Tucked away in ‘De kleine Hallen’, just behind the popular de Hallen in Amsterdam West, you’ll find the Gathershop, owned by Jessica Chapman. Jessica moved to Amsterdam from the UK many years ago and fell in love with the city .. and her husband. We speak to her about her beautiful shop and appreciation for craftsmanship, connection and minimalist design.
We visit Jessica as the shop has just re-opened. Entering the shop, we’re welcomed by the wonderful warm smells of scented candles and incense. The shops is filled with handmade objects for the home, jewellery, stationary and more.
Jessica believes in the unique value of simple things. At the Gathershop, she sells a collection of things that she herself loves being surrounded by, which is felt in the attention and care with which she’s designed the shop. All objects sold at Gathershop are crafted with the same attention to detail, by small designers from all over the world.
(Sandals pictured by Nulla Nomen, sustainable leather)
(Scents by PF Candle Company)
When did you start Gathershop, what’s your story?
“I started the shop five years ago, on the Van Woustraat. Before that, Gathershop was a market stand. I used to do markets and bike everything on my bakfiets, that’s how this all started. I have a background in Architecture and Interior Design but never felt like working in an office was for me, I’ve always wanted to have a shop and sell beautiful things. I slowly started building this up.
Why have you chosen this selection of products?
“I specifically wanted to sell handmade things from small designers. I too enjoy making things for myself. Every object I sell, there is a connection with the person who made it. That makes it so special.. Nothing comes from a factory or is mass produced.”
Have you always wanted to own a shop?
“I did, but I had no idea how to start it. I had this dream of starting a shop and sell nice things.. But not sure how.. I remember sitting down one day and telling my husband: I want to quit my job and start a shop.” My husband doubted at first! To him it sounded like it came out of nowhere but I’d been thinking about it forever. But then he quickly realised that I knew what I was doing. I had a really nice job at an interior desgin studio at the time, that I knew I had to quit. I did the markets for a year and then started the shop on the Van Woustraat. (Jessica and Femme met around that time). For the first year I was always in the shop 6 days a week, working my butt off, but at the same time, enjoying my little space so much. "
Cylia; “I think when it’s both scary and exciting at the same time, that’s where the magic happens, that’s when you know you have something. It was always my dream to start my own clothing label but I never knew if I would ever start it. I think it's important to stick to something for a while, whatever that may be, get some work experience and then over time you realise what you want. It's rare if you find something you really love doing when you finish school.”
Jessica: “Yes, you pick the wrong thing first, and you’ll realise what makes you really happy and what kind of work you enjoy doing. Good things will come naturally if it’s your passion and if you put all your energy into it.”
(Lovely poem postcards by CRM Rijmpjes)
What do you hope or think to be the silver lining of this strange time?
“I genuinely hope we will consume less and better. I think people already have that consciousness a bit more now. Who made this object? What is it made of? Buy less.. And if you buy, buy quality. What I guess hope will change is the supply chain in general. And I hope people realise we cannot keep consuming like this. Within our communities, we can stay smaller and stay closer. Friends are now even more special than before. Since people could only work and be at home, I think we will realise how important things like art, theatre and cinema are. There was not a lot of fun happening. You couldn’t have any of the things that give the quality and excitement of life. I hope we realise what is fundamentally important: it’s less, smaller, community. I hope that is how we will continue into the future. It would be stupid it we go back to the way things were. Normal wasn’t any good.”
Hannie Dankbaarpassage 19, De Hallen, Amsterdam
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