Meet the owners
Join us on a tour behind the scenes of Angela Reed, the family business trading since 1881, which is renowned for sourcing unique and inspiring furniture and gifts. Brand director Kate Reed talks shop:
The Story So Far
The Reed family has been in business since 1881, when Thomas Reed began trading in antiques. The store’s namesake Angela Reed opened a store selling new furniture and accessories in Saffron Walden, with husband Martin, in 1991. Today these expansive premises feature 13 rooms of chic high-quality pieces, with beautifully curated collections spaced over five floors. There’s also a cafe (selling divine home baked cakes and delicious brunches) and the family’s neighbouring antique store T Reed and Son.
Angela’s son David, the fifth generation of the family business, came on board in 2011 and now runs the company with wife Kate. Angela Reed’s Cambridge store on Peas Hill opened in September 2017.
Can you tell us about your signature products?
“Everything that you’d like to put in your home, we sell, from sofas to bedroom and dining ranges, candles and cushions to soft furnishings. We have such a large range, with some amazing statement pieces, and everything we sell is now online as we relaunched our website during lockdown.
We try to find different products that aren’t widely available, and we are always on the lookout for new and exciting suppliers. So, for example we stock these wonderful garden sculptures created exclusively from reclaimed metal, made by a company called Chi-Africa, which supports Zimbabwean artists. We’ve been buying from them for nearly a decade, love their quirkiness and really like their values and environmentally conscious ethos, plus the fact that they are made by highly skilled craftspeople. We also have some beautifully made reclining chairs from Sweden, and the workmanship that has gone into them is incredible.
What are your bestsellers in the Cambridge store?
It is a real variety actually and it’s changed quite a lot over the past few years. Our decorative wooden ducks used to be very popular, especially with tourists. But, of course, tourism has been affected by the pandemic, so customers now are much more interested in buying our real statement pieces and beautiful home accessories.
Tell us about your offering at Saffron Walden
There’s 13 showrooms at Saffron Walden and whilst Cambridge is a smaller proposition, we sell the same ranges. We also have the café in Saffron Walden which reopened this October following a refurbishment. We serve brunches, lunches and truly amazing cakes and sweet treats. The nice thing is that we make all the dishes for the café on site and the ingredients are seasonal and locally sourced.
How has the business changed during the pandemic?
Luckily, we were in the process of relaunching our website because we thought we would either open another shop or make online our ‘third shop’. We managed to relaunch the website last June when we were in lockdown, and it did really well, really quickly because everyone was shopping online. So, whilst the pandemic was incredibly stressful, it gave us time to really re-evaluate and plan our brand evolution.
What do you love about being an independent store in Cambridge?
The vibe in Cambridge is wonderfully eclectic. You get such a wide range of people and it’s a beautiful city, so we are happy to be in Cambridge, amongst so many lovely fellow independents.
What makes your business unique?
Because we are a family business and have been since 1880 it has always been about our family values and we do genuinely put that into everything we do, from our customer service to what we buy and how we price. Also, we go to great lengths to find something a bit different for our customers.
How do you hope the business evolves?
Online has been going from strength to strength so that is where we have invested a lot of time and resource. Ultimately, we’d like to not just be seen as local, but competing nationally, whilst retaining that family-value feel, which remains very important to us. We’d like to think that if you needed something and are buying it online from Scotland, for example, you would still get the exact same service as if you’d come into the Cambridge or Saffron Walden store.
Visit Angela Reed at 4-5 Peas Hill, Cambridge, CB2 3PP. Visit angelareed.co.uk
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