When you start your own business you need a lot of things: a good offering, courage, passion, and a lot of hard work too. Kate Buxton is certainly a very dedicated lady.
Stef Nienaltowski met with Kate recently and experienced her shop on the west side of South Parade Pier. He was fascinated by what she sells and where she sources the products.
Stef Nienaltowski: Good afternoon, I'm sat with Kate, the owner of Sundance on the Pier shop. The Sundance shop is a pier shop with a modern twist. Kate was telling me it stocks fair-traded items, gifts and clothes, and over the next few minutes Kate's going to tell us all about, so good afternoon Kate.
Kate Buxton: Good afternoon Stef.
SN: So, Kate, your shop is as I said full of wonderful things, how did you decide what to put in the shop when you first opened?
KB: I used to do spiritual fairs and markets, so I used to sell the clothes there, and a whole range of other things, and I thought it was about time I had a shop. Then I thought I'd like to ask other local makers and artists if they would like to stock things here.
SN: What made you choose to locate yourself here on the pier?
KB: I just thought it was a great opportunity really, to be a part of the pier re-opening, and it's a popular destination for people to spend a great day out.
SN: So, Kate, I believe you actually source most, if not all of your products, from a Fair-Trade source. Does that represent a challenge for you?
KB: The wholesalers are hard to find. There aren't as many as there would be if you were buying regular products. The products come up a little bit more expensive, however I think it's a nice thing to be able to do if you can.
SN: Very much so, and in terms of your shop, as I say, the items you've got here, we've talked just now about the Fair Trade, how do you keep the items current and interesting, or do you find that so far particular lines are popular, and therefore keep selling?
KB: Mostly the popular lines keep selling, it's really asking customers when they come in what they expect to see in a shop like this, and go from there.
SN: And do you find that you get, where do you get your ideas from yourself, do you get ideas from seeing other people, what they're doing? I know you talked about your trade fairs, and your spiritual fairs. Where do you get your ideas from for new things to stock here?
KB: Just have to watch what's going on in other shops, and then try and do it in a fairly-traded, ethical way. There's usually a twist to it; my tastes are a little unusual.
SN: But clearly very popular.
KB: Yeah. Very popular yeah.
SN: And, I think we were saying last time we met that some of the shelves on your unit are other people, and local supplier's stuff, aren't they?
KB: That's right yeah.
SN: And how does that work, is that fair-traded, or are they just local artists or local people?
KB: Well, where they're local makers and artists, everything is made from scratch as home.
SN: Brilliant. So, like any business, it must be challenging to get a business started from scratch. I know you were at spiritual fairs before you opened the shop, but what would you say have been your biggest hurdles or your biggest challenges to get the business going to where we are today?
KB: So, it's making people aware that the pier's open, and that it's open all year round, and that there's plenty to do on here now. There's lots of cafes open, and events people can come and see.
SN: And I think, again, you were saying to me earlier about marketing, marketing is always a challenge isn't it I guess, you've got to try to keep your name out there, we've certainly seen a fantastic range of photographs on Twitter, and that must be a good attraction as well, because it is quite a unique venue you've got here, isn't it?
KB: I'm very lucky to have a really good view of the Solent, yeah, there's lots of things passing through there, so lots of pictures!
SN: Indeed! So, finally, slightly tongue-in-cheek I know, but what would you like to see happen with your business in the next year or two. Survival, or are there going to be Sundance on the Piers all over the Country? What's the plan?
KB: I think in the next couple of years there will be another Sundance, hopefully in Albert Road. Really, I'll have the therapy room here as well, which would be suitable for a therapist, or a crafter or a maker, hopefully that'll be full. Yeah, it'll be much busier outside in the corridor, everyone will know we're here.
SN: Well, I'll look forward to that, and I'll look forward to coming back maybe, in a few months’ time, and just seeing how you're doing on that plan, but for now Kate thank you very much indeed, been great talking to you as always.
KB: Thank you.