When you first open a business, 5 years seems so far away into the future, almost insurmountable and you don’t even know if you’ll get there, but on Saturday, we celebrated the shops 5th Birthday with a big party all day for our amazing customers!
It felt almost surreal to be standing there in the shop, looking round, seeing and thinking about how so much has changed and all the different things that have happened, but at the same time the beginning almost seemed like yesterday!
It was such a fun day and I loved having the shop all decorated with bunting and balloons! We had cake and fizz - manned by my Mum and another little helper!
DJ Dave la modern was playing some super tunes all day for us! I loved the phone he had (instead of head phones) - but it did certainly turn lots of heads as people were wondering what he was doing on the phone so much!
And the sewing tombola went down a treat!
I’ve been incredibly lucky over the years to have had such wonderful staff, friends, family, tradesman and of course all the amazing customers who have supported the business.
Team g&g made amazing party outfits for the day and I'll be sharing all the details of them in a dedicated post soon!
I know some of you might have been following the progress of the business from the start and some of you might have only discovered the shop and sewing more recently, so I wanted to do a little flash back before and after, to mark this big 5 landmark. If you'd like to see all my past renovations posts - just click this link.
The story of the g&g shop started back in 2011 when Ayaz (my husband) and I decided to renovate this beautiful derelict building in Moseley that was built as a social club back in 1898.
My husband is from this area and had owned the building since before I had met him but for various reasons, it had ended up sitting empty, slowly decaying for almost 7 years, before I decided to have a career change, renovate the building and set up my own business to share my love and passion of sewing and fabrics with everyone.
It took us a year to completely gut the place back to bare brick with no roof and no floors and demolish the back half of the building, which was extensions that had been added, we think, in the 1950’s. If anyone is interested in a more detailed post of the buildings history, just let me know, I did a ton of research!
We project managed the whole thing ourselves and I actually did some of the work too. I had left my old job and would spend my days in old jeans and a hoodie covered in paint, dust and goodness knows what else.
We had to get new…EVERYTHING! We’d touch something and realise it was old and rotten just like everything else. I think the only original thing that could stay in the end was the stair case and that was because it had been boxed in for decades!
I helped striped back all the rotten wood and paint from the mock tudor panelling on the building. The scaffolding was great fun! I used to love climbing around up there – you get a whole different perspective on the place!
I can remember the day we got our brand new bay window.
And when we could finally take down the scaffolding and see things starting to look clean and finished. It was landmarks like this that would keep me going!
I also spent about 4 weeks stripping back the old beams in the studio, which was probably the most painstaking job I’ve ever done but I’ve no regrets. They look amazing now!
We ordered these beautiful antique chandeliers from Turkey and I had to sting them all back up together again!
It was during that time of renovating the building that I was chosen to be a contestant the first series of the BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee and as they say, the rest is history.
Slowly but surely, everything started to come together and finally by the end of April 2013, we were ready to open the shop. And by complete coincidence it was the weekend after the final of the Sewing Bee was aired.
I don’t think I could have dreamt of a better day! This was the dream team of family, friends and new g&g team members getting ready for what was one heck of a busy day! We even had a queue outside! Read more about the opening day in this link.
The shop looks so different now! Back when we opened we had a coffee area and lots of clocks on the wall!
Everything seemed so spread out and I can remember having to strategically stack the shelves to try and pad the stock out a bit!
Even the studio seemed spares looking back at the photos. After 5 years of bust workshops, it certainly has a more lived in feel now!
Finally, I want to say the biggest thank you to infinity and beyond for every single one of you who I have met, who has shopped with us, come to a workshop, asked for help, left a comment or question, liked us on social media, sent us feedback and everything else all you wonderful people do!
This business isn't about me anymore, it's about you guys and the staff that work for me and all the people who have been inspired to get out a sewing machine and just sew! You are all amazing!