IN THE SPOTLIGHT
JACQUI EDMISTON AND MICHELLE AITKEN Founding partners of Verve Living tell us all about their love for interiors Tell us a bit about your background... JE: I’m a bit nomadic; I was born just south of Manchester, but moved when I was eight to South Africa and have since lived all over the place. By far the longest I’ve lived anywhere is Singapore, where I stayed for over 17 years. I returned from there to the UK and settled in Bath nearly six years ago. MA: My dad was in the army so I also feel I have no roots as such. Places I’ve called home are London (15 years) and Bath (15 years). What did you want to be when you were little? JE: An air stewardess – though, in truth, that was much more about travelling the world than a burning desire to wait on people. MA: Me too. I always loved the uniform. What was your first job? JE: Selling advertising space on a business magazine based in London. Not very exciting, but great training and a wonderful team of people. MA: An account exec at WCRS which is now some global agency whose name I’ve lost track of. My career in advertising really was the most fun you can have with your clothes on. The switch to being an interior stylist was a gradual one following my move to Bath, as, although the creative and people skills translated easily, I had to earn my stripes all over again. How did Verve Living first come about? JE: From a desire to showcase interiors that reflect the way real people actually live; so old and new pieces placed together, creatively curated and stylishly presented. We’d already tested this theory out in a pop-up shop the year before we opened Verve, and it seemed to resonate with people, so we decided to finetune the offering and take the plunge. We also wanted to champion local artists and makers and have tried hard to make sure we only source in Britain: that’s a hard ask at times but it’s important to us. What do you feel are the most rewarding aspects of your work? JE & MA: Meeting and chatting to the people that come into Verve. We’re obviously biased but we do have some lovely customers, many of whom really ‘get’ what we’re trying to do with Verve – whether that’s ethos, space, products, or all three. And that’s especially satisfying. How do you stay motivated? JE: Funnily enough, I don’t find it hard to stay 114 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk
motivated, I think because it’s our business and ultimately the buck stops with us. I never imagined I’d have my own business and am surprised at how rewarding it has been. MA: Agreed. I was self-employed prior to Verve and loved it, but setting up a ‘proper’ business has been uber stimulating. I think if you enjoy what you do, motivation really isn’t an issue.
Michelle and Jacqui had a variety of jobs before deciding to run a business
What makes your business stand out from others? MA: It sounds a bit clichéd, but we really wanted to create something that was more than just another interiors shop. Right from the word go it’s been as much about the Verve ‘experience’ as the products we sell: so as well as a light, airy, uncluttered space, unique products and great customer service, we have run workshops and regular events and are always looking at new ways of encouraging creativity. What future plans do you have for Verve? JE: Being a small business (there’s just the two of us) we take one step at a time and try not get too ahead of ourselves. We are planning to do more events, are actively looking at some exciting collaborations and are constantly looking to improve what we offer. What was the proudest moment for the company? JE: Without a doubt, opening the doors in September 2015. After all the months of hard work, it felt so good! MA: That was a great moment, but I think I felt most proud at our first anniversary party: the great turnout, the positive commentary and the fact that people truly seemed to feel we were offering something different. Anything about you that might surprise us? JE: I have a love of all things ABBA, and a tendency to dance embarrassingly to anything from the 80s. MA: I’m just your regular gal with a man, kids, dog, and a love of creativity in all its many glorious forms. For more: www.verveliving.uk
IT’S BEEN AS MUCH ABOUT THE VERVE ‘EXPERIENCE’ AS THE PRODUCTS WE SELL