Ryder & Hope (West Dorset)
September Shop of the Month
Lyme Regis is an idyllic coastal town on the bay of West Dorset, England. A seaside retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city, tourists and locals alike flock to Lyme Regis' quaint but classy high street, ripe with shops to be perused. One of these arcades is home to Ryder & Hope, a concept store focusing on the artisanal goods of the surrounding area, and high-quality goods from around the world. We spoke to Alice and Michelle, the owners of our September Shop of the Month.
When did it all start?
We opened the doors to Ryder & Hope on the 5th of May in 2015, but the button was pressed during a January detox on a very wet day.
Why did you decide to open the store?
The store decided it wanted us! The beautiful double-fronted shop sat empty on our little high street with “Shop to Let” in the window. It followed us around, in dreams and on the school run... How lovely to have a shop by the sea. With the help and support of the very kind people that are our landlords, that dream was released as a reality, and the rest is history.
How would you describe the neighborhood in which the store is located?
Lyme Regis is a quintessential seaside town. Its historic Cobb and harbor are iconic features made famous by Lyme’s very own writer John Fowles in The French Lieutenant’s Woman.
In terms of books and other merchandise that you carry, what do you offer your customers?
Our shop is a celebration of life and objects of use. We promote the wealth of artisanal makers in our area. The boat builder who carves spoons, the carpenter Adrian who makes trugs from old cattle sheds over the hill, and the works of potters, jewellers, and artists sit among an array of books and homewares that inspire everyday living.
What are your favorite Gestalten books?
Hide and Seek has been with us from the beginning, and Alice’s daughter aspires to have one of those little sheds in our garden! It’s followed by Hinterland and the pure and utter joy of the escape in Off the Road.
What are your customers’ favorite Gestalten books?
We now have a book table in store, where customers like to pull up one of our vintage Ercol chairs and spend a good amount of time escaping into the worlds of the beautifully-captured Gestalten books. On a couple of occasions, people who have bought Velo as a gift come back in a few days later to purchase for themselves!
What kinds of people shop at Ryder & Hope? Who might be seen visiting the store?
We have a brilliant local following, people who will always buy things for themselves and others in our store, It is becoming apparent that a wider audience are now coming to see us and to see how we interpret the seasons. Of course, there’s also the holiday maker, who might purchase a cheeky crab from Alex Monroe’s “Beyond the Sea” jewelry collection
Do you do anything at your store besides sell books? Do you, for example, have any events or exhibitions there?
We would like to pursue the idea of doing exhibitions of makers, along side workshops with some of our talented makers we currently stock organized by a common radius measure of our shop. Last Christmas, our local shoppers enjoyed our wreath-making workshop that used locally-grown foliage and foraged hedgerow cuttings. We will also be launching our online shop very soon, so please register your details on our website to be notified when we launch it.
Images © Matt Austin