A husband and wife team are helping to showcase some of the North East’s most talented craft workers and artists with the launch of a new retail shop in Whitley Bay, Love of the North.
Love of the North is the brainchild of Whitley Bay residents, Paul and Lucy Hall. The pair opened the shop to shine a light on the dazzling selection of quality artwork, crafts and giftware available from local suppliers following help and support from the North Tyneside Business Factory and TEDCO Business Support.
The enterprising duo launched the new retail outlet on the back of their website, For the Love of the North which started trading in early 2017 selling a range of cards, prints, artwork, giftware and decoration from independent makers based here in the North East.
Paul Hall (42), co-owner of Love of the North comments: “We actually launched the website initially to help provide a platform to some of the regional suppliers I met and worked with during my time in the tourist information centre in North Tyneside.
“I’ve always known that we have such amazing independent artists and craftspeople right here in the region that often go unnoticed by retailers and consequently, customers and I wanted to look at ways to provide a retail platform that collectively profiled their amazing work.
“After consultation with Tracy Clarkson, our business advisor, we set up the website as an e-commerce site with a wide selection of products available from our list of North East suppliers. Tracy has been working with us now for well over a year, challenging us on every part of the business to see where new opportunities lie. Her help and guidance has served as fantastic support to new business owners who have never owned or managed a retail outlet before.”
After witnessing the success of the website but also frustrated by the number of items they wanted to sell but proved too difficult to deliver, Paul and Lucy decided to diversify the business and open Love of the North as their first retail space.
Paul and Lucy have worked with The Business Factory, which is funded by the ERDF and delivered in North Tyneside by TEDCO Business Support. Their business advisors helped guide Love of the North through the initial start-up phase and beyond with mentoring and one-to-one advice sessions covering every possible area of running a new venture.
Karen Westgate, Business Development Officer at North Tyneside Council, said: “I’m delighted that we were able to support Paul and Lucy to open their new retail shop in the heart of Whitley Bay.
“You can really see how much this means to them. They have worked incredibly hard and are full of creativity and ideas.
“I would like to wish them the very best and hopefully they have a long and prosperous future here in North Tyneside.”
Love of the North is located on Whitley Road in the centre of Whitley Bay and is open from 9.30am – 5.30pm on Wednesday through Friday and from 9am on Saturday.