I think for many of us, online shopping has become pretty second nature when it comes to decorating our homes. I know for myself, the first thing I do when starting to look for something is to hop online to see what options are out there. Because I live in a suburban setting, I don’t have as much immediate local access to as many cool boutique shops, so online retailers provide me with that same curated experience.
Author Ellie Tennant (with whom I had the honor of having my own home included in her last book) is a magazine journalist and comes aross beautiful online shops all the time. She explains “In the past ten years, I have noticed a real shift towards smaller, independent boutiques and I wanted to celebrate these businesses as well as explore some inspiring interiors, while gathering information that would be useful to somebody who wants to set up their own online shop.”
Which brings us to her latest book “Chic Boutiquers at Home- Interiors Inspiration and Expert Advice from Creative Online Sellers“.
I asked Ellie a few questions about the book:
How did you approach selecting the homes/shop owners? Was there any criteria you were looking for?
It was quite tricky to narrow it down but we were looking for people who have original, interesting online shops, beautiful homes, and who live in a wide range of locations, including UK, Wales, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and USA.
Was there anything that surprised you about any of the homes?
Hmm… that’s made me think! I was surprised generally at how strongly the owners’ shops and homes all reflected their personalities – their ‘signature style’ was really dominant in every online ‘virtual space’ and in their own, personal domestic space.
In the back of the book, you give some great tips on how to set up an online shop- after all your research, where do you see the future of retail?
Online shopping is the future. Not only are we shopping online more, we’re changing how we do it, too, with mobile checkout accounting for more and more of total online sales. Without the expenses of a bricks-and-mortar shop, smaller independent brands can set up and start trading with ease, giving us access to a wider range of chic boutiques than ever before. The growth of online shopping also means that we can buy from brands that are based abroad, many of which have introduced international shipping at competitive prices to attract a global customer base. Luckily for us, this has given rise to a new generation of online style gurus who do much more than just sell homewares – they inspire and delight their customers, too, offering glimpses into their gorgeous homes and covetable lifestyles. I think there will always be a place for high street stores (although perhaps more as destinations and show rooms, with ordering taking place online) and bigger brands can buy in bulk and offer low prices for everyday goods, but if you want something special and with soul, online shops are usually the place to look.
(all photos by James Gardiner, courtesy of Ryland Peters & Small)