Many years ago, back in the summer of 1988 - between my freshman and sophomore years in college - I worked on Nantucket Island. We had lived on Nantucket as a family back in the late 70's having moved there from England in 1976 - it happened to be one of the coldest winters ever and the ocean froze - yes it froze all the way from the island to the mainland. Anyway, that's another story and I've got to get my mother to dig out photos of my father and brother walking on the ocean to show you sometime.
That summer in 1988- I worked at Nantucket Looms. At that time it was further down Main Street in a building now occupied by Ralph Lauren - but this summer - after a little hiatus in another location - the Looms has returned to Main Street in a beautiful building that suits the business perfectly. It was now two weeks ago that I was out on the island on my annual visit back to the states and luckily when I popped into the store I was able to briefly meet the owner Liz Winship, who has remained a great friend for all these years.
I loved my summer working here as I learned so much not only about retail and products but also how to deal with a variety of customers which gave me the training for the sales job I now do today. Learning at a young age how to work with a wide range of personalities helps you indefinitely for a future of working, living and coping with all kind of people.
The products sold at Nantucket Looms continue to have the same quality and unique aesthetic from all those years ago and that's why they are such a popular shop to visit every year. Many are hand made whether it's painting or collages, rugs, hats or their own beautiful throws and scarves made on the looms upstairs.
In recent years Liz has also developed a thriving interior design business as part of the shop and it's no wonder as she has a great eye for putting together spaces (her own house was featured in my book - At Home in Nantucket, Chronicle, 2004 - so I'll be sure to post that soon just so you can see the wonderful combination of elements she has used throughout her home).
What I find so effective in the way she displays everything is that products are not lumped in mass on shelves and tables. You feel, as a customer, like you are getting a unique one of a kind piece - not just plucking something off a shelf with a whole group of the same thing.
Walking through the space - you are not going to find a repetition of the same grouping of products in another place in the store - it's like a kind of treasure hunt as each area highlights a different range and this effective way of treating the products makes you take the time to walk around carefully to be sure you haven't missed anything.
The space is open and inviting and I love the high ceilings and the building itself has great character.
I loved this simple piece using sand and shells in the shape of the island.
Thought these woven bags were wonderful - great for storing scarves or soft toys in a child's room or even as a chic waste basket
If you are on Nantucket Island anytime soon, be sure to stop by Nantucket Looms - it is open year round so no matter what time of year you head out there - you'll still get to enjoy the shop.