniture for the summer – indulgent!

If you had three wishes this Christmas what would they be?
That the staff here have a good break after a great year’s work and come back refreshed in the New Year. That I co-ordinate everything onto the table for the right time and all my guests enjoy Christmas lunch. That we get down to the seafront for some lovely
long walks.
chelseaphysicgarden.co.uk

Triyoga

Hanna Wroblewski and Laura Whiting on enjoying a more peaceful Christmas

What do you think will make you stand out this Christmas?
The King’s Road has plenty of wonderful of shops and restaurants; however as a yoga studio our offering is a little different. We provide a tranquil space for the Chelsea community to enjoy yoga, Pilates and treatments and much more. People can relax and unwind and focus on their wellbeing during the festive season.

What’s the Christmas spirit like at triyoga?
The Christmas spirit comes from our wonderful centre team and all the teachers, therapists and students who make triyoga so special. It’s an ideal time of year to show each other how grateful we are for making triyoga Chelsea such a great space to work and practice.

If you had to select one must-buy item from you, what would it be and why?
We offer special class passes for the month of December, so our one must-buy item would be one of these special offers (they’ll be on sale from 1 December). This time of year can be stressful so it’s nice to prioritise some time on your yoga mat.
triyoga.co.uk

Hanna Wroblewski and Laura Whiting of Triyoga are hoping for a more zen Christmas

Hanna Wroblewski and Laura Whiting are hoping for a more zen Christmas

Worlds End Bookshop

Giles Lyon on why a good book is still the best gift

What do you think will make you stand out this Christmas?
Our shop decorations will be better than ever. But in all honesty, a book makes a beautiful and unique present that will last a lifetime. A second-hand book not only looks stunning, but also holds within its covers the best of human thought with a highly personal individual history that can move and seduce the reader.

What’s the Christmas spirit like in your own store?
We always do a little decorating – of course on a book theme – in order to take advantage of the Christmas spirit. We can guarantee that Christmas music will be on for the entire month of December, and our friendly Christmas book elves are on hand with a smile and recommendations for the trickiest people on your list.

If you had to select one must-buy item from you, what would it be and why?
A gorgeous, leather-bound copy of the Compleat Angler. This bedrock title of the English language appeals to everyone, not just fisherman, and this particular edition is absolutely stunning.
worlds-end-bookshop.co.uk


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