All About Us
One of my earliest memories of childhood was sitting on the floor surrounded by colourful paper, watching mum wrapping presents for all the family, me helping with pinking shears and a pile of last year’s Christmas cards creating the gift tags, learning to make magical curly ribbons with the right side of the scissor blades and putting love into every parcel. Gifts didn’t have to be big or expensive .. just special things selected with a person in mind, not just randomly bought because you had to. And this is why we do what we do .. we share little treats that we’ve found and fallen in love with. Things to make you smile, smells to evoke memories, tactile, sensual, curious …
Rediscovering treasures within, the joy of shelling peas from a pod, schoolbooks covered in funky 70s wallpaper, rusty coronation biscuit tin stuffed with buttons of every size and colour kept us busy for hours creating patterns and ‘families’, Grandad Spavold’s shed, held up by its incredible contents - every type and size of tool and labelled jars of every screw and nail and knob, his collections of postcards and stamps and coins and his wartime sailor costume, Grandpa West’s cellar with burnished woodwork tools and huge barrels full of wood shavings, Grandma’s treasure box of sparkly earrings, Mum’s ‘workshop’ formerly known as the garage, full of glassless picture frames, tractor springs, endless pieces of driftwood all with a future use … treasure can be found in anything, fascinating finds and order in clutter.
Personal local businesses and high streets are the heart of any community. We know that there is still a market for traditional values and wonderful personal service; we like people, we have time to listen and share and love the patchwork of shoppers and their stories, making first time visitors feel at home and using wrapping time to get to know you.
So let’s wind the clock back …
Late in 1999 surrounded by our then 7 offspring, sandwiched between toddler groups, endless school runs and fuelled by ‘stick your knees to your back’ coffee, my dear friends Alison, Carolyn and I had the first of those kitchen table chats which start with ‘what do we do now’! There followed lots of talk, the occasional lightbulb moment, along with painting plant pots and heating glue guns to stick in dried flowers and .. more surprisingly selling them at school fetes. A few months later and we bought some oil lamps imported by my sister and dad, sold them too .. armed with our first little pot of cash and handmade business cards, we braved our first trade fair in a windy, bleak and soulless community hall in Great Yarmouth and bought our first £50 of stock. Sold it and then just a few weeks later headed to the bright lights of the NEC Spring Fair in Birmingham with its mindblowing 6 miles of trade stands, one extreme to the other. Purple Turtle was born, local house parties selling our wares … a regular stall at the Saturday craft market in Ely took us through the next few years with a change in name to Peberdy Tate. Another baby each and an emigration to Australia for dear Alison wound up Peberdy Tate but the buying and selling flame had been lit … the market carried on for several more years of Saturdays until personal circumstances put things on hold. Fast forward to New Year 2013 after several years working very happily for a local ex forces recruitment company and the dream of selling lovely things having never gone away. Ideas for a website started to emerge and Andy (my friend of 40 years albeit with a few gaps, and more lately my wonderful husband) and I created Peberdy Degg named after my two great grandmothers. Round and round the circles went … I still needed a physical ‘shop window’ but didn’t fancy braving the weekly market again. During a summer holiday that year we agreed that if we could find a premises in town at an ok rent we’d give it a go. By chance on return, a wonderful historic property had become available. We viewed, we pitched our ideas, we wrote our business plan over a pint and The Eel Catcher’s Daughter was born. 6 weeks later keys in hand, we rapidly bought and painted furniture, sourced stock, designed a logo and magically opened in early November.
Four and a half years on, truly established on our little high street, we still love every minute and it never feels like work. We love what we sell, we use what we sell and we only buy what we love. We have a recognisable distinctive taste and style. We love people discovering us for the first time and many locals and more distant visitors popping in regularly to say hello and ‘go round again’. Individual pieces, honest advice, we’ve found you, one stop shop .. roll into that great music, individual service, wrapping, atmosphere, fun, no pressure in a wonderful building with an amazing soul … we love what we do and from what you tell us, that shows!
And as for our two most asked questions … the name stems from a good few glasses of great red wine and two vivid imaginations and no, I’m an industrial chemist’s daughter but it didn't have quite the same ring!!