Opened in January 2021, the stylish boutique in Lewes is the third Taylor-West & Co. Opticians in the south of England
In a corner of Lewes, known for its cafes, independent stores and the Needlemakers historic building to which it is attached, the new Taylor-West & Co. practice is a bijou boutique with an elegant and smart appearance. The choice of collections on offer, and the design focus in every detail of the interior are carefully curated to meet the discerning tastes and demands of the well-known and historic town and its community of creatives, artists and music lovers.
“My aim was to create a warm, welcoming and stylish environment, ” says owner Sophie Taylor-West who also has stores in Hove (Brighton) and Dulwich (London). “I wanted to make people feel comfortable and at ease, just as they would feel in the home of a friend. I also wanted it to have an element of fun and frivolity, to suit the range of frames I sell!” A pink and gold ‘Woods’ wallpaper by Cole & Son, adds a whimsical touch to the interior which is otherwise minimal and white with some old exposed brick. An apothecary drawer unit which immediately catches the eye was a special find on Vinterior – shipped over especially from the Netherlands.
Above: the interior features vintage furniture and bespoke displays for individual frames to make each one stand out and to highlight its special character. The shop has large beautifully decorated windows and an airy, fun and sunny space has been created by the owner Sophie who is passionate, creative and dedicated as well as “hands-on”!
Sophie told us that she and her builder did all the work to redesign the shop. “I love sourcing all the decor and display materials myself; I have put a flash of yellow in each store, and the yellow armchairs I found are perfect for this. The neon sign in the window is something I haven’t tried before, but I wanted this to be really eye-catching for people walking and driving past, to make it obvious what sort of establishment we are! Lastly, I’m pleased with the faces display in the second window, which I painstakingly made myself from acrylic. I think they really showcase our style.”
The store currently features eyewear brands from around the world – Anne & Valentin, Mykita, Ahlem, Orgreen Optics, RES/REI, and Kirk & Kirk, and the curated selection varies from store to store as Sophie explains in detail. “My brand choices have changed organically over time. For example, the only brands we still have in Hove which have lasted since opening are Anne & Valentin and Kirk & Kirk, (which just happens to be a Brighton brand). It’s so difficult to know who your customers will be and what they will want when opening a practice from scratch. You just have to pick what you like, and then really believe in them. You also have to know when something isn’t working and be brave enough to phase it out…! We found a lot of new brands when we opened in Dulwich, such as Mykita and Ahlem, and they have worked well when we got them in Hove and then Lewes. I’m a great believer in the expression ‘you can’t be all things to everyone’. I’ve sometimes worried that our average price point is too high and this will put off some potential customers, but in this climate you have to differentiate. Decide where to place yourself in the marketplace, and do it really well. I prefer to stick to handmade, high-end eyewear which will stand the test of time, and trust that our patients want the best quality there is.” Taylor-West & Co. The Needlemakers, West Street, Lewes, E Sussex www.taylorwestandco.uk