Tell us about your dogs Elsie and Daphne.
Elsie (the toy poodle) is the boss, even though she’s a tenth of the size of Daphne (the Afghan hound). They both have very different characters: Daphne is sensitive and aloof, she takes a while to trust people but forms really strong bonds. Elsie is a flirt who charms her way onto everyone’s laps.
How do they both fit into your general working day?
Having a shop means I’m lucky enough to be able to bring my dogs to work. They have a fan club now, and all the local kids come to visit them after school. Luckily, I have an amazing dog walker who takes them out in the middle of the day, and because we live by the sea, we often go for a sunset walk along the beach in the evenings.
Tell us about your store Tidy Street General Store and how it all began?
My mum and I had always wanted to open a shop. She’s an ex-stylist, so has an amazing eye. I had owned other businesses before, so I knew about that side of things. One day we found the perfect spot; a corner shop with massive windows and lots of natural light in the North Laine area of Brighton, which is full of independent shops. It seemed like fate.
We sell a mix of women’s fashion, jewellery, homewares and accessories. Our aim is to encourage people to make thoughtful purchases of special items that they will treasure forever, rather than the fast fashion that dominates the high street. We support small independent brands and craftspeople, and try to showcase items that you may not see everywhere.
When you’re not working, where do you and the dogs like to hang out?
We’re lucky enough to be surrounded by the most amazing countryside and the beach. Whilst Brighton becomes packed with tourists, there are many more amazing beaches down the coast. I try to take the dogs out of town at the weekends so we can enjoy Sussex. During the week, we have a local graveyard where all the neighbourhood dogs gather at the same time every day. It’s such fun to watch; sometimes we’ll have 20 dogs of all shapes and sizes chasing each other. Brighton is amazing because it’s so dog friendly; dogs are allowed almost everywhere, so I’m very lucky.
What essentials do you always have on you when heading out for a dog walk, and what do you carry them in?
Afghans are notorious for their lack of recall, so I have to have fresh roast chicken in my pocket if I’m going to let Daphne off the lead: it’s the only thing she thinks is worth coming back for. Aside from that, I carry water and biodegradable poo bags, usually in a basket from my shop!
What adventures do you and the dogs have planned for the rest of the year?
We’ll be driving to the south of France this summer. Last year we stopped in Champagne and stayed in a chateau with a moat for one night. Daphne and Elsie looked very at home; I’m not sure they wanted to come back to their basement flat in Brighton!
Tidy Street General Store
102 Gloucester Road, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 4AP