Shop-In-Pods Emporium in Ashford gets off to a flying start

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Earlier this year, Shop-In-Pods Emporium launched in Ashford, transforming an empty warehouse on Henwood Industrial Estate into a hub for small businesses to sell their handmade items under one roof.

Now, the team are pleased to announce their grand opening event, which will take place on 25th and Sunday 26th March 2023.


On these dates, the first 50 groups of people that come through the door will receive a £10 voucher that can be spent anywhere within the Emporium that day.There will be a £50 prize draw every hour and food and drinks will be available, with a proportion of this going to charity, along with a few other surprises!

The brainchild of husband-and-wife team Simon and Clare Herst, who run a bespoke upcycled furniture store called Clare’s Boutique and Shabby Chic, Shop-In-Pods was born from a passion to help small, independent businesses in Kent grow.

Simon and Clare have been on an expansion journey since establishing their business in 2014 – and this inspired them to support smaller traders in a similar position to their own to develop in one space.


At Shop-In-Pods, businesses can rent a shopping 'pod' or display cabinets to sell their items alongside other sellers. The Emporium offers a unique selling community which champions bespoke and rare items made by locals.

Since opening in January, Shop-In-Pods has gone from success to success. Currently, up to 40 sellers are trading from the Emporium. This is expected to increase to around 100 within the next 10 to 12 weeks.

Simon explains: “The feedback we are getting is that this is a remarkable and bespoke offer. We are being classed as the gift Emporium of Ashford. We are filling the pods and display cabinets, and the footfall is growing and growing every single week.”

Simon and Clare are excited about what the future holds for the business. They say that Shop-In-Pods will be hosting Meet the Maker evenings, charitable events and an art gallery-style evening where people come in and have drinks and food and can shop accordingly.


Let’s meet some of the sellers at Shop-In-Pods Emporium…

Amanda's Upholstery: Based at the Beach hut pod, Amanda's Upholstery specialises in traditional upholstery, bringing old and tired chairs back to their full glory. The business uses eco-friendly, sustainable materials and fabrics from high-quality UK suppliers, as well as hardwood frames from a local framemaker. Amanda also designs new footstools and ottomans for retail or on a commission basis.

Fuller Love Beauty by Laura Jane: Laura is a sales leader with her own successful team for AVON cosmetics. She started her journey with AVON in August 2022 and is passionate about selling beauty products for the reputable global brand locally. Although advertised as a company for women, Laura has some amazing products for men too.

Iris Jane Home Scents: Founded by Rebecca Abbott, Iris Jane Home Scents creates all things yummy smelling for the home – from wax melts and candles to room mists, reed diffusers and carpet fresheners. All products are vegan-friendly, and the candles and wax melts are hand-poured using soy wax.


Twisted Treasures: Twisted Treasures is run by independent designer/maker Nathan, who creates beautiful, one-of-a-kind statement pieces from cameras, instruments and wood. All pieces are handcrafted with love and attention to detail, using high-quality materials and traditional techniques, with an emphasis on locally-sourced materials to ensure they are as eco-friendly as possible.

Amor Fashion: Amor Fashion offers women easy-to-wear, comfortable clothes for all body shapes and sizes together with stylish accessories that will complement any outfit. Owner Amy started Amor in 2020 because she wanted to bring her love of fashion to Bexley and make women feel great about themselves all year round. She has now expanded the business to Ashford, with specially selected items including handbags, purses, scarves and clothing sold at the Shop-In-Pods Emporium.


Rustic Badger: Born in lockdown 2021, Rustic Badger specialises in upcycling whiskey barrels which have held liquor for at least 40 years into home bars, home décor, household items, rustic furniture and other fun, unique items. Owner Chris takes great pride in being sustainable, using all of the whiskey barrel so nothing is wasted. Rustic Badger offers bespoke, personalised items and Chris also creates wall art from old vinyl records and reclaimed oak.


Clare's Boutique & Shabby Chic: The home of quality, bespoke and upcycled furniture, Clare's Boutique & Shabby Chic is an established family business based in Canterbury and now Ashford. Established in 2014, it has built an excellent reputation across Kent, with two physical locations, as well as an online store. Clare's Boutique & Shabby Chic’s unique furniture pieces are available for collection or local delivery, and the brand is also a stockist of Frenchic Furniture Paint®.

On top of the pods themselves, Shop-In-Pods Emporium also features display cabinets for a range of sellers, including Giftsly, Lily Rose Designs, Debbie Hughes Art, Hand Made by Sabrina, Lara Joly Craft, Rays of Resin, Made by Maria, Loobieloo's Boutique, Creative Links and more.

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