27th June 2018
Independent Bookshop Week 2018 – Q&A with Jules Button, Woodbridge Emporium
Last week was Independent Bookshop Week, part of the 'Books Are My Bag' campaign, which seeks to celebrate independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland. At the heart of this initiative is the recognition of bookshops and their sellers as valuable additions to the community, whose passion and dedication to books can inspire a lifetime love of reading. In honour of this important campaign, we caught up with local bookseller and tea expert, Jules Button, owner of Woodbridge Emporium.
Tell us a bit about Woodbridge Emporium and what makes it so unique …
After launching last May, Woodbridge Emporium has already established itself as a firm favourite amongst Woodbridge book lovers. The shop trades in both new and second-hand books, as well as signed copies and first editions, across a range encompassing fiction, non-fiction and children’s books. Alongside books and gifts, Jules and her team specialise in loose leaf teas, which perfectly complement the former through their unique ‘tea and book pairing’ service.
With their book collection ever-growing, Jules prides the Emporium’s diverse range of children’s books as a key part of their bookshop success. With many of their books catering for a range of different learning needs, Jules’ support of diversity is evident in her eclectic book selection, which is representative of the diverse and multi-cultural society we live in.
When did you first become a bookseller?
Jules is a qualified herbalist and aromatherapist, having previously ran a health store, The Rainbow Apothecary. Selling books may be a new venture for her, but it’s one that wasn’t without practical reason. After collecting books for years and building what Jules describes as a ‘house like a library’, her children unofficially banned her from buying any more, resulting in Jules thinking ‘how do I get around this?’ And voilà, Woodbridge Emporium was born!
What is your earliest memory of books?
Jules understood the inspirational power of books from a young age. Forever a creative and ahead of the trends wave, her favourite activity was to play dressing up by cutting the dresses out of fashion activity books, which she says were usually unicorn based!
What do you love the most about working in an independent bookshop?
Alongside the many different people that Jules gets to meet on a daily basis, she loves the diversity that is ever-present in their questions to her. Such unique requests lead to Jules assuming the role of a ‘book detective’, where meaningful relationships are built through the personalised and exploratory service that she offers as an independent bookseller. In short, Jules loves that books will inspire and help with the ‘expansion of that person’ in some way, shape or form. She added: ‘I wanted to be able to empower people more and books are very important in people’s lives. You smell a book, you touch a book, you can feel it, you can become it; you can’t do that on e-readers and Kindles and I feel we have lost something because of that. The books are now coming back in and so I thought that’s my way to get the message out to people, it’s through books.’