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Birthday celebration is a real page-turner

For The Hambledon, 10 years in business is a milestone. We had our big birthday bash last week for friends, family, customers and suppliers. It was a proper catered party with crazy balloons spilling from every window and we produced a magazine to celebrate.

This was essentially an expensive vanity project, giving us a chance to have a bit of a show-off. But it also proved a valuable opportunity to reflect on what is good about The Hambledon, what is good about shops in general as well as what we have achieved and who has helped us get there.

The most striking thing is that a decade on, we are largely doing the same thing we started out doing. We’ve finessed a few bits here and there: put a new roof on the building, launched a website, opened a separate furniture shop, moved menswear into the
basement, and moved on from the super-stark early days when everyone thought we were closing down by filling the shelves a little more generously. But essentially, we are still obsessed by our original quest to find lovely, unexpected things and sell them to lovely people and to make a shop that is deeply rooted in its place, but has a real interest in the wider world.

The magazine has been a way of drawing together all the different strands that make the business. We featured 10 customers with 10 products they had bought over 10 years. We highlighted new product from suppliers we have loved working with. We had timelines for the history of the site and shop, commissioned illustrators and designers we admire and asked industry figures to comment. It has been a self-indulgent Hambledon
love-in, but I hope we took the opportunity not just to brag but to celebrate everyone who has worked with us and for us and has contributed to the life of our shop.

- Victoria Suffield is the owner of lifestyle retailer The Hambledon in Winchester, Hampshire

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