We wouldn’t be where we are without our stockists. For the next in our series of interviews with the business owners making waves in retail we go behind the scenes with Spoke & Stringer, the store and cafe in Bristol empowering their community to live a healthy lifestyle through getting outdoors, eating well and shopping small.
The team behind the store believes that a healthy body and mind play in your ability to maximise your freedom. And taking care of yourself whilst looking after the planet is what we are all about. We caught up with founder & director, Kristian Crews, to find out why Spoke & Stringer support small brands, where is on his travel bucket list, and why you should always listen to your gut.
How did your journey with Spoke & Stringer start?
Starting my own business and being in control of my own destiny was a dream after University. Following a few years in the Engineering world based in the UK and Western Australia, I felt the time was right to make the leap to Self Employment. Instead of Turbines & Compressors, I could now talk on a daily basis about motorcycles, surfboards, bikes, and bring them all together with Food & Drink (the things people need everyday). Our first site on Bristol Harbourside was a new area in Bristol and we had to start a “place making” business at the same time, going from 0 – 1000+ with footfall was a challenge in itself.
Can you explain what your name means to you?
Spoke & Stringer gives you the fuel you need to lead and active lifestyle and provides strength at its core (through food!) – a Spoke gives a wheel its strength, so too does a Stringer for a surfboard.
What makes Spoke & Stringer different?
Spoke & Stringer is more than just a cafe and retail store. We have a firm belief that healthy body & mind play a huge role in the ability to maximise your productivity. We take a fresh-approach using nutritionally-rich, locally-sourced ingredients in our cafes and source brands in our Lifestyle Store you might not find elsewhere to engage customers in our haven. Ultimately, we provide an experience for those who visit us and partake in our events – one which will inspire them to seek escapism and feel at their best in day to day life.
Tell us about your local neighbourhood to the store.
Our Harbourside Location at Brunel Quay in Bristol is opposite the SS Great Britain, local Barber Shop and home to canal boats and visiting ships from distant shores! A sun trap at water level with a relaxed atmosphere.
Do you have any daily rituals at work?
A working day for us always starts with a flat white! We work in a very fast-paced and every changing environment and we are kept on our toes for much of the day.
Who inspires your decision making?
Our staff and our customers drive all decision making at Spoke & Stringer.
What or who do you believe in?
We believe in independent businesses who are passionate about what they do – if we can communicate their story to our customers through what we sell in Retail or Hospitality – we’re winning.
Why do you feel ethical fashion is important?
While ethical fashion may not solve all our problems, it’s a crucial element to living a more sustainable life and hence aiding in reducing your environmental footprint. It’s an issue that is very close to home for Spoke & Stringer as we love nature & the seaside.
Who would be your dream ambassador for Spoke & Stringer?
This one is a bit tricky to answer as we dabble in 3 different avenues but as far as ‘living the lifestyle’ we try and do that as much as possible ourselves and represent the business as ambassadors.
What has been your best travel experience to date?
Aside to parts of Asia surfing which spring to mind straight away we actually had an awesome stay-cation recently where we packed the van with Surfboards, 2 Motorcycles and explored Cornwall in search of the best Pasty, some surfing in between – we now sell the best pasties which we were introduced to in Redruth from Denzil Trevethick!
And if you had to pick one other city to live in, where would it be?
Tell us about the best decision you have made.
The best decision we made recently was to open our second site on Whiteladies Road in Bristol – its a brand new challenge and completely different market – going really well so far!
What is the most valuable advice you have ever received?
Listen to your gut – not just for your next meal!
If you could lend one book you have read to us, what would it be?
The Happiness Track
Where in the world is top of your travel wish list, and why?
Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico – that region for Surfing, and Taco’s!
Live locally to Bristol, or just fancy finding out more about what Spoke & Stringer are all about? Check out their collection of lifestyle brands and get scrolling.
Supporting our extended family means thanking those who make it possible for you to see our shades, all over the world. Find your nearest stockist, or more behind the scenes chat with our network of stores, check out more stories below.
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Keeping things safe
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Feel good about your purchase
Felicia is our ‘camera ninja’ when it comes to photography for the Pala website. Hailing from Sweden, but now based close to the Pala Brighton HQ. When she’s not exercising her skills of mind control to make models relax on shoots you’ll find her in a cafe enjoying a good cup of coffee, or at home baking cinnamon buns.
Emma is our marketing guru. When Emma isn’t planning, strategizing and creating content, she can be found travelling the world exploring its wonders, or in more recent times – headphones on with a paintbrush in her hand creating an abstract masterpiece!
Mary is the team leader of the Care4basket project in Bolgatanga, Ghana. When Mary is not organising and supporting the work across the communities, you will find her sowing sweet potatoes, ground nut, millet and looking after the animals on the farm.
Izzy is our Sales and Comms mastermind. When Izzy isn’t throwing herself down a mountain on a snowboard, she can normally be found rummaging through vintage shops or pounding the fields with her beloved puppy, Mac. She once mislaid a finger on a night out (eek!) – girl knows how to party!
Justin is our ‘Film Alchemist’. When he’s not laying on the floor looking for the next shot he’s either exploring the finest bourbons and listening to obscure country music tracks from the 50s and 60s. Normally found planning his next trip abroad or fuelling the pineapple on pizza debate. Just so you know he’s firmly in the Hawaiian camp!