What was your inspiration for you to open a kitchen and tableware store with your friend?
June: We both love cooking. We wanted the kitchen to be beautiful and feel more a part of the home rather than look clinical.
Bernadette: Both of us like to have people over for dinner. With our shop we decided to stock just the things we like.
June: We’ve never gone for best sellers.
There seems to be a leaning towards French country or a Provencal style in particular. Where do you like to holiday?
June: We both go to France regularly, but I think the French country style look is really just the look and layout of the shop. We stock things by designers and artists from all over the world, including England, Italy, America and South Africa.
Why did you decide to be located in Clarendon Cross?
June: We didn’t want to be on the high street. We love this area and we can both walk to work in the mornings.
How has the area changed in the last 15-plus years?
June: It started to change and become more salubrious when we moved in. People were interested in doing up their kitchens. However, I don’t think the area has changed much since we moved in. There are a few more shops, but Virgina’s and Julie’s haven’t changed.
What is the single most important thing you’ve learnt from running your own business?
June: Be true to what you set out to do. Keep your integrity and don’t get distracted by commercialism. Also, don’t over-buy.
What is your proudest moment so far?
June: The compliments we receive about how beautiful, individual and personal our shop is.
Can you name-drop some of your customers?
Ruth Rogers, Jamie Oliver, Nigel Slater, Bruce Oldfield, Tricia Guild…
You also offer a wedding list service. Why do you think the kitchen is considered the heart of the home?
June: It is where things emanate. It’s where the children come to when they come home from school and where the family gathers.
Bernadette: It is the most important room in the house. People don’t stay in the lounge at a dinner party; they gather in the kitchen.
What’s in your fridge right now?
June: A chicken tagine I made yesterday and lots of yoghurt.
Bernadette: Lots of fruit, some eggs, yoghurt, white wine and milk. I never have much in the fridge because I shop daily.
What has been your most memorable meal and why?
June: The River Cafe and Petersham Nurseries with family for my husband’s birthday.
Bernadette: At mine with friends round the table.
Who would be your dream dinner guests?
Bernadette: My friends and children.
June: My mum. I wouldn’t mind Andrew Marr joining us, too.
What would be your last supper?
Bernadette: A full plate of cheese and bread washed down with red wine.
June: Barbequed fish with vegetables straight from the garden in France.
Your life motto?
June: Be kind – as I get older I realise more and more how important that is. Also, try to do new things all the time and take on new challenges. Plus, it is important to appreciate how lucky we are and to appreciate every moment.
Bernadette: Yes, at the moment we’re sitting in June’s beautiful kitchen with the sun streaming in…