‘By Erin’ and ‘Erin’s Place’ are a gorgeous gift shop and craft studio based on Bridge Street in Darwen. Offering lots of lovely items to buy in the shop and the chance to flex your creative muscles in the studio! Nikki’s journey to starting the business began back in 2017, that summer her father suddenly fell ill and tragically passed away. After this she re-evaluated the path she was taking in life and started making the wish bracelets that are now a big feature in the shop. Teaching had been her career up until then and she was very successful too, working at St Bede’s in Blackburn for many years before moving on to Rivington High School. 

A push from her husband Dave in the September of the same year really got the business going. Without telling Nikki he put her wish bracelets up for sale online and things took off, by Christmas she was selling around one hundred bracelets a day! After just wholesaling them for a time they were offered the shop, Nikki was still teaching while the shop was setting up so it was a busy time for her and Dave. The studio came later but was an idea that was always on the cards, it was definitely a case of serendipity when they were offered next door not too long after setting up the gift shop. 

At the studio there are a variety of crafts and activities to choose from, including pottery painting, slime making, and build your own teddy. We’ve visited with the children many times, I think my favourite time must be when I took the children in the summer holidays. Rebecca must have seen the day I’d had, she offered me a cup of coffee and helped the children with their slime making while I enjoyed it! It was also like a mini reunion in there when myself and two other families realised we all knew each other. That’s something Nikki says she particularly says she enjoys too, seeing so many of her former students now bringing their children in and being able to catch up with them.

Not only is it a pleasure to chat to Nikki when you visit, she’s such a warm and friendly character, the gift shop is also wonderful to look around; clothes, mugs, bath bombs, paint, candles, cards, and much more. If you’re looking for a gift or just to treat yourself you will definitely find something to fit the bill. I took Matilda and Corben down to choose a birthday present for me last month, Nikki was lovely helping them with their purchase of a little Jelly Cat bee for me and also adding a lovely wish bracelet as well. Recently Dave has also started curating his own selection of items in a section called Dave’s Cave, I’ve got my eye on the camera lens coasters I spotted….

The covid-19 pandemic has changed things but ‘By Erin’ and ‘Erin’s Place’ are both very much open for business again. They obviously have all the necessary precautions in place in the shop, in the studio you can now book to come in and craft or get a takeaway. I bought a pottery flamingo and shark for the children to paint, the set included paintbrushes and all the paint we needed. Once the children had done their thing I took them back to the shop and then picked them up once they had been glazed. The children were absolutely delighted with their handiwork! I can’t imagine it will be long before we make our next visit, make sure you head over and support this great local business too.