Cornwall LivingIssue #71
Having just returned from buying their 2018 range, we catch up with Vanessa and John, owners of Essa Collection in Porthleven.
Local and family run, Essa Collection is a business that sources, designs and commissions beautiful clothing and accessories from around the globe. When Vanessa and John started the business on Porthleven harbour head market in April 2014, they initially offered a handpicked, eclectic mix of scarves and handbags from Thailand, Napal and India. But as interest grew, they soon expanded their range to include clothing and later, found a permanent base in their current premises in Porthleven.
“When I look around the shop, it’s full of memories of places we’ve travelled, and each individual item has its own story.”
Mixing business with pleasure, in 2017 Vanessa and John spent their honeymoon in Bali, where they were introduced to a master tailor who worked with them to produce an exclusive Balinese-inspired line. Indeed, over the years, the couple has developed a deep appreciation for fabrics and tailoring, frequently visiting the places where their clothes are manufactured and ensuring the finished products are made to the highest standards and in good working conditions.
Another thing that sets this local independent retailer apart is that Vanessa will spend hours with her customers, ensuring they feel confident in their style choices, giving them plenty of time to try on what they want.
Part of the new stock from their most recent travels is clothing that’s been designed with their master tailor in Bali, most of which will be on the new website (launching this Easter). Some, however, is only available in store, but you’ll have to be quick, as Vanessa tells us: “My buying style is to buy singularly each time, offering hundreds of choices, so our clothing is often quite exclusive”, something that keeps so many customers returning time and time again.
The shop is awash with colour, and it’s easy to see the array of influences that the couple have drawn from their travels. Essay tells us: “When I look around the shop, it’s full of memories of places we’ve travelled, and each individual item has its own story. I hope people will begin linking their own memories to these items and that it will remind them either of places they’ve travelled to, or simply of our shop in the beautiful village of Porthleven.”
"When I look around the shop, it’s full of memories of places we’ve travelled, and each individual item has its own story."