As promised in my last post, I am going to introduce you to the beautiful, strong, funny, creative, smart women that I am lucky enough to include in the Daughters journey. First in the Our Daughter series we celebrate my friend Poppy, owner and creator of Koumis & Kettle.
I set up Koumis & Kettle over the summer of 2015 with the intentions of running a collaborative summer project with my mother, a textile artist, whilst I figured out what I was ‘actually’ going to do with my life. I had returned home from a year of unpaid internships and soul-destroying admin jobs in London, after graduating from London College of Fashion, feeling pretty disillusioned. A lot of time spent very bored at a desk meant I did have a lot of time to research, brainstorm and think about what I’d really like to be doing. And so, the summer was spent running a series of pop-up events mostly from our home in Winchester, including a pop-up shop and artist lectures. The success and feedback I got from doing this has meant it is now 2 years on and I am busy running yoga classes from our home and in the midst of planning our next Christmas pop-up-shop season.
Our pop-up-shops have become what we are known for. People like that it is in a home setting - they are curious and like to have a nosey I think, but also it gives the entire shopping experience a different feel to it. It becomes a social thing and there is a great sense of community. People come and often stay for a few hours as the whole neighbourhood is here! There’s a lovely atmosphere. The other reason why it has been such a success I can only think is down to the eclectic mix of things we sell! Totally unique and many of things you will never find again. We work with local artists and designers who stock their work. We also sell emerging student’s work from contacts I have from London art schools. Me and my sisters love to travel so will source rare & unique textiles, clothes and curiosities along the way. My sister spent last year in Japan and would send me exquisite vintage kimonos.
Our biggest seller has been a social enterprise in India called The Stitching Project. Set up by australian Fiona Wright, she has a workshop in Pushkar, Rajasthan that I visited last year. She employs and teaches local villagers skills, and the local women, she calls The Stitching Ladies, do all the hand-stitch. They use recycled saris and traditional methods to produce beautiful one-off clothing and homeware. It has been really wonderful to develop this relationship with The Stitching Project and in general reflects the ethos of what we like to sell.
In the last year I have done my yoga teacher training and now run classes from our home. The beauty of K&K is that it is fluid, it can evolve and become a springboard for whatever we want to do! I have 2 sisters, we are a family of 4 strong women, and we chose the name Koumis & Kettle so that any one of us can dip in and out of the project at any point. It has been challenging, rejecting the ‘normal’ career path, setting up and growing my own thing, leaving London. However, I have met such incredible people along the way. We have since collaborated with Sofar Sounds, popped up at Smoked & Uncut festivals and produced & designed a magazine to raise money for refugees. And this was what it was always about - wanting to connect, make stories and create a community.