My regular readers will know I have a passion for supporting independent businesses. Crane & Kind opened up in November 2018 in the beautiful seaside town of Sidmouth, East Devon. In fact, my old home town and where I grew up until I left home for the bright lights of Exeter (*giggles).
I had been meaning to get myself over to Sidmouth since Crane & Kind opened but life had got in the way. That was until last week and I am so glad I did. I popped on over on one very blustery Monday afternoon to find out a little more about this family-run beautifully pink lifestyle store.
Sidmouth has changed so much since I was a young girl growing up. Once a town full of independent business with many shops closing on a Sunday. There was also a very old school Thursday early closing which I am sure was very annoying for many at the time. It’s by no means like that now. Big names like M & Co, Fat Face, Seasalt, Joules, Crew and Costa Coffee have moved on to the High Street. Obviously, these bigger companies bring with them new jobs for the locals as well as confidence in the local economy. This can only boost footfall within the town which is a good thing for Sidmothians as well as the many tourists who visit throughout the year. My only concern with bigger companies descending being rent and rate increases for smaller businesses. Of course, small businesses come and go, it’s the cycle of the High Street. I just hope the local council appreciate the value of indies within the town? I know that I want a complete shopping experience when out and about. Yes, I might want to pop into a bigger named store to pick up an essential but I also want to be able to explore the smaller, quirky and individual shops for that special something. Something you may not be able to source elsewhere. What I don’t want is a carbon copy of a town 20 minutes down the road.
Thank goodness that local people like my friends Polly McClachlan and Jemma Lascelles are doing their bit to bring some of that independent, personable service back to the town. Sisters Polly and Jemma love where they live and have a passion for the Sid Valley where they grew up. After both moving away to study the pull of home was just too much. They both set down their roots in Sidmouth and got married to local chaps. Spurred on by a supportive family unit and an unconditional sisterly love the original brand Crane, Bump & Baby was born. Firstly an online company only whilst Jemma and Polly worked full time with their careers. Jemma as Director of Tax with a firm of solicitors in Exeter and Polly a graphic designer who studied with the prestigious Domus Academy in Milan and worked with Condé Nast in London.
In July 2018 the sisters purchased a shop in the heart of Sidmouth with a long history of independent family businesses before it. Growing up it was known as Simon Pollentine’s Fudge and Sweet Shop. A regular stop off as a child with my pocket money and before that Nancy Barons fruit, vegetable and flower shop! With views towards the sea to the right and the hub of the town to the left, the location of Crane & Kind couldn’t be more perfect. What’s more, the vibrant pink shop front acts like a beacon that you can’t help migrating towards. It looks so inviting.
Alongside the growth of the company and the growth of their own young families Crane, Bump & Baby became Crane & Kind and their dream of a shop became reality.
Crane & Kind stocks beautiful clothing, books, games and toys for the kiddos with an age range of newborn to 3/4 years as well as pampering gifts and accessories for the mums and non-mums alike. Their brand ethos is very straight forward. They believe in family. All of the brands stocked are chosen by the sisters for their quality and that they are small independent companies themselves. They will only stock items that they would like in their own homes or have their children play with. They focus on small, design-led brands with an accessible price point. You won’t find stock of many of the brands elsewhere. The likes of Wilson & Frenchy, Halcyon Nights, Pretty Brave and Roshamboo Baby have given Crane & Kind exclusivity in this country. How cool is that?
Polly uses her graphic design skills to good use with a small capsule collection of sweatshirts for adults and children. Each sweatshirt in the ‘Hero Collection’ having a background story with two of them being directly linked to amazing charities. The World Land Trust and Surfers Against Sewage are charities very close to the beating heart of Crane & Kind with money from each sweatshirt sale going directly to their awesome and imperative causes. I’ve already got my Care Taker sweatshirt supporting the World Land Trust and wear it with pride. Pride that my talented friend designed it and pride that my purchase has directly helped the charity. I get compliments every single time I wear it. I truly think that this range of sweatshirts is just the start of something special. T-shirts for the summer perhaps and artwork for the walls? Whichever way, Polly is one talented lady and I know there are already a number of new ideas bubbling inside her head.
On top of all of that Crane & Kind host numerous events and workshops from their store. A regular Friday morning event being the Knackered Mums Club where tired mamas can come along with their pre-crawling babies to sing songs, play, chat and have a warming cuppa and a pastry or two. Make sure you contact Crane & Kind for any upcoming events.
For those of you that can’t get over to Sidmouth for yourselves never fear. Crane & Kind have a mail order service so head over to their website by clicking the link here.
You can find Crane & Kind at Market Square, Sidmouth, EX10 8AR.
Photography: Angel Wade Photography
Disclaimer: I was not paid for this post and all views are my own as always.