Celebrities are loving the handmade furniture from this independent designer in Hampshire
- Credit: Still and Bloom
Hampshire-based furniture company Still and Bloom’s Frankie Fisher tells us about their pandemic-born business, celebrity clients, and the power of social media…
While in lockdown, many of us have taken the opportunity to redecorate our homes. The pandemic has also allowed us to reassess where we shop for these pieces...supporting local businesses wherever we can.
One of these is Still and Bloom – a company born out of the pandemic, but which has thrived in spite of it. Frankie Fisher helps her husband Nick Fisher run the unique furniture and interior décor design service. ‘Nick originally did commercial furniture for pub makeovers and hotel bedrooms, but with the pubs and hospitality industry being hammered, nobody was thinking about buying new furniture,’ she says. ‘So, we were there in our slippers and had to sit down and work out another plan. He said he could probably make things for people's homes, with everybody being there more and wanting to make theirs look nice.’
Originally the start was quite slow, but with the help of platforms such as Instagram and Etsy, Still and Bloom's been able to grow. ‘People's attitudes seem to have changed towards independents in the pandemic – I think people are a bit more open now to exploring small businesses,’ she says. ‘I think they quite like the fact that they know that when they buy from us, the money goes into our pockets. We’re a small family with two kids, and I think people like supporting that.’
Being able to use social channels has also helped Still and Bloom connect with customers, allowing for a bespoke shopping experience. ‘We clearly are offering something that you can't get in a lot of places, and for instance, with Instagram people can DM us any time and ask what colours we can do or if we can customise the size to them,’ Frankie tells us.
‘You also need to be social on it – I don't think you can just post a picture of your product and expect it to do well, so you have to be willing to be part of the conversation.’ This is something Frankie particularly enjoys. ‘Especially this last year, not being able to see my family, going online and chatting to people about their homes and their style, things that I'm really interested in, has been brilliant fun.’
The beautiful pieces have caught the eye of celebrities, and one Love Island star even helped catapult Still and Bloom to new levels of fame. ‘It was the most amazing thing, but also felt very bizarre in some ways. One Tuesday night one of our followers direct messaged us and said that they were sure Olivia Bowen bought something from us,’ Frankie says. ‘We didn’t believe it, but double checked with the orders and looked on her Instagram. What Olivia did for us was almost life-changing – she tagged us in the post and we got over 1,000 followers in two hours.’
After the phone eventually stopped buzzing off the table, they soon realised the weight this had in terms of gaining new customers. ‘It was really exciting for social media to have that power over our small business. Then Justin Rose, who's one of the top golfers in the world, started following us, and we DM'd him and said thank you for following us,’ she says. ‘He messaged back and was said that he’s moving back to Hampshire soon and to give him a shout then as he wanted to buy things from us, which is amazing!’ Since this, they have also created a bespoke dining table for Olivia’s fellow Love Island alumnus Malin Anderson.
‘Social media is almost like word of mouth but intensified. Instagram particularly is a great platform, because people do just review things all the time, and customers tag us in their post then others will get in touch off the back of that.’
If you’re reading this and are thinking about purchasing a Still and Bloom table for yourself, there are plenty of options to choose from. Bestsellers include the bedside table and coffee table, which can be customised for your tastes. Whatever you choose, it’s sure to be a unique and chic addition to your home. ‘We try not to rely on what is trendy, but what is timeless, and we think that is quite special about our pieces, as well as the fact that everything is handmade and that the timber and wood is locally sourced,’ Frankie says. ‘Nick pours his heart and soul into picking the right pieces of wood to go into the pieces. Every single item we make is different and it's beautiful, trophy wood that looks great in people's homes.’
In terms of the future, the couple are interested to see how it will pan out. ‘We've only ever known this business in a pandemic with shops being closed and people spending more time online and on Instagram, so we will see if it stays as busy as it has been,’ Frankie tells us.
‘We hope we've done enough to establish a good clientele base, and we’d like to get a bit bigger. But we're very happy now with making lovely things and making sure people are happy with what they have bought from us.’
Find out more about Still and Bloom on its website stillandbloom.co.uk and Instagram page