I’m addicted to vintage furniture and when I met Wendy Aldridge, owner of vintage interior emporium Homeplace, I couldn’t wait to see her new business launch.
Based in Walthamstow, Homeplace is a website and a delectable Instagram feed – perfect fuel for my interiors obsession and my morning commute. Although we hope for a bricks and mortar store one day so we can wander around Wendy’s choice finds.
Wendy is one of the mums following their dream that come together under the Mothers Meeting business club, where we first met. It’s a great group of mums who chop and change each month, coming together to motivate each other to get off our butts and start up the business of our dreams.
The story behind the name Homeplace is touching, and at the (possibly highly hormonal) time, made me cry when she first told me about it. When Wendy’s father would describe going back to the place he grew up in Ireland, that place he was truly from and that would always be part of him wherever he was in the world, he called it the Homeplace. The only thing I love more than interiors is a sense of place, and I love the way he combines the two words to sum up the place of his roots.
Here’s Wendy’s interview:
I’m Wendy Aldridge and our little family is made up of myself, my husband/best friend/business partner James, our 2 young children Ida (5) and Arlie (23 months) and our Border Terrier, Pablo.
A new online store called Homeplace which offers an eclectic mix of vintage, mid century, retro and contemporary homeware, lighting & furniture.
I’d spent well over ten years doing events, from my time in the marketing department at Dazed & Confused/AnOther Mag to heading up the events department at War Child and although I’d enjoyed going back to doing events after having my daughter, I knew that once I’d had my second, I wanted to do something completely different. Events are unpredictable and project-based work like that is hard when you have two little ones and I knew I wanted to be around a bit more for the kids, to do the school drop off and pick up etc.
So I left War Child after 7.5 years and my husband very wisely informed me there was unlikely to be a better time to try and get something off the ground myself … so I decided to finally take the plunge.
My degree was in Retail Marketing and I worked in management at an independent fashion outlet in Manchester during my time at University there so retail has always been very much part of my life.
Since meeting James we have renovated several properties here in London as well as an apartment in Berlin – called Apartment Aldridge – so I kind of got bitten by the interiors bug. Suddenly I didn’t care about the new dress or the new bag … I wanted the mid century chair and a really nice cushion to go on it!
As a result I’d happily while away the hours scouring Ebay and vintage fleamarkets for pieces to furnish the properties and I realised that a passion had been born. And indeed that if I could have a stab at making a living out of it, then that would be pretty cool.
It means an awful lot to me, I feel incredibly lucky to be working on something I have such a passion for and it makes me feel very proud to have launched our own little corner of the Internet, filled with products we have spent time lovingly sourcing.
I honestly believe that your home is a reflection of you and your personality and an unexpected perk of the job has been hearing from customers who have purchased something from the site and are over the moon with how it looks in their home. That makes me very happy indeed.
The hardest part is juggling it all – it can be hectic with two kids and juggling the school/nursery runs with school holidays whilst trying to find enough time to devote to the website. I work a lot of late nights as a result however as I’m working on something I am passionate about, it doesn’t (always!) feel like work.
I’d also say having the confidence to make such a major change to my career was hard in the first instance but you’ve just got to plough on and believe that you can do it.
I get inspiration from all over but first and foremost my dad – he instilled a very strong work ethic in me from a very young age and for that I will always be incredibly grateful.
He is an amazing entrepreneur and launched a very successful plumbing and engineering business which he has since passed on to my brothers to run but he has his fingers in so many pies and always has about six different projects on the go.
I’ve known since I was little and would answer the phone to take messages for his business that I wanted a business of my own. I was just never very certain until fairly recently what it would be doing but he has inspired me to keep working hard and striving for the next thing until I found it.