Little Acorns was the first Teamwoodcraft shop to open and so we wanted something very special. It had to embody the Teamwoodcraft principles of great product design and production but it also had to nestle into a heritage park. After many discussions, pondering, self examination, drawings and re-drawings we finally came up with the solution. The Little Acorns shop was to mirror the age of the widely visited tourism and heritage site and so we undertook even further research. I even roped in my Nana (May Finnerty). I have spoken of her in a couple of interviews as she was such a huge inspiration to me. I needed her input as we needed to ensure that we produced an authentic shopping experience from a time gone by.
We wanted to sell the usual tourism items, unusual toys, pieces of Teamwoodcraft furniture, specialised hand made soaps (which we sliced and wrapped), unique covetable books and items. As we take great care with our product finishes and customer service in our workshop, we wanted to ensure that we also recreated that in the Little Acorns Shop. Every item purchased – no matter how small – was hand wrapped with old fashioned brown paper which was pulled from a specially recreated hand roller and cutter. The staff cut the paper, wrapped neatly and tied with a choice of several ribbons (hung on a specially designed and constructed ribbon holder) and then the official Teamwoodcraft Little Acorns label was loving attached. They even wore Teamwoodcraft Little Acorns old fashioned brown haberdashery aprons.
As the shop was planted firmly in the middle of Castlecomer Discovery Park (a mining heritage park) we wanted to give our customers an experience which started the minute they walked through our door but yet have the Teamwoodcraft mark of quirkyness. This retail space revolved around a unique piece designed to show the level of expertise in the workshop. It is a display unit which houses plenty of storage underneath, accessible via lead crystal handles. The shape is unusual, as is the combination of mouldings. Its made from solid mahogany. To keep the quirky and young feel, we created scaled down wardrobes to display goods, old fashioned display presses and a gothic library piece to display our rare books.
The piece de resistance was the front of the counter which we had painted in our signature colour and the panels then inserted with images of victoriana. The real test was the day Nana came to visit. She was my first customer and I waited with baited breath to see her reaction. I wanted her to understand the level of research, the lenghts we went to accurately create the period and the atmosphere. She walked slowly around, touching the wood, running her fingers along the grain. At last she stood before me and said “I feel as if i have gone back in time, it’s amazing!” and I knew then we had done our job. As I wrapped her purchase she was still absorbing everything, taking in every detail, we had bewitched her and I understood that this was a moment I would remember forever.