“I think I must have talked it up,” laughs Lottie Day. 

Earlier this year the Norwich-based print-maker was talking to her husband about how one day she would like to find premises in the city where she could have a studio and a retail space to showcase her designs and products by her favourite indie makers.  

Fast forward from that casual conversation to the end of September, and, after a few frenzied weeks of learning on the job how to make shop fittings, the playfully-named Handstand opened its doors at the Earlham Road shopping centre. 

Eastern Daily Press:

Lottie, who is known for her wildlife and botanical-inspired homewares, had formerly run a gallery at the Assembly House in the city, then took time out to have family. 

“I really enjoyed running the gallery, but I wanted to have some time to be a new mum.

“But it was always on the cards that I wanted to open another shop or gallery space. I was talking to my husband, saying that it would be really nice to do it, and about the streets in Norwich where I’d like to have a shop - and I said I wasn’t in any hurry and I’d wait for one to appear. 

“The next day we walked past here, which was one of my locations, and the butcher’s had put a sign up saying that they’d closed.” 

After expressing an interest in taking over the premises, things started moving a lot more swiftly than Lottie had expected. 

“It was quite a quick turnaround - from the moment of ‘oh the butcher’s gone’, and then signing the papers and getting the keys was literally a space of a few weeks,” she says. 

With a tight budget, Lottie had to get hands-on to renovate the shop. 

“I learned to make shop fittings very quickly and spent a few weeks scrubbing and painting and building shelves and counters. It was lots of fun making it and I got very into borrowing my friends’ power tools,” she says.  

Eastern Daily Press:

Then came the next fun part – choosing what to put on the shelves. 

It’s a gorgeous shop – and has already become known for its cheerful window displays which change with the seasons. 

Alongside Lottie’s own designs, she sells a curated range of goods by local makers including knitwear and toys by Sally Nencini, eco-conscious homewares by The Chemist’s Daughter, Christmas decorations crafted by makers based around the city including Heart of Glass and Katie Whittaker, ceramics by Ros Arrowsmith, by.noo and Humbleyard, cushions by Victoria Hyde, accessories by Form Norfolk and prints and cards by Printer Johnson, Petra Boase, Jo Stafford, Design Smith and Kate Read. There is also a selection of houseplants sourced by Planted, which is based on Norwich Market. 
Eastern Daily Press:

Lottie also stocks some of her favourite indie brands from further afield, such as vintage-inspired Christmas garlands by East End Press, geometric decorations by Acorn and Will, Solemate socks, which are made from recycled jumpers, Cambridge-based Ark’s leather keyrings, candle holders by Block Design and candles by British Colour Standard

“The shop was meant to be about fun and colour and exciting things and I’ve filled them with lots of things that I love,” she says. 

“We’ve got Sally’s lovely knitwear – supersoft yumminess which is made just round the corner from here. And The Chemist’s Daughter is another local maker, who makes beautiful plant hangers out of a material called jesmonite, which is like an eco-friendly resin. 

“Another local maker is Form, which does cotton necklaces and headbands - they’ve been really popular for Christmas presents.  

“And we’ve got a huge range of cards. My studio used to be next door to Petra Boase’s, so she was a must to have in the shop. And we have Design Smith’s cards and prints, Printer Johnson and cards by Kate Read, who is a children’s book illustrator. 

“Because I’ve been making my own stuff for such a long time and have been to lots of different craft fairs and trade fairs you meet other stall holders and then when I was opening the shop I was able to fill it with work by all my friends. And I have a list as long as my arm that I want to come in.” 

If you’ve got some presents to tick off your list, here are some suggestions from Handstand. 

Sally Nencini bobble hats, £40, snoods, £40 and scarves, from £75 

Eastern Daily Press:

Brighten up their winter walk with colourful knitwear by Norwich-based designer Sally Nencini.  

Victoria Hyde cushion, £60 

Eastern Daily Press:

Norwich-based Victoria uses scrap wool to create cushions inspired by Persian rugs. 

The Chemist’s Daughter plant pot holder, £42, and incense holder, £14 

Eastern Daily Press:

Norfolk-based The Chemist’s Daughter makes gorgeous homewares which evolved out of a desire to live a life with less plastic. These plant pot holders and incense holders are made out of jesmonite, an eco-friendly resin. 

Lottie Day napkin gift sets, from £45 

Eastern Daily Press:

Lottie’s napkins, which are made at her studio at Handstand, are printed on natural cotton. The illustration on these festive robin napkins is inspired by the wildlife in her mother’s Norfolk garden.  

Sally Nencini mini monkey, £24 

Eastern Daily Press:

These cheeky monkeys, suitable for big kids and well as little ones, are machine knitted in Sally’s Norwich studio using soft lambswool. 

Form Norfolk necklace, £22 

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These gorgeous accessories are made in Norwich from recycled cotton cord. 

Mugs from by.noo ceramics, £28, and Humbleyard, £30 

Eastern Daily Press:

Know someone who can't start the day without caffeine? Elevate their morning cuppa with a gorgeous hand-made mug. Humbleyard and by.noo are both based in Norfolk. 

Rainbow splatter butter dish, Ros Arrowsmith, £45 

Eastern Daily Press:

Ceramicist Ros first saw this unusual type of butter dish as a teenager when she babysat for a French woman. 

Handstand is at Earlham Road shopping centre, Norwich. To see the latest arrivals follow on Instagram @handstandnorwich