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Diss crafts store celebrates second anniversary and increase in footfall




A Diss shop, described as a “local Aladdin’s cave of well-crafted, gorgeous gifts”, has celebrated its second anniversary on Sunday, September 1.

Helen Dutton initially founded Our Slice Of Country Life online in 2012 before opening the premises on the lower ground floor of Tudor House in St Nicholas Street.

Since then, the crafts store, which is dog-friendly and sells hand-made products such as cushions, glow jars, beauty products and more, has seen an increase in footfall.

Frances Vincent, owner Helen Dutton and Debbie Symonds celebrated the store’s anniversary. Pictures by Mark Bullimore.
Frances Vincent, owner Helen Dutton and Debbie Symonds celebrated the store’s anniversary. Pictures by Mark Bullimore.

“I’m a relatively new business,” said Helen, a former administrator.

“I still have people coming in asking if I’m new. So this might change over time.”

The shop now also sells more locally rather than online, which Helen says could be due to being preoccupied with the store.

Owner of crafts store Our Slice of Country Life, Helen Dutton says she has noticed an increase in footfall.
Owner of crafts store Our Slice of Country Life, Helen Dutton says she has noticed an increase in footfall.

The mum-of-one said: “I was quite surprised, because I send so many parcels, but of course a parcel might only have one item, so you might be sending a lot of boxes, but that doesn’t mean you’re sending a lot of value.”

Many of Helen’s customers have followed her venture for years and have travelled to see the shop in person.

“One American lady ‘popped down’ for a visit when she was on holiday in Scotland,” said Helen, who is known for rearranging her inventory a few times a month.

“Only an American would ‘pop’ from Scotland to Norfolk.”

Other customers, aged 12 to 91, are from Diss, surrounding areas, Southend-on-Sea, London and Kent.

“Once they find me, most of my customers like what they see and they come back,” said Helen, 40.

“I stick to a country, woodland theme. I think it helps, otherwise it’s just lots of jumbled up stuff and it can look chaotic.”

In the future, Helen plans to launch a new website and dreams of expanding: “I’d like a bigger shop but I like this shop. Maybe I need to tunnel through into the Chinese shop.

“I have no plans to move, at all, just a wish to expand.”

READ MORE: What a gem: Garboldisham village store is one of the best

Looking back on the two years at Tudor House, she said: “I am proud, but I am very self-critical and nothing is ever enough.

“I love my shop, it’s my happy space. If I could sleep here, I would.”



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