Words and photo by Tristan Ovington.
At 24-years-old, Kellie Gentle is the youngest business owner in Salisbury. She opened her shop Stuff Emporium, at the beginning of July 2022. Kellie began her experience in business ownership at 21 when she co-owned a shop in Wilton.
Now she is based in Salisbury, she recalls: “I fell in love with the building and location here on Winchester Street. I saw the potential for building up a collective of local artisans and small businesses as there isn’t anything like that in the centre of Salisbury.”
She continued: “I have always loved the idea of having my own little shop – but it became even more of a dream and focus after a period of time in hospital at 18, where I spent my days crocheting.
I got a lot of supportive comments from staff and was told I should start a business. In fact, the doctors and nurses there were my first ever customers. This is where my business, Handmade Kellie,
So how has business been since Kellie opened? “Customers have been really positive and supportive, and there’s been a huge amount of interest from local sellers. Soon I will have more shelves built to accommodate the demand.”
And what does Kellie sell at Stuff? All sorts of ‘stuff’, of course. “I have my brand Handmade Kellie where I make and sell crochet animals, pin badges, sticker packs and more. I’ve also got 40 local artisans selling products such as diffusers, candles, greeting cards, artwork, silver jewellery, eco products, scarves, and so much more.
She continued: “Customers seem to be most excited by our huge range of crystals! They’re super affordable, and we have so many different shapes and materials. A top seller is our crystal mushroom carvings.”
Kellie advises young people thinking of starting their own business to simply, “take the leap of faith and go for it! You aren’t just selling your products and yourself when running your own business. I find events are a great way to connect with potential customers, and they’re more likely to remember you afterwards. I started selling at the Salisbury Teenage Market in 2016, which was a brilliant help in building up a customer base.”
Christmas is an important time for Salisbury retailers, and Kellie has a lot planned. “I will be hosting some late-night shopping. December which will also mark the six month milestone of Stuff Emporium being open, so I’m planning something special for that. I also have a few other exciting ideas up my sleeve to be revealed closer to the time!”
Stuff Emporium, 31-33 Winchester Street, Salisbury