A new kind of shop has arrived in Folkestone, one that’s stocking high end brands with a conscience. We spoke to owner Jody Denner about The Lobby, which opened in Rendezvous Street in autumn 2021.
Jody is originally from Australia and moved to London 20 years ago. Three years ago, she made the leap to Folkestone with her family to “escape the big city’.
The Lobby was created after she noticed that Folkestone has many high street and vintage clothing stores and she saw a gap in the market for something different, before taking the bold move to open during the pandemic. Jody says, “The Lobby is a unique clothing store which we believe this town has not seen for a while, the brands we stock are small, high-end brands which you would only be able to find either online or in bigger cities.”
“We wanted to create a shopping destination that people from all over Kent can come and visit, in the hope to bring more people to this ever-changing town!”
“The brands we sell here are all very conscious of how and where their clothing is made. The majority of their pieces are made from organic cotton and recycled materials. One of their main aims is to produce zero waste, which we fully support. You can be conscious in other ways such as shopping second hand or vintage, our shop shares these same values but the clothes are new! These clothes are made to last as a result of their amazing quality, we believe in years to come this will be the new vintage.”
The Lobby has a stunning traditional wooden and ironwork shopfront, with a pared-back interior that combines the old and the new. A reclaimed traditional wooden counter sits alongside industrial-style clothing rails, and Jody sourced many of The Lobby’s interior items from her neighbouring stores in Rendezvous Street – The Potting Shed (TPS) and Workshop Number 29.
The shopping experience at The Lobby is relaxed, with browsing welcomed and no pressure or hard sell to buy. The store currently stocks the L.F Markey, YMC and Kings of Indigo, Baum Und Pferdgarten & Lollys Laundry brands, with others being added all the time.
Jody has a lot of affection for the place where she lives and runs her business, saying, “I love Folkestone and what it has to offer – I feel it still has so much potential, it’s the perfect seaside location. My shop manager, Kitty, has lived here all her life and has watched this town grow. She loves living here and the life she is building for herself.
“Folkestone has a lot of small independent businesses. For example, The Old High Street is booming with them. These can only grow in popularity as more people visit and move here!
A lot of the independent shops stock their own products, often beautifully handmade art, gifts and interior products.
“It’s a stunning seaside town with a really interesting history. The beaches are beautiful as are the hills behind. There’s plenty going on in Folkestone; exhibitions, music and the fantastic restaurants. Folkestone can only keep growing, it has a great vibe, we love it!”
This case study has been created with support of the Welcome Back Fund, a fund that is providing councils across England with a share of £56m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) which supports the safe return to high streets and help build back better from the pandemic.