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Cornwall LivingIssue #72

Time to reflect

Jo Eldridge, founder of Jo & Co, reflects on her first three years in business and how her store has become a go-to destination in Cornwall.

When did you open your shop and what kind of store is it?

“I opened the store in December 2014. I always planned to open a lifestyle store, but to start with, I wanted to just play it safe by selling a few interior pieces. Once I knew our market, we began to expand our collections. Now we sell a great mix of things I love, whether it’s homeware, beauty, womenswear, gifts, even upholstered furniture.

“We have some lovely customers that return to us again and again for a particular brand, such as Wanderlust Life or Neom, but in general I think people come to us for a good browse, and just for the experience of being here.”

Why did you open a store?

“It’s always been my dream to have a store, but I never really thought it was possible. Then, when I was six months pregnant, the opportunity came up at the Hawksfield site, and it suddenly got me thinking. Although it wasn’t the best timing, my husband said ‘Go for it’, and we’ve never looked back. I took early maternity leave from my job, and started to plan.”

Jo also designed the store. She explains: “My husband Tom is a great carpenter, so between us (along with a few builders and electricians) we managed to turn an industrial building into what it is today.”

What makes Jo & Co unique?

“Everything! We really are different, and we’re always evolving and changing. I think that’s why people keep coming back. There’s always something different from week to week. In terms of what inspires me, I’m loving the beach vibe at the moment, but that’s probably because it’s winter and I’m desperate for some sun!”

What have you learnt in the past three years?

“Oh my, a huge amount. I was so naive in the early days. I have my business head on much more now. I’ve also had to teach myself how to switch off. On Fridays I try to shut down my computer and forget about everything until the next week. It’s important that my family has my full attention without the distraction of emails.”

What’s next for Jo&Co?

“Well, after a very successful year of selling our furniture, we are excited to announce that we’ll be opening a furniture showroom this spring. We can’t wait for it to open!”

“We have some lovely customers that return to us again and again for a particular brand, such as Wanderlust Life or Neom, but in general I think people come to us for a good browse, and just for the experience of being here.”