This month our spotlight business is Crystal Palace shop: The Indigo Tree, a family-owned gift and card shop packed with options for all ages.
Found on Westow Street, The Indigo Tree stocks an eclectic range of affordable cards, gift wrap and gifts including home and garden ware, foodie treats, fashion, novelties and accessories for all ages from new baby gifts, pocket money toys and right up to birthday cards for 100 year olds.
Keeping prices affordable, including 6 for 5 bundle offer on cards and a loyalty card scheme means The Indigo Tree has built a reliable reputation as a trusted one-stop-shop for gifts for all occasions, ages and budgets. So much so, that The Indigo Tree was named Best Gift Shop within the M25 in 2020, at The Greats Gift Retailer Awards following a surprise nomination.
We sat down with Harriet de Wolff, co-owner to find out more. The Westow St shop is second branch of The Indigo Tree opening in November 2019, just in time to join the #SE19Lates Christmas evening shopping events.
The Indigo Tree story started in 2013 when Harriet and husband Adam were walking along Streatham High Rd, pondering a career adjustment and saw the perfect vacant double-fronted shop. After a little research they identified the landlord, arranged a viewing, and not long after: a set of keys, a lease, a refit and a brand new family business was born.
Together with Adam's background in TV and Harriet’s in events and fashion meant that they have a great eye for merchandising, creating an experience and pleasing an audience. Harriet sees a many similarities between hosting events and creating an inviting in-store experience, and aims to offer much more than chainstore card shops. "You really want to give your customers a vision and give them lots of ideas. Lovely cards, wrapping, gift ideas and inevitably people often go home with something for themselves too."
The team constantly brainstorms and challenges themselves to come up with great gift ideas for all ages, so that they are ready to provide advice to customers when they are looking for an elusive gift for an auntie, co-worker, the 43-year old sister-in-law who has everything; or a 9 year-old (or 29-year old) with an enduring love for Jellycats.
Sustainable sourcing is definitely an important factor too. The Indigo Tree doesn't stock glitter. When it comes to cards, many come unwrapped and their suppliers are looking at more compostable options including rice-wrapping for cards.
It truly is a family business. As well as Adam, all of their three children have been involved, from their oldest daughter helping out as a teenager in the early days and middle son managing the Crystal Palace shop, until very recently. Their youngest daughter has just come on board as a full-time member of the team.
Let's not forget marketing manager Doris, family dog who is half-whippet, half Bedlington Terrier, has her own Instagram account and splits her time between Streatham and Crystal Palace (but doesn't work weekends). Doris is a remarkably calm member of staff and sits in the window, watching the world go by and welcoming customers and fans. And yes, The Indigo Tree is dog-friendly, of course!
All the family has a great love for Crystal Palace. They live nearby and spent a lot of time in the local area as a family, before opening the Westow St branch. Harriet remarks on the friendliness and small market town feel of the Crystal Palace Triangle, compared to Streatham's long two-mile high street, which has a very different feel.
"Crystal Palace is a place that feels like a little town, where you get to know your customers by their names".
Opening in SE19 just 3-months before the pandemic struck means, despite the unusual trading circumstances, the family and staff have got to know their customers even more over the last two years and have seen so much change, including setting up an online shop from scratch, home delivery service and click & collect.
The team definitely felt the community love even more strongly in the aftermath of a recent break-in, where customers and neighbouring businesses rallied with coffee, cakes, emergency glazing contacts and helped The Indigo Tree team feel really supported. Special thank yous to Paul from Colairo's, Nama Cake House, Streets Ahead, the ShopSE19 trader community and locals for leaping in to provide support and advice.
Looking ahead, Harriet and Adam are just putting their finishing touches to Christmas shopping and orders for 2022, if you can believe it. But there's plenty to look forward to before then, including nifty ideas like weatherproof outdoor solar lanterns, cocktail mixers and treats from the Easter bunny.
Come on up, browse the site and get a loyalty card which will earn you points on every purchase. Browse The Indigo Tree online.
Find more Spotlight businesses on the ShopSE19 blog, including Aurora Fitness & Wellness, The Boutique at Haynes Lane, Colairo's and Sefgrove. If there's a local business that you'd love to see included on our blog, come and tell us @ShopSE19 on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
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