FH Stories | Miss Gingers

Miss Gingers is a fabric shop and haberdashery in Folkestone that’s bursting with light, colour and texture, just like the rainbow coloured buildings of the Old High Street on which it sits. Shop owner Verity Sandles fell in love with the town the first time she visited, then took the plunge and realised her dream of a life by the sea.

Back in 2010, Verity worked by day as a special needs teacher and by weekend as a stallholder at Greenwich market. Fast forward a few years and she was ready to make a more permanent commitment to running her own business. One move to Folkestone later and the doors to Miss Gingers opened for the first time.

Verity loves to offer quirky and unusual designs and textures, finding that customers are always keen to chat about where the material has come from and what they can make with it. “It’s a small business spreading lots of happiness and colour,” Verity explains. “It’s truly a full-time labour of love.”

Miss Gingers expanded to offer workshops and crafting socials, a place where people can meet to discuss and share their creations, inspirations and advice. It’s a diverse mix of people brought together through their creativity and shared passion for Folkestone.

When lockdown was announced, it was a sad day, mainly because Verity knew she would miss seeing her customers in person, but she quickly found that many were making the most of their time at home with crafts and creative hobbies.

Key to her success was support from Folkestone & Hythe District Council’s personalised business support programme, designed to help businesses respond to the COVID-19 crisis. “The programme helped me to feel that I wasn’t alone. Having someone to talk to who understood my business was invaluable – it gave me encouragement to try different things, like Zoom sewing classes, and to keep my business moving forward,” Verity explains. With one-to-one coaching support, she invested heavily into growing Miss Gingers’ digital presence, organising an online shop with local deliveries available and even delivering face mask-making workshops online.

“These are really challenging times for everyone,” Verity says, “but I hope more than anything that independent businesses in Folkestone will continue to flourish.”

Hot on the heels of her business’ evolution during lockdown, Verity is determined to keep up momentum and has ambitions to expand her premises in future and employ a small team. “I’d love to be able to hold more classes,” she concludes. “There must still be a bit of teacher left in me!”

Talking about Folkestone, Verity remarks, “there’s just so much to love, it’s hard to pick one thing.” She’s inspired by the sea, the art, the architecture and the greenery, but her favourite part of working in Folkestone by far is the people. “The community of shopkeepers on the High Street has been so supportive and friendly, and I now class many of my customers as friends.”


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