Tucked away inside Stroud’s Five Valley shopping centre, there is a little shop of wonders that is celebrating everything that is great about the vibrant community of artists and crafty creatives.
Victoria R is a beautifully quirky store selling handmade and independently owned beauty and homeware accessories from inside Stroud’s premier shopping destination.
It is owned by Victoria Rowley, who set up the business in 2020 when she was furloughed from her previous job as a catering manager at Gloucester Services.
Since then, the shop has gone from strength to strength and she now has a growing loyal customer base.
Victoria said: “I hated being furloughed as I am a bit of a work-a-holic. I started making crafty items and developed a real passion for it and that then led to me opening the shop the day after one of the lockdowns lifted in 2021.
“Gloucestershire has a rich heritage of makers and arts and crafts and that scene is growing, and my shop is a real hub to celebrate everything that the community is doing.“
Victoria, a mother of four boys who lives in Hunts Grove, comes from a long-tradition of shopkeepers in her family. Her grandparents ran a wool shop and a menswear store in Stroud for many years.
And Victoria loves the family-friendly feel of Five Valleys.
She said: “There is a really nice feeling of community spirit between the different traders. It feels like we are all one big family.
“And I must say Dransfield Properties (Five Valleys site owners) have been really supportive of me in helping me to get up and running, so I am very thankful for that.”
A key part of Victoria’s business is her personal touch, and that is extended to how she buys her products.
Every product in her store is hand sourced from sustainable independent traders, many of which are local to Gloucestershire.
From Elderflower and Fern to EK Design, all of her stock comes from personal contacts.
She sells items that cost as little as 30p – wax heart melt candles – right up to pieces by local artist Mary Grundy, that go for £300.
Alongside the shop’s strong connection to Gloucestershire, Victoria also has items from further a-field including candles from Denmark and harem and gypsy clothing supplied by a family-run company in India.
Victoria said: “I have always liked good homemade products but also items that are unique and quirky to the individual person.
“I love to walk into a house and see items that have got that wow factor. And it is the same with my shop, I want people to come in here and be wowed by what we have got in-store.”
Victoria has compiled a list of five of her most popular top selling items – all made right here in Gloucestershire – that would provide the perfect and unique gift for your loved ones this Christmas.
These little beauties will help you to soothe all of your troubles away – and they even change colour! Made by Sarah’s Scrumptious Soaps in Cinderford, they sell for £5 each.
2. Aromatic candles
These candles can bring a relaxing aroma to any room in a variety of combinations including cinnamon and orange, and rosemary and bay. Carefully crafted by Design By Day based in Dursley, they cost £12 each.
These cheeky nude soy wax candles, lovingly referred to as her ‘nudies’ by Victoria Rowley, are also proving to be very popular. Crafted by Victoria in-store, she has 20 different moulds to suit all different shapes and sizes. They sell for between £8 and £25.
4. Light and shade
Victoria also makes her own lampshades in-store, ranging from floral and butterfly designs to featuring people in everyday social settings. They range from £40 to £120.
These delightful designs are carefully crafted by a lady called Katherine at Moon and Made based in Quedgeley. Customers can learn how Katherine produces the stunning jewellery at one of her live workshops in-store. The next one is due in February next year. The items are predominantly made from polymer clay and resin. They sell for £16 in-store.
Victoria R can be found inside Five Valleys shopping centre at the side of Sandersons Boutique Store and is open Monday to Friday (9am to 5pm), Saturday (10am to 5pm) and Sunday (11am to 4pm). For more information visit Victoria R at Five Valleys Stroud – Retail shopping at Five Valleys, Stroud
For more information about the shopping centre, events and special offers, visit Welcome to Five Valleys, Stroud – Retail shopping at Five Valleys, Stroud (fivevalleysstroud.co.uk).