In August 2018 we took the decision to move our British belt company from Gloucestershire to North Devon, as the beach was calling us to leave our happy but otherwise, very landlocked village lifestyle. This would then lead to us opening The Belt Shop in Bideford. Something we hadn’t quit planned for.
We quickly found outlets to sell our handmade leather belts. Barnstaple Pannier Market was the first, where we soon learnt of other markets and events in the surrounding areas where we were happily welcomed by organisers. Life and business were good for the next year or so as we found our niche making leather belts for men and women in a small workshop in Bideford, selling them at local county and agricultural shows and the local markets. Then in June 2019, we discovered a small corner shop in Mill Street in Bideford (that we’d had our eyes on before we’d even moved), had come available to let. Do we? Don’t we? Lists and lists of pro’s and con’s were made and after much thought, much shorter nails and a new found determination, we made an agreement to let the shop for 3 years, with a years’ break clause.
We used a local craftsman from Braunton who used recycled palette wood and local wood from Rosemoor Gardens to fit out the shop and create a simple yet organic feel. At the time I wanted to call it the Belt Bar so had stuck posters on the windows to that effect. We heard many funny comments from passers by but particularly enjoyed the banter coming from the pub opposite who were mostly interested in what kind of beer we would serve. One actually dropped in his CV with the hope of some bar work!
Time to change the name. So it became The Belt Shop. We opened our doors to the public on a beautiful sunny day in July and I can’t tell you how warm, positive, kind and enthusiastic the local people were. They gave us the feeling the feeling they generally wanted us to succeed. We had an amazing first few months in the shop as Bideford is alive with tourists and visitors during the Summer and a good shopping destination during the run up to Christmas. We soon realised the need to learn leather repairs during the quieter months, which was lucky as my partner loves a challenge. We had the usual repairs come in, belts (obviously), dog harnesses and collars, handbags and leather coats and as word got around other items such as leather restraints, Victorian train window pull-downs, a 17th century cannon ball carrier and 12 Victorian truncheons, started to turn up!
Don’t be afraid to try something new, find your niche & follow your bliss.
All our handmade leather belts have a press stud mechanism at the buckle end, allowing the wearer to easily remove and interchange the buckle. They are now all handmade in the shop using only fine vegetable tanned leather. We currently have 10 different colours in our premium leather and 6 different colours in our basic belt collection.
Prices in the belt shop start at just £19. We make belts for men, belts for women and even belts for children.
To get in touch visit our contact page
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