People of Our High Road: Sarah from The Chiswick Gift Company

Our High Road: What brought you to Chiswick & when? Sarah, The Chiswick Gift Company: I am one of a very rare breed of native Chiswickians!  Born and bred in Stamford Brook, escaped to Notting Hill for 10 years in the 90’s and then moved back to buy our first house.

OHR: What was the motivation behind creating The Chiswick Gift Company? S: I had three babies in a year!! Yeah, really silly.  My daughter was 3 months old when I fell pregnant with identical twin boys.  I had a background in graphic design and back in 2002, when the children were still toddlers, I started designing activity books that were super irreverent to grown-ups but still educational (and never naughty) - it was a style that wasn’t really around at the time and along with the award winning memory books I created, things flew pretty quickly.  My first trade show was during the boys’ first week at school.

OHR: What's your proudest moment in retail?  

S: Too many!  A huge purchase order from Colette in Paris was pretty special.  Taking my family to Downing Street for a female entrepreneur awards do was lovely.  I’ve won, been shortlisted or highly commended in the Gift of the Year Awards 14 times now I think, I’ve won Practical Parenting Awards and various other mum awards!!  But then I was at my stand at The Spirit of Christmas last year and a woman came up to me and said that she had bought our Christmas Yearbook for her sister in law 14 years ago and her sister in law still tells her it was the best gift she’d ever received (I actually had a tear in my eyes) - she was then joined by another few women who had just happened to hear us talking, all of whom have used the Yearbook for over a decade and agreed it would be thing they saved in a fire!

OHR: Do you have a favourite thing you sell? S: Right now I’m loving my “Big Girl Pants On” iron on tags - because it’s part of the newest range.  

OHR: What makes you happiest in your work? S: It sounds so trite, but every time an order email pings into my inbox, I get excited.   I love the process of a lightbulb moment in my chaotic head that I’m able to see through to looking at it on a shelf in a shop or making a magazine’s Christmas gift list…. it’s a real ride!

OHR: Do you have a local guilty pleasure you're willing to share? S: I have never been able to walk past the police station and not walk on the pebbled bit just outside.  It threatens to sprain my ankle every time but I just can’t not do it.

OHR: What would you do if you were in charge of Chiswick for a day? S: I’d make an outdoor Christmas market on one of the Sundays that the flower market isn’t trading!!

OHR: How do you unwind after a busy day? S: Our family have always eaten together every evening.  If you’re in the house, you eat at the kitchen table - no question and it’s a brilliant time to catch up on news and there’s generally more laughter than tears.  We’ll then all go separate ways and I’ll then lie on the sofa watching box sets eating chocolate in the half dark…. I’ve ruined some quite beautiful sweaters with chocolate crumbs.  

OHR: At the moment I'm most looking forward to…

S: Lying on the sofa eating chocolate.

OHR: Chiswick House or Mosaic House? S: Unfair!! Not comparable.  Growing up, I used to walk down Prebend Gardens where they had a painted house that had a similar vibe to Mosaic House - it was really cool :D.   Chiswick House has been a lifeline during lockdown and beyond.  It’s where I meet my best mate for a socially distanced walk once a week and it’s where we would attempt to tire our three children out when they were little.  

A big thank you to Sarah, and thank you too for reading.... more coming soon in our People of Our High Road series.

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Sarah's socials: Insta | Facebook | Twitter

Our High Road's socials: Insta | Facebook | Twitter

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