7th Sea is our Bristol Business of the WeekPosted on: 13 Sep 2017
Bristol wins awards almost every week for being the best place to live in the UK and we like to think that the huge number of independent businesses in the City are a major contributing factor. One such is 7th Sea, located on Cheltenham Road just around the corner from the independent mecca of Gloucester Road, selling handmade gifts and treasures in their boutique shop. It's part of Bristol's Independent District and 365Bristol met up with co-owner Emma Garner to find out more.
Tell us a bit about 7th Sea
7th Sea opened its doors back in 2012 after Linda and I met while taking part in a pop-up shop in Quakers Friars. We found our current Cheltenham Road premises while looking for a permanent location to sell our wares. Five years on and we’re a well known place on the Bristol art scene with a focus on locally designed and handmade products.
What sort of gifts do you sell?
Our vision is simple: we curate a collection of our favourite beautiful things designed by Bristol artists and makers (and a few from further afield). These include art prints, greeting cards, screen-printed T shirts, ceramics, hand-poured candles, bath & body products and, of course, our own range of jewellery.
What separates you from other gift shops?
7th Sea sells unique gifts – the sort of things that you don’t find easily on most high streets. Some of our artists sell exclusively with us and we champion the quirky and edgy! We have a special relationship with all our artists and we get a great deal of pleasure from offering them a platform for their creations.
How does your service help the independent community that you are part of on Cheltenham Road?
By purchasing a product from our shop, you will be directly supporting local artists as well as our small business. Some of our suppliers are based at the iconic Hamilton House, which is at the heart of Stokes Croft’s thriving creative community. In these days of multi-national consumerism it can feel difficult to make a difference, but by shopping at places like 7th Sea you really can do some good!
You are part of Bristol’s Independent District that covers Gloucester Road and surrounding streets. How is this helping you attract more customers?
The Gloucester Road area is rich in high quality, original, indie businesses and restaurants. It is famously the longest independent high street in Europe and we’re very proud to be associated with this district.
Being part of this active group of businesses brings many opportunities. For example, we recently worked with a designer to create a logo which will help us promote the area. We all support each other on social media. We pool our ideas for things such as Christmas events. We have collectively commissioned a street map of our district and also a website which will help shoppers to find the sort of places they are looking for here. These will both be launched in the next few weeks so we’re all very excited!
Are you originally from Bristol?
No, I’m a Yorkshire lass who came to college here, fell in love with the city and never left!
Have you found it a welcoming place to own a business?
Very much so. Bristol people are famously left-field and open minded. We have a very appreciative audience for our unusual but attractive, little art-loving shop.
What have been the challenges posed by running a business in Bristol? Any advice for new business owners?
Bristol is a very competitive place full of imaginative entrepeneurs. There are lots of people out there with fantastic ideas – sometimes with ideas very similar to the ones you’re having. The advice I would give is stay true to yourself and your original vison while taking on board the bigger picture. Be open to opportunities and keep an eye on trends. Don’t try to run before you can walk – grow slowly and within your means.
Where are your favourite places to eat, drink and shop in the city?
I love the tiny restaurant, Poco, on Jamaica Street, for its excellent tapas and also the Thali Café restaurants – North Street at the Tobacco Factory is my fave. For drinks I would chose The Knowle, which is a great local pub near to where I live. For a special occasion I would venture out to one of Bristol’s ‘speakeasy’ style establishments like Hyde & Co. or The Milk Thistle for a bit of retro style and glamour.
For shopping I’ll probably head over to Bristol’s Independent District of course! I love to rummage through the fantastic second hand shops of the Gloucester Road area and soak up the buzzing atmosphere of café life. It really is a street like no other here in Bristol.
If you were Mayor of Bristol for the day, what would you change?
If I were Mayor for the day I would remove parking restrictions on the street outside our shop!
Customers are confused by the inconsistent parking rules in the area and sometimes get caught out by the bus lanes which come into operation after 4 pm. Having said all that – you can park outside 7th Sea for 30 minutes free on week days and all day on weekends. There are also many side streets available for parking too.
Bristol born and bred despite the name, Brendan has been working in the digital media sector for the last 10 years and advertising for the last 20 years. A wealth of knowledge about the city and more importantly at how to help businesses get as much online exposure as possible. Call Brendan on 07876 735153 or email Brendan@365bristol.com or pop in for a coffee and a chat at Aardman.