As I walked up the Lillie Road, I thought how blessed we are in England to have such a marvellous antique's trade. Each window made me stop and glare in jealousy and appreciation. If it hadn't been a Monday and many of the shops closed, I would have spent a lot more time lingering. But I was on a mission. My mission was Top Shop, and this week very suspecting guest was Martyn, on half of Puckhaber. I have been a fan of Puckhaber for some time. I've always delighted in perusing their stands at The Decorative Fair and trawling their site. But the best of all is visiting their shop. So a big thank you to Martyn for letting me take up so much of his time.
When did you open Puckhaber?
My Mother, Jackie and I opened Puckhaber, Lillie Rd, 6 years ago but we had previously been sharing a shop a couple of doors down for 3 years. Before that, we sold at the Decorative Fair and through a lifestyle/ homeware shop in Winchester, The Hambledon.
Do you have a favourite piece in the shop at the moment?
My favourite piece at the moment is either the mid-century desk by Heckman or the naval campaign chest of drawers. The desk is very chic! The drawers are housed in a metal carcass and also the provenance is interesting.
The worst thing about being a shopkeeper?
It’s a responsibility to keep the shop open. We also have a shop in Rye that mum manages so I have to go there at least once a week to restock. Our restorers are in Hove and including going to the markets it is difficult to be open every day. However, the Lillie Road is more of a destination for antiques and interiors so we do not have a large passing trade. Also, we have helpful neighbours that will open for me if I can’t be there.
What made you want to have a physical space?
Although the online side of our business has grown significantly we have always had a physical presence somewhere. Our model now is a mix of online and retail. The Rye shop is a busy high street shop, and the Lillie Road is a destination that also acts as a showroom/ gallery for the website. I always photograph the pieces for the website in situ at both shops so the aesthetic is cohesive. Bricks and mortar give the consumer confidence in what we offer. Hopefully, the way we arrange the shops helps our clients imagine the pieces in situ. Also, it’s fun styling both shops, we enjoy the creative element! I don’t think I would enjoy solely running an online business or solely running shops. It keeps everything varied, no week is ever the same.
What is the biggest joy of being a shopkeeper?
Probably when clients respond positively to how we have presented/ styled our pieces. Also it’s important to see our clients face to face. One major drawback of only selling online is that it is harder to establish good relationships with clients if you never meet them.
What made you choose Lillie Road?
We knew many of the Lillie Road dealers from doing the Decorative Fair. We were approached to share a shop and that’s it really. But we were always aware of the Road and what it offered. There’s a fantastic mix of dealers on the Lillie Road and it’s one of the last remaining destinations in London. More than that though it’s a great community and we all look out for each other. Since opening the Rye shop 3 years ago I would find it difficult to run the Lillie Road shop without help every now and then from Jonathan, Jim, George to name a few.
Monday: 10am - 5.30pm*
Tuesday - Friday: 10am - 5.30pm
Saturday: 11am - 5.30pm
Sunday and Bank Holidays: Closed
* intermittent opening