Tuesday, 24 April 2012


Vivienne Bartholomew describes Church Road as the "anti shopping mall experience". Ever since those anonymous temples to consumerism took over the world with their identikit stores and sterile environments, sucking the life out of our towns, there has been a growing desire to get back to the idea of shops serving a community as they did in the past, rather than remote corporate giants driven solely by profit and serving only their share-holders. Places like Church Road are firmly rooted in their community, while also being places where people expect something a little different, more stimulating.
We seem to have reached a turning point lately, with high profile efforts by the likes of Mary Portas and other campaigners to rescue our high streets before it's too late. On the ground, this gradual renaissance is driven by people like Vivienne. Like many other shopkeepers on the Triangle, she started in Haynes Lane Market, which seems to act as a kind of nursery for local entrepreneurs. With a keen eye for mixing beautiful vintage printed dresses with elegant homewares, she soon needed a larger space that she could mould in her own way.
Elaborating on her earlier comment, Vivienne argues that shopping should be as much a social interaction as a commercial one. To that end, she has recently added a delightful teashop at the back of her vintage store. Called Samadhi, meaning bliss, it encourages customers to relax and stay awhile, and seems to enhance and complete the whole shop. She adds that the intent is simply to create a pleasant environment, rather than being a hard headed business decision, but it's proving popular, and the shop is thriving as a result. 
Many of Vivienne's attitudes about life and business stem from her interest in meditation. She and her husband Paul have spent time in India learning philosophy and meditation from a guru, Swami Shyam, and they plan to hold regular meditation classes in the teashop. So next time you find yourself getting stressed out in a shopping mall, head up to the Triangle for a higher plane of existence.

The Shop

Vivienne and her tailor create garments from recycled tablecloths.

The Teashop


87 Church Road
020 8653 6943

1 comment:

  1. I love this shop. We need more shops and people like Vivienne in Crystal Palace. She has beautiful homeware that I just adore. Will definitely be checking out the tea shop soon.