The pretty town of Falmouth in Cornwall may be best known for beaches and cream teas, but that's not all it has to offer. It's inspiring a new generation of creative entrepreneurs too.
With a population of just 21,797, the town boasts over 200 independent outlets within three square miles, catering for 750,000 visitors each year. And that business opportunity is attracting female designers, makers and retailers to its busy streets.
Take Cream Cornwall, co-owned by Rebecca Heane and Allison Hughes, who design and create all of their patterns and products from their studio above their flagship shop in Falmouth. The brand is inspired by the colours of Cornwall: its ever-changing skies, wild and rugged coastline, sandy coves and sheltered creeks.
“Falmouth is such an interesting place to live because it’s not as seasonal as many other seaside towns," says co-owner Allison Hughes. "The town and its surroundings influence everything in our creative process and this is reflected within our designs. We also have, without doubt, the best office view in the world overlooking the historical marina and the maritime industry.”
There's also Willow & Stone, created by Sarah Willshaw, which sources and sells door furniture, period fittings and traditional quality products, as well as beautiful stationery and homewares, all complementing its ecommerce site. The company ethos encourages all employees to choose between part-time or full-time so they can build and nurture their own projects outside of their day jobs.
"The high-street is a friendly, supportive place and we’re really proud of the fact that we have a huge selection of independent shops, amazing food outlets and creative businesses," says Sarah Willshaw. "Success here comes from staying true to your core values, listening to your customers and above all offering amazing customer service.”
As a final example of creative entrepreneurship in Falmouth, Toro Studio is home to handmade ceramics, botanical wares and musings. Hidden in a cobbled courtyard that once housed a brewery, this house and indoor plant specialist is run by Tor Harrison. It also offers a plant styling and consultation service, working with local designers and makers to create bespoke planters.
“The Cornish landscape really fuels my creativity," says Tor Harrison. "I have always loved working with and being surrounded by plants and my shop is a small, calming oasis in the centre of Falmouth, bursting with greenery. Bringing plants into our work spaces and homes can powerfully transform the dynamics and mood of a space, bringing life, vitality, colour and scent, which in turn have a positive effect on us."