I'd like to introduce you to a series of new posts on Little Birdie that all feature some of my favourite places here in Yorkshire. It's a pretty big year for this county with the Tour de France setting off from Leeds on Saturday 5 July 2014. Many visitors will be heading this way, maybe some of you too, so I thought it would be a nice idea to highlight some of my favourite places or stores that are definitely worth looking out for. First up is a bit of a cracker - the wonderful and ever so quirky Chirpy.
I visit Chirpy as often as I can and it's a delight chatting with the lovely owner, Harriet. She like me, admits that she loves to shop! And she's really, really good at it. I asked her a few questions about Chirpy and where she likes to visit in Yorkshire.
Well hello there
! Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hello! I’m Harriet, in my mid 30s and own and run a shop and workshop space called Chirpy which is in Chapel Allerton, north Leeds. I’m a bit of a nerd really, and love learning and finding out new things, with quite a few interests from design, crafts, nature, the environment, people and cultures, and like to chill out in my spare time doing yoga, going for walks, or having an explore somewhere new.
Where did the idea come from for 'Chirpy'?
I found it really difficult in Leeds to find family and friends cool unique cards and presents that were still affordable. There was a real niche for a quirky gift shop, and the more I thought about it and did a bit of research into starting a business, the more I thought I could maybe do it myself.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love that there are so many different aspects to running a business, from finding cool new stock, to chatting with customers, doing accounts, marketing the shop and workshops, pulling together the workshop programmes, and even cleaning, I really thrive from the variability and that no day is the same! I also love being part of the local community in Chapel Allerton, there’s so many great things going on, and so many lovely people.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
From everywhere! Things that I see online, especially Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook, art exhibitions, craft fairs, other shops and galleries, things on telly, as well as meeting new people and learning about their lives and experiences.
What's your own style like at home?
Quite minimal Scandi style furniture, with lots of bright colourful fun niknacks! Friends often joke that I opened the shop as I ran out of room at home to put things!
What are your current favourite products on sale at Chirpy?
It changes all the time, but as I’m so excited about Le Tour coming to Yorkshire, I would have to say the cool cycling prints and cards, as well as some ace bike wall stickers. So basically anything with a bicycle on at the moment!
What are your future plans for Chirpy?
To put together a workshop party package for kids parties, hen dos and birthdays and the like. And to do more workshops just for kids too. Want to get as many people getting creative as possible, and for them to have a bit of fun!
What's your favourite place to visit in Yorkshire and why?
There’s too many! I’m a bit of a birdwatching geek, so love going to the great Yorkshire Wildlife and RSPB reserves, Bempton Cliffs especially as you can get so close to thousands of birds and watch the gannets diving into the sea.
Have you a hidden gem in Yorkshire?
The place I get so excited about going to is Red Brick Mill, love it as there are so many different shops and brands under one roof, as well as a couple of cafes, can literally spend the whole day there. Though leave the credit card at home!
Thank you so much Harriet for taking the time to answer my questions. Isn't her store just gorgeous? I'm in love with all the quirky details she uses to display her products - especially that rake for the jewellery! And I'm seriously lusting after that wallpaper in the top image - it's by Jessica Hogarth and is called Coastal Cottages.
Check out the range of workshops on the website too as there are some brilliant courses in screenprinting, sewing and photography (and many more too!).
All photographs taken by me. Please do not use without my permission thanks.