Interior designer and toy seller join forces
An interior designer and retailer from St George has teamed up with a children's clothes and toy seller in a Hamilton city Christmas pop-up store.
Gregory Nelmes's Gregory Nelmes Home and Jennifer Page's Practically Perfect have joined forces to sell their wares in Washington Mall over the festive season.
Mr Nelmes said: “I was looking at the market in terms of the uptick — we're out of the recession — and getting excited about that.
“I looked at St George's and wondered what the traffic was like in Hamilton and we decided to do the pop-up. There was space in Hamilton and the landlords were open to this.”
Mr Nelmes, who owns Gregory Nelmes Home for retail and Gregory Nelmes Interior Design for bespoke consultancy work in Duke of York Street in the old town, specialises remodelled and updated classic furniture, as well as selling brand-new modern pieces, artwork and other home furnishings.
Ms Page, who has a family background in the retail business, worked in the corporate world for years, but has struck out on her own account with the exclusive rights to the English Powell Craft range of children's clothing and toys in Bermuda — a high-quality range with a traditional feel.
Mr Nelmes said that the two would gauge business over the festive period with a view to taking a longer lease on the premises, located on the walkway off Church Street.
He added: “Opening a pop-up cuts the risk compared to signing a year or a two-year risk. There is an option for a longer-term contract if it's successful.”
Mr Nelmes said: “We're happy to see the foot traffic in Hamilton and people are coming in — we've had comparable sales in our first week compared to St George's and hopefully things will get even better as Christmas approaches.”
He added that having a shop window in the city was also a boost for his design consultancy business.
Mr Nelmes said: “One thing I like about being in both stores is it gives me such great face time with people you just don't get in an office. You are your own brand and sometimes you are your own best advertisement.”
The store features furniture, including Mr Nelmes signature range of garden furniture, as well as accessories like lamps, mirrors and vases, plus Ms Page's all-natural fibre range of cotton clothing and toys like dolls and teddy bears.
Ms Page said she had sold the Powell Craft range as a vendor at the America's Cup World Series retail village in Hamilton in October — and been impressed by customer reaction.
She added she noticed the Powell Craft range at a trade show she attended in England.
Ms Page said: “It stood out because I love classic, vintage things. It's all cotton and it's what children are all about now. It was refreshing. I love that vintage feel and the teddies are really sweet. Being all cotton means it's good for all seasons and the natural feel is nice for Bermuda. Lot's of children's clothes have lots of chemicals in them and they irritate children's skin.
“The Powell Craft range of dolls is hand made and all the clothing is hand-finished.”
The range features clothing and toys with a nautical feel and classic British images like Buckingham Palace-style guardsmen in red tunics and bearskin headgear. Ms Page, although she worked in the corporate world for the last 20 years, has a retailing background as her parents owned a flower shop in Reid Street for many years.
She said: “I love interacting with customers and if this is a success, it would be longer term. That would be the ideal plan.”
Award-winning Mr Nelmes founded his business in St George almost exactly three years ago.
He worked for Island architectural and design firms before moving to Atlanta, where he created the interiors of large office spaces for news station CNN and associate firm Turner Properties for five years before returning to Bermuda in 2009.
Mr Nelmes can take on large offices, to a single kitchen or bathroom or entire hose for those without the time or inclination to tackle it themselves.
He and Ms Page, a client of his, also from St George's, discovered they both thinking about testing the waters in Hamilton and decided to set up shop together.
Mr Nelmes said: “A lot of her things have a nautical theme which fits in with my things and the America's Cup too.
“They're really well made and traditional.”