Retail ecstasy in Ealing

Kaye Holland meets Catherine Hansla whose treasured shop, All Originals, is keeping the community alive  

Searching for the perfect gift - be it for your boss, brother, best friend or other half? Look no further than All Original.

The gorgeous gift shop was opened in Ealing in March 2013 by local resident, Catherine Hansla. Although the shop has only been around for a year, it has quickly become the place to go for an eye-catching selection of glassware, jewellery, framed art, textiles, mosaics, candles, ceramics and other covetable wares guaranteed to wow their lucky recipient.

But the shop is about more than just pretty objects d’art. All of the items on sale at All Original have been handmade by talented local artists and designers that Catherine met through years spent selling her own handcrafted glass gifts and jewellery at Ealing events and exhibitions.

As such, as well as being one of west London’s most charming stores, All Originals “gives artisans from the local community, a platform to display and sell their work” says Sarah Macrae - who has nominated Catherine in the ‘Business Champion’ category of our forthcoming Pride Awards.

Sarah recognises that Catherine - whom she has known since their 13 year old sons met at playgroup - has provided much needed work for Ealing artisans during this era of austerity, and cites the case of Leathertrove as evidence.

“This local family business specialises in crafting handmade leather satchels but, before they met Catherine, were on the point of letting their leather machinist go,” reveals Sarah. “Since displaying their satchels at All Original, Leathertrove’s sales have increased to such an extent that they have been able to keep their machinist on and have also trained their son, who has started up his own line of goods.”

Furthermore Catherine has transformed the downstairs section of All Originals into a community space where local people can learn crafts including crochet, sewing and wreath making among others.

The response has been ecstatic but Catherine, characteristically, seems quite shocked by the high level endorsement.

“I just want to cry,” gasps Catherine, whose marshmallow-like exterior - she’s as nice as Hallmark - clearly belies an inner strength and determination. “I feel so happy. I’ve worked extremely hard on the shop and the way in which everyone has embraced it, makes me think that I have done the right thing.”

Catherine continues: “ I lost my husband a month ago, so All Originals has become my focus. I thought ‘I have to make this work.’ The shop is a great for the community, but it has saved me too.”