Image: 'Home' Cafe and shop in Blackheath
We’re delighted to announce that our colourful range of Kouamo stationery is now stocked at ‘Home’ a lovely family lifestyle store and cafe in Lee Road, Blackheath. Since opening ‘Home’, shop owner Maritza Masiello has had quite a rollercoaster ride. We got chatting to find out more and to discover her top tips for places to visit in and around the Blackheath area...
What led you to opening ‘Home’ in Blackheath?
Image: Maritza Masiello in her shop
I’ve had my online shop Home and Kids for a few years and had been looking to open a bricks and mortar store for a while. When I saw a space within a beautiful former-restaurant on the outskirts of Blackheath, I jumped at the chance. The landlord was very keen to keep the restaurant licence so I agreed to create a combined cafe and lifestyle store.
Have there been any adventures along the way?
Image: Examples of products at 'Home' and Home and Kids online
There certainly have! ‘Home’ has now been open for just over a year and so much has changed already. Just before Christmas a flood destroyed almost all of my stock and that of all the shops in the parade. It was devastating. I had to really dig deep and work out what to do next. We reopened with a limited range while the repairs were underway and have adapted the way the business is run. Through all the ups and downs my customers have been amazing and stuck by me for which I’m eternally grateful.
It sounds like you have a really loyal customer base. What makes 'Home' special?
Image: Customers in 'Home'
‘Home’ is definitely a distinctive shopping destination. It's a place where families and friends can come together - enjoy something from our brunch menu and have a browse. We’ve carefully cherry picked thoughtful gifts and gorgeous lifestyle products for both grown ups and kids. We also hold workshops and supper clubs throughout the year. I love coming up with ideas and connecting with people who can bring something fun and interesting to ‘Home’ for our customers to experience
There is a lovely selection of designs in the store. What do you look for in a great product?
Image: Travel journals by Kouamo available at 'Home' photographed by Yeshen Venema
First of all I have to love how they look. I know that may sound shallow but the products simply have to look beautiful in the shop. I also want my customers to feel like they are getting something special and unique when they visit. When I first saw the Kouamo travel diaries and notebooks, I instantly loved them. The colours and prints were initially what I was drawn to but when I visited Julie in her workshop, I was also so impressed with the quality of the products. They really are beautiful and useful - the best combination!
Our readers love exploring destinations near and far. Tell us more about Blackheath and the surrounding area.
Blackheath is a gorgeous part of London. So rich in history with its beautiful period houses and the village is full of restaurants, bars and shops. I've always lived in this part of South East London so it will always have a special place in my heart. I met my husband here, we've had our children here, they've gone to school here - everywhere I go is full of memories. The green spaces are plentiful and the parks are especially beautiful - sometimes it's hard to believe you're in a London suburb. The train links to Central London are fantastic as are the links to the motorway which makes it ideal for commuters and days out.
What are your five favourite places?
#1 Top Hidden Gem
Image: One Two Five Lifestyle shop in Blackheath
OneTwo Five Lifestyle is the gift shop next door to mine in Lee Road. We opened a month apart and at first when we found out about each other we were both a bit worried. We soon discovered that what we sell is very different and we actually complement each other very well. It's well worth a visit too.
#2 Top place of beauty
Image: Greenwich Park
Without a doubt this would be Greenwich Park with its boat lake, deer park, the planetarium and arguably the best views in London!
#3 Top Store or Market
Image: Farmers Market in Blackheath
The Farmers Markets in Blackheath and nearby Brockley are both great to visit on Sundays to grab some speciality treats.
#4 Top Restaurant or Pub
Image: Cabrera Restaurant
In Blackheath it would be Luciano's for the best in authentic Italian food or Cabrera for steak although I may be biased as they are both my husband's restaurants! Other favourites are The Orchard Bar and Kitchen and The Nordic Bakery in Brockley as well as The Habit in Nunhead. All serve delicious food.
#5 Top Gallery or Museum
Image: The Maritime Museum in Greenwich Park
The Maritime Museum is a really beautiful building within Greenwich Park. It is somewhere you can take the kids to explore a bit of history and stop off at the cafe afterwards.
Discover Kouamo designs and much more at ‘Home’ and online at ‘Home & Kids’ 121 Lee Road, Blackheath, London, SE3 9DS