Stephanie Briggs is the owner of La Di Da Interiors, a homewares and interior design shop in Andover, Hampshire. The shop is designed to reflect a taste for a stylish country lifestyle, and specialises in painted vintage furniture, upcycling previously unwanted pieces to give them a new lease of life. Sara Walker talks to Stephanie about how she runs her business.
“I studied jewellery and silversmithing at university and after a brief spell in the trade then moved into corporate life in business development. I became tired of the pressure, found myself desperately wanting to get back into doing something creative and also wanted to start a family so working for myself seemed the only way to make it work.
“La Di Da opened in 2011, and it was being run as a vintage and interiors shop when I bought it in 2015. I’ve evolved the business into La Di Da Interiors and Gifts. We run creative workshops, paint furniture to commission and offer interior design services as well as having a bricks and mortar shop and now a website too. The name came with the business, people often comment on it so it certainly makes us stand out! My customer base varies greatly, we have people travelling from all over the country to attend our workshops, and we’re well known in the local area as our shop is quite quirky and small so is always changing. Once people visit us in store on online they usually come back again, as we pride ourselves on offering exceptional service.
“Choosing what to stock is obviously crucial, and I need to balance commercial considerations with personal taste. Buying is similar to designing, you have to have your customers at the forefront of your mind. It’s not all about what I like, it’s about what works for them, their tastes and their homes. However having said that I do work on gut instinct and some of the most bonkers things that I’ve bought often sell the quickest! We now have several exclusive products including our own range of diffusers and scented candles. Our oak dippy egg boards have been sent all over the world, they remind a lot of people of childhood breakfast-time so appeal to all ages.
“Personally, I love colour and I live in a thatched cottage so my own home is fairly traditional – country style with bold use of colour and the occasional design statement.
“As regards our best sellers, the current most popular item in our homewares range is our aluminium ‘GET NAKED’ sign. In the giftware range, it’s our new range of silk scarves. My personal favourite at the moment is our Scottish sycamore stag board, I’ve been resisting taking one home for weeks!
“No two days are ever really the same here. On a typical day I get to the studio about 8am and work on customer paint commissions before opening the shop at 10am. The morning is spent sorting out orders for the courier and deliveries. The afternoons are usually for sorting customer enquires and business admin, uploading items to the website, photography and merchandising.
When you run your own business, one of the hardest things is switching off at the end of the day. I love what I do, so I tend to think about it 24/7, I’m still working on getting the balance right! We won our first award in 2017 for ‘Best Interiors Store in Hampshire’ which was as a result of a public vote. When we won it again in 2018 it gave us the confidence that we really are getting it right.
“We try to buy British wherever possible and are always looking out for something that’s a little bit different. Our website has evolved enormously over the last two years and is better than ever before, so we’re really looking forward to 2019, we have big plans for the future.”
All images (c) 2019 La Di Da Interiors