Little Beach Boutique is a charming independent shop in Brighton’s North Laine. The boutique stocks a hand-picked selection of accessories and homeware – perfect for gifting and treats!
Alongside this, Little Beach Boutique also stock their own collection of glassware, which is all designed and created on-site. Their glass pieces (which often come fresh from the kiln!) have a uniquely Brighton feel to them – depicting all the best and beautiful Brighton sights.
We caught up with Suzanne O’Leary to learn more about Little Beach Boutique.
In a sentence, how would you describe the Little Beach Boutique?
Little Beach Boutique is a workspace and gift shop in the North Laine, Brighton, where we design and produce our own range of glass and showcase products by local and independent designers and makers. We sell gifts, cards, jewellery, homeware, accessories and prints and run regular glass-making workshops.
Tell us a little about your background and how the Little Beach Boutique started.
My background is not actually in retail, other than working in shops to help support my studies at university! After graduating, I was an advocate and support worker at a women’s abuse charity for almost a decade. I started learning and making fused glass as a way to relax outside of a very demanding job. Alongside my job, I started selling my creations in a fisherman’s arch on Brighton seafront, then after two years of that, I took a leap of faith, decided to have a complete career change and opened my North Laine shop in 2014. I wanted to support other local designers, makers and kitchen table businesses, producing beautiful products whilst raising children, holding down other jobs, or looking for exposure, so that is what we have become known best for.
How does the downstairs glass workshop feed into the business?
We have our main workshop, and two kilns, in the back of the shop, but we also use our downstairs space for regular ‘introductory’ fused glass workshops, mostly on the second Sunday of the month. We also host evening workshops for private bookings as well as half day sessions for hen parties or work outings. Almost everybody is a beginner when they arrive, but by the end they are cutting glass and making their own dishes!
What is the first thing I would notice when I walk into the Little Beach Boutique?
When people come into Little Beach Boutique for the first time they nearly always say “what a beautiful shop, have you been here long?” as they feel like they have found a hidden gem! We put so much thought into selecting and curating our ranges, that people always comment on the appearance and fitting, made entirely from reclaimed wood, and will spend time reading information about the products and the makers behind them.
Which small brands are you excited about at the moment?
The small brands we are excited about at the moment include Little Nell jewellery – it sells so well for us – and Penny, the owner, is about to open her own shop in Bristol and run workshops from there. We also love local jewellers Misskukie and Maria Allen Boutique, and adore our new range of stripy seagulls and homeware by “From Brighton with Love”.
What’s next for the Little Beach Boutique?
In terms of what is next for Little Beach Boutique, I would never say never to another shop, but we will see! I am starting to produce a range of wholesale glass to sell in other shops and galleries this year, so that will be keeping me busy for the foreseeable!