Sue Pearson is the owner of the new Antique and Vintage shop Je Cherche on The Parade in Marlborough. She is married to Dave, and lives in Wanborough with their daughter Beth (who is away at University) and their dog Pippin.
Tell us about yourself
I was born in Bolton, and moved down South with my job in the early 90s. Initially we lived in Cheltenham, but moved to Wiltshire over 20 years ago. My work has always been in HR in a variety of different roles and sectors – Oil, Utilities, Retail, Finance and IT. My last role was working on a large transformation project for an IT services company. My job has involved a lot of international travel over the last 25 years and traveling has definitely broadened my interest in different designs, crafts and tastes.
What prompted the change in career?
I have been interested in Antiques and Collectables for years, and always had the ambition to do it one day. My daughter is in her last year of University, and now just seems to be the right time. It will be exciting to turn a passion into my job.
Tell us what we will find at Je Cherche
There is a mixed selection of items – jewellery, things for the home, things to wear, little treasures you can pass on. The occasional small piece of furniture. What I love is that you will find something special, that you know you won’t see anywhere else, and that has a history.
I hope people will pop in on a regular basis, as there will always be different items coming into the shop, to replace what has been sold, and to keep it fresh and interesting. I’ve tried to have a good variety of things without making the shop too crammed!
Where have you sourced your items from?
Many different places. I have been a collector for quite a few years now and have sourced my items from auctions, fayres, contacts and from my travels. I have learned a lot whilst doing this and continue to learn more as I build on my experience. My husband Dave and I spend quite a lot of our spare time sourcing new items – gathering things that I think people will like. I really enjoy the search – and I’m always on the lookout for new things, even on holiday. My aim is to have things that are useful or beautiful – that can be enjoyed and won’t end up just stuck in a drawer!
What have you enjoyed the most so far about your new venture?
In addition to sourcing, I have enjoyed working on something that has allowed me to express myself and my creativity – which in turn I hope will allow others to express themselves and their taste. It’s a real passion and I’m looking forward to sharing it with the local community.
I also enjoy the ongoing learning – finding out about where things come from, how they are made, the different materials used etc is endlessly fascinating – whether it’s antique or a vintage item, reflecting on the previous owners, places and stories is part of the attraction, – the story behind the item.
What sort of reaction have you had so far?
Even though the shop isn’t officially open yet, I have been here setting up at weekends, and have had a lot of people curious to see what’s happening and wishing me good luck with it. When I’ve been here, I’ve let people have a look round, and have already made some sales. By the time your readers see this I will have been open a couple of weeks – so I’m looking forward to meeting many more potential customers!
Has anything surprised you?
I’ve been quite surprised, and heartened, to see the interest from younger people in antique and vintage items. There have been a number of younger couples looking around for things for their home. I suppose it fits with the move towards more sustainable living – young people are at the forefront of that trend. It’s certainly something I’ve become much more conscious of in recent years. It’s nice to see people reusing and recycling things – and recognising the value in items with a difference.
What have you found a challenge?
Lately, finding enough hours in the day. Transitioning from one career to another is definitely a challenge. There have been so many things to do to get ready for opening, sometimes it’s tricky keeping the plates spinning – just as well I like a challenge!
What are you looking forward to most?
Helping people find that special thing they’ve been looking for, whether for themselves or as a gift. It gives me real pleasure to help people, and see their enjoyment. A customer came in the other day and showed me a photo of the item they had purchased and how it looked in their house – it was lovely to see how they had made it their own. I’m also really looking forward to being part of the Marlborough Community and making my living from something I love.
So many people have supported me going into this venture, especially Dave, without whose help I couldn’t have done it; I’m really looking forward to showing them how they’ve helped me make it a success.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I’ve just started a health and fitness programme in Marlborough – Fruci Fit. It involves exercise, healthy eating and having fun, and I’m already starting to notice a difference. I enjoy walking the dog, although he’s getting on a bit now and doesn’t need so much exercise. The rest of the time my business is my hobby, and I feel lucky to be able to say that.
What do you like most about Marlborough?
It has a lovely atmosphere and is just a great place to spend time. When I first came here, I would just wander up and down the main High Street, but after a while I realised there’s more to find. I’m keen to contribute and help preserve it for future generations – if we’re not careful we might lose the individuality of towns like Marlborough.
What are you reading at the moment?
I recently read Jo Malone’s book, My Story. I thoroughly enjoy reading biographies, I like to read about people and find out how they got from A to B. Others I’ve enjoyed include Michelle Obama’s book and . more recently browsing through antique and collectables guides!
What about music?
I love music, and always have something on in the background – I like all sorts: from classical to jazz, and pop music, especially those songs that remind me of different times in my life.
You can’t beat a live performance – I used to love the Jazz Festival, but enjoy anything along those lines that brings people together.
What do you like to watch?
Something cheery, I love comedies such as Modern Family and musical shows. I also enjoy going to the cinema occasionally – I’m looking forward to Downton Abbey. I’ll be enjoying the settings as much as the storyline!
Je Cherche is at 2 The Parade, Marlborough, Wiltshire, Tel: 07720 319984 (Next door to Rainbows DIY)