Lola & SiDney 5th Birthday
Posted on June 10 2020
It has been 5 years since we opened the doors at Lola & SiDney. Join us as we take a look back at how it all started and the journey along the way.
"We named a shop after our house rabbits"
In May 2015, we took a walk to a pet shop in Wimbledon to get some treats for our 2 house rabbits and on the way back, saw a 'for rent' sign in an empty shop window. Phil had been interested in all things vintage and quirky for awhile and the idea of having our own shop suddenly seemed a reality. For Kevin, this also seemed a perfect way to curb Phil's hobby of filling the house with quirky curiosities!
Once home, we opened the bag of treats for SiDney and Mildred (we had lost Lola earlier in February 2015) and once both buns were treaty-content, we called the number advertised on the empty shop.
We visited the shop the next day and said yes immediately and signed the lease and got the keys the very same week. Previously, the shop had been used as an estate agent so we ripped up the grey carpets, the false-ceiling and endless office shelving. Underneath revealed a beautiful building with an old ceiling gas light pipe on the inside and the stunning Crown feathers on the outside pillars showing its past history as a Crown Post Office.
Elegant and happy, Lola was our 1st house bunny who joined us in September 2008. She would happily watch the World go by in our South London home and had numerous facial expressions. We sadly lost Lola in February 2015.
Cheeky, verging on naughty, SiDney joined Lola in 2009. The capital D in SiDney, is due to him being constantly called 'SiD!" with an emphasis on the D. SiDney is now over 11 years old, and while his joints may be a bit slower his cheeky personality remains at full speed!
812 Garratt Lane, London (June 2015)
After completing the shop fit-out in 2 weeks of getting the keys, we were ready to open the doors!
Our quirky window displays were stopping traffic and we soon built up regular customers and even got a mention in The Times as a place to visit in Tooting and won an award as runner up for best independent retailer in the Timeout 2016 awards.
Call of the sea and the countryside
On our rare days off, we ventured out by train to seaside towns (Phil's favourite) and countryside towns (Kevin's favourite).
During a trip to Hastings in October 2018, we took a short trip across to Rye. We both had never heard of Rye and enjoyed looking around the cobbled streets and endless independent retailers. Back home, the next morning we had an alert for a commercial property for lease ... in Rye. Was now the time to move from London?
The following week we made our 2nd trip to Rye to visit the shop up for lease. After seeing the shop, we sat outside with a bag of chips between us and said 'what if we took it?'. The same day, we paid a holding a deposit and so the big move began.
Moving from London to Rye (November 2018)
Moving 2 businesses (the Tooting shop and Kevin's business), a flat we had lived in for 10 years and 2 house rabbits...all within a few weeks?! It was happening!
SiD's 1st day in Rye
29A High Street, Rye (December 2018)
After getting the keys, it was a case of deja vu with getting the shop fitted out and ready to open in less than 10 days. Rye is a beautiful town with numerous independent retailers and historic streets and buildings. Situated between the countryside and the beach, it was perfect for both of us.
June 2020 marks five years of Lola & SiDney. We launched the online shop earlier this year and you can find most of the products in-store, now online.
We're so glad of the little coincidences, a random trip to buy bunny treats in 2015 and a spontaneous trip to Rye in 2018, that have lead to all the things we have today.
Thank you to you for being with us on our journey.
Ps Mildred joined SiDney in 2015 🐰 Could we see a spin-off shop called 'Mildred' in the future? 😉