Shop Local: Maida Vale independent looks forward to reopening ahead of Christmas

Owner Bhavna Boesen at The Brimful Store. Picture: Polly Hancock

Owner Bhavna Boesen at The Brimful Store. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

A Maida Vale lifestyle store is appealing for residents to return to the high street and support independent traders when shops reopen ahead of Christmas.

"Non-essential" shops such as clothes stores are set to reopen. Picture: Polly Hancock

"Non-essential" shops such as clothes stores are set to reopen. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Bhavna Boesen, owner of The Brimful Store in Formosa Street, told the Ham&High that customers flooded back in June for the shop’s first reopening - and that she was hoping for more of the same.

“I hope in December we see people coming back,” Bhavna said.

“We were busier than ever [after the first national lockdown], and it was amazing.

“It’s really got me through this second lockdown, that feeling of being valued.


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“I put everything into this shop, and it’s wonderful that people appreciate it. It makes it all worth it.

“I always wondered if people thought the shop added value to the area, and their support made me realise they really do.”

"I put everything into this shop, and its wonderful that people appreciate it." Picture: Polly Hancock

"I put everything into this shop, and its wonderful that people appreciate it." Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

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Non-essential stores, including lifestyle and clothes shops, are set to reopen when nationwide restrictions are replaced by regional, tiered measures on December 2.

Bhavna, who lives in Maida Vale with her husband and three sons, was originally a make-up artist and canvas painter. She bought her shop in 2008.

“There’s something about small, independent shops that have always appealed to me,” she said.

“I absolutely loved them, and it was always my dream to have my own one day.”

Bhavna lived in Copenhagen before moving to London, which inspired her business’ Scandanavian and bohemian influences.

The lockdown in March gave the owner an opportunity to reassess the shop’s values.

"Theres something about small, independent shops that have always appealed to me." Picture: Polly Hancock

"Theres something about small, independent shops that have always appealed to me." Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

“I realised I hadn’t stopped to think or had a mental break for 12 years,” she said.

“Even though it was hard, it was really good to get some thinking space, go back to the drawing board and think about what I wanted from the shop.

“It made me realise I wanted to be more sustainable and more in line with my beliefs.”

Seven years ago, Bhavna and her family swapped meat for a plant-based diet, which she called an “exciting adventure”.

In an effort to make the shop more environmentally friendly, the Maida Vale trader refocused on “slow-living”; upcycled and vintage products; and working with companies with lower carbon footprints.

She reduced her shop’s stock by a third, which now sells clothes made from the recycled silk of Indian saris.

The business’ name was changed to The Brimful Store, based on Cornershop’s 1997 single Brimful of Asha.

Bhavna said: “They’re an Indian band who made Britain their home, which resonated with me. It was a lightbulb moment, it just made sense.

“Since the rebrand I’ve enjoyed having the shop even more.”

When the shop reopened in June, residents working from home explored the area more and began to appreciate their local shops, Bhavna said.

The second lockdown, however, had been particularly hard, Bhavna said, and she feared that online shopping would take up the bulk of this year’s Christmas trade.

The Ham&High’s Shop Local campaign is designed to highlight the hidden – and not so hidden – gems on our high streets. If you run a shop in our area we should be shouting about, contact our reporter Michael on michael.boniface@archant.co.uk or 07805 403 545

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