An inviting treasure trove, a cluttered space stuffed with goodies from around the world, Anna challenges any of you to wander in and not want everything and walk out with something.
While raising her young family, writing two memoirs in the garden shed and learning to make jam she started to feel restless.
Then the octogenarian owner of the local Stow-on-the-Wold greengrocer mentioned that she was looking for a tenant to share the 16th-century retail space and it was the perfect new project for Amanda. It took a year to negotiate the lease and another five months to renovate the new shop ‘Cutter Brooks’ so while the weathered oak beams were being restored and the walls covered with pink plaster, Brooks went travelling, and filled suitcases to stock the shop. Hand-painted crockery from Seville, Parisian lingerie, John Derian platters and woven water bottle covers from Marrakech.
Located eighty miles northwest of London, with neighbours including Michelin-starred restaurants like The Wild Rabbit in Kingham, Bamford’s Daylesford Farmshop & Café and Soho Farmhouse, there is no shortage of footfall. Locals, road-tripping Londoners and a lot of American tourists visit the shop to browse and buy up inventory from continental Europe and the United States. Though the inspiration for Cutter Brooks is English country life, much is aimed at ensuring British customers are offered products they won’t find elsewhere.
An inviting treasure trove, a cluttered space stuffed with goodies from around the world, I challenge any of you to wander in and not want everything and walk out with something.
The best-selling products in terms of volume are hand blocked, quilted placemats and matching cloth napkins from Zojora, a Singapore-based shop whose designers send Brooks photos of the prints they find on trips to India.
Another brand I love for useful handmade gifts is Scanlon Apparati’s series of decoupage envelope boxes and letter holders. The owner Beth, found Brooks on Instagram and got in touch.
Thankfully able to survive a difficult year for retail businesses, the shop is now open Tuesday to Saturday 10am - 5pm. As we approach the Christmas present buying season, if you are looking for pretty, practical and unique gifts, there is nowhere better.
By Anna Bance