Saxmundham > Shopping
East of Eden, Saxmundham
East of Eden is situated in the market town of Saxmundham, just behind Waitrose. We caught up with the owner, Graham Hunter to find out more about his business.
Can you tell us a little bit about your business?
We are an independent bricks and mortar store in Saxmundham, Suffolk selling homeware, ceramics, textiles and gifts. We’re housed in a small grade II listed barn, and strive to offer customers simple, decorative, and functional items that can be used and enjoyed everyday. To us, ‘modern’ is an approach, not a style. We seek out products with a lasting aesthetic that transcend short-lived trends.
What gave you the inspiration for your business?
Travel and great design. We’re inspired by those people who pursue their creative talent and make beautiful products. It’s brilliant to explain to customers where our products come from, who made them, and in many cases the maker’s story and background. We wanted East of Eden to always be about great UK based makers’ work – but to balance that with a global look and feel. There’s hints of Asia, Scandinavia and Africa in the product ranges but the overall ‘look’ is still cohesive because of its clever design.
What makes your business unique?
We try really hard to source products that customers haven’t already seen elsewhere. It’s about finding makers and brands that are small, and who are focused on quality and sustainability. We never buy in bulk – meaning products come and go very quickly, so there’s always something new for our customers to see when they visit. The stock changes very regularly and that variety and element of surprise is crucial to being competitive. Balancing that with larger, more established brands means we can offer customers the best of both worlds. We are never trend-led, we buy products we love and would have in our own home.
What do you love most about what you do?
The variety of owning a shop is fantastic as you have to use so many different skills. Meeting people every day is brilliant fun and having that human connection never gets tired. Every decision is one that doesn’t need to be approved or signed off – so the autonomy of being a business owner is amazing. In addition, it’s a job that introduces you to creative people who become a part of your own network. It’s a fantastic feeling when you ‘discover’ a maker/product that you just know is going to be well received by your customers. Retail is very immediate, you know where you are quickly and can react quickly as a result.
After visiting, where would you recommend grabbing a coffee?
Saxmundham has a lot of independent businesses offering lovely beverages – The No.1 Bakery, Truffels et Al, The Edge, VELA Gallery, The Bell Hotel – and for those that love their chains, we even have a Costa!
What is your favourite thing to do in Suffolk on your day off?
There’s nothing better than a stroll along the coastline to blow the cobwebs away, and then treating yourself to an ice cream (Harris & James is hands down our favourite). Sundays are all about a visit to Sizewell Beach to get a sausage bap and a hash brown from Sizewell Tea to nurse the inevitable hangover!
Get in contact
East of Eden
The Old Barn, Fromus Square