“As well as working full time in the shop, I am also in charge of buying and sourcing new, innovative, and preferably sustainable items for Cowdray Lifestyle across a range of prices. We stock everything from smaller items perfect for a birthday gift to more investment homeware pieces.”
Claire Stammers, Cowdray Lifestyle Retail Manager and Buyer
What is your role at Cowdray Lifestyle?
As well as working full-time in the shop, I am also in charge of buying and sourcing new, innovative, and preferably sustainable items for Cowdray Lifestyle across a range of prices. We stock everything from smaller items perfect for a birthday gift to more investment homeware pieces.
I try and focus on British made products with a sustainable theme and choose things which are not only sympathetic to the West Sussex country area and our customer base but also items which can be displayed in the shop. The categories which sell well are premium homewares, country home and lifestyle, items for dogs and gardening themed products as well as luxury gifts such as candles.
Customers are also keen on the scarves, jewellery and the high-quality children’s products which sell well. The bestselling teddy is a sausage dog! We also have a range of carefully selected cards and wrapping paper.
And what do you enjoy most about it?
It’s a fun role. Working for Cowdray is a privilege, and I love meeting people. I get to chat with a diverse range of customers who are genuinely interested not only in our products but also learning what’s on offer at Cowdray.
We have a local regular customer base from the Midhurst and surrounding area who pop in regularly for smaller things like a birthday card as well as tourists from all over the country, and indeed the world. Often, they are staying at Cowdray House for a wedding or an event and enjoy exploring the Estate during their stay.
We recently had a couple from New Zealand as well as a group of Canadians, who were fun to chat to.
Do you have a long-term vision for the shop?
I am always looking for new products which we think our customers will like. I am also keen to continue developing key categories of the business that are performing well and we are always wanting to spread the word about Cowdray Lifestyle.
What was your job before coming to Cowdray? And had your heard of Cowdray?
I spent eight years at an independent department store and heard of the role through a colleague who I now work with at Cowdray. To be honest before I started working here, I knew very little about Cowdray, but my children always enjoyed spotting the yellow windows when driving to West Wittering.
Do you work with a team?
I work with Hannah Hyde, who runs the shop in my absence and who helps me with ideas for new products as well as how they are presented in the shop. We are also aligned to the Farm Shop team and supported by the wider Estate.
Can you tell us about some of the products that you sell and the story behind them?
There are such a range of products it’s hard to know where to start. I could talk about the whole shop, but I will just pick a few. My Doris jewellery has been very popular; we stock their earrings, necklaces and bracelets. It is an independent jewellery brand supporting family-run workshops of artisan makers in Jaipur, Delhi and Istanbul.
Jarapa lamps are handmade in Somerset from recycled glass and come in a range of different shades and I love the Cowdray-branded products too. We have four new fragrances of candles as well as soaps, aprons, caps, beanies, bags and enamel mugs.
We also sell very popular Cowdray blankets and picnic blankets woven in Wales using traditional techniques, which are available in an assortment of colours.
Tell us about the Cowdray Lifestyle Hampers?
The Cowdray Lifestyle Hampers are a new initiative at Cowdray Lifestyle. There are 10 hampers to choose from including a Mum & Baby, Bee Lover, Calm & Relaxed, Dog Lover, Walkers’ Hamper, a Forager Hamper and a Cowdray Polo Hamper. Wedding Gift Hampers are also available in two different sizes.
Each hamper comes in a beautifully presented Cowdray wicker basket. The hampers are available for collection from Cowdray Lifestyle, or they can be ordered online and delivered nationwide. Find out more.
What is your favourite product in the shop?
I love the Musango mugs and jugs, which are handmade in Portugal and are bright and cheerful. I am also a big fan of the Cowdray Rose and Peony candle.
What are your interests outside work?
I love walking with our much-loved Beagle. We also have a very busy family life with my husband, four children and now a granddaughter.
Where is your favourite place to go on holiday?
Lake Garda in Italy and Lyme Regis in West Dorset. Although very different, I have very happy memories in both places.
Outside work, what means the most to you?
Written by Matilda ReidBack to News