“It was my husband’s fault, “ Gemma Baker laughs as she explains how the family opened Pixie’s personalised gifts, decor and more shop in Birchington amid the pandemic.
Gem, who also works as a PA and does a day each week in a children’s nursery, is the creative force behind the venture which first opened the doors just before Christmas 2020.
She said: “I have been crafty for years, making bits and bobs, and my husband kept saying I should get a shop.
“It’s not that easy with the kids but my step-daughter said they would do it too. So, we thought we would just do it and see how it went and if we would do well at Christmas.”
Gem and husband Elliot picked up the keys in November and were getting ready to open when national ‘lockdown’ was announced.
In December Pixies managed to open for trade during Ter 3 restrictions but national lockdown came again just before Christmas.
Gem said: “When we did finally open, we were so busy, we had so much support from the local community, it was amazing. Unfortunately, we were all locked down again a few days before Christmas but we were still taking orders online for contact-free collection which we were so thrilled about.
“We quickly outgrew the shop we were in so we found bigger premises further down the road, and moved while we were still locked down.
“Finally we were able to open again properly in April, even though we hadn’t stopped taking and fulfilling online orders from our lovely customers. We’ve been very fortunate that so many people have liked the things we’ve created and we have quite a few regulars that pop in for their gift giving needs.”
The shop, based in Station Road, is a real family effort with Elliot helping when he is not working at next door Court’s Pharmacy and children Ashlee,14, who is also creative; Kaylan, eight, who loves to sweep the shop floor and help with any organising, and six-year-old twins, Jasmine and Calvin, who enjoy dusting and tidying the shelves.
Gem said: “It took off so quickly. As a PA I’m not in an office as I worked from home so I can fir it in with the shop and in the evenings. I work one day a week at the nursery as I have always wanted to work with children and I quite often pick the kids up from school and bring them to the shop and they thoroughly enjoy it.”
Pixie’s is a haven of unique hand-crafted creations and personalisation on everything from sweet cones to T shirts to doormats and wedding accessories and more. They also use vinyl printing (hot and cold), photo printing, and a laser for engraving.
Gem said: “People come in and ask ‘can you create this or that,’ and so I am creating and designing and making and I love doing it and creating unique pieces.”
The family, who have recently moved from Birchington to Monkton as a bigger home was needed, say they have been overwhelmed by the support of residents and traders.
Gem said: “Birchington is lovely. We have had lots of support from family, friends, from the community coming in and saying how lovely it is and from really supportive traders.
“We could not have dreamed how wonderful everyone would be.”
Gem, Elliot and the youngsters are now gearing up for a busy Christmas period and hoping to attract even more new customers.
Gem said: “We’re trying to reach a wide audience and increase foo fall in the shop, but we’re never without orders to do and we’re very grateful for that. Birchington is full of wonderful people who always have something nice to say, and they all recommend us whenever the opportunity arises which is just fabulous.”
Find Pixies Birchington at 71 Station Road.