engage magazine issue 001 spring \'06 - Page 56

56 REAL LIFES Regular Feature A DAY IN THE LIFE OF As a Black woman running a business in this part of town I find customers are genuinely surprised to learn that this is my business and I am not in fact just the sales assistant. Denise Quadrucci artefacts shop owner The thought of running a business can be daunting but Denise Quadrucci took the plunge when she brought a piece of Italy to London. She has not looked back since. enise manages Girtannerhause Objet D’art, an art and design shop based in Mayfair, central London. It is a franchise business from Italy named after the Swiss-Italian artist, Girtanner. Besides the London-based shop the franchise has four shops in Italy. Samantha Watson speaks to Mrs Quadrucci about Girtannerhause Objet D’art and discovers what a typical day entails. Denise Quadrucci, 36, is a mother-of-three and lives in south London. She has been running Girtannerhause in central London for two years and employs one weekend assistant. She recalled fondly how it all started. “I lived in Italy for 10 years with my husband and we wanted to set up something that we hadn’t seen in the UK and bring parts of Italy we loved back to London. We got in contact with a small franchise group which was making things like ceramics, glassware and jewellery. We liked the work and we felt D that this was something that could work in the UK. A group of 18 artists, from around the world, work together in Italy, to create objects of art for the five shops. Denise’s day at the shop will usually start after she takes her children to school at 10.00am and will end by about 5.30pm. “I never know what each day will bring. My days can get extremely busy around lunch time so I need to be around and alert,” she said. She uses quiet times to make phone calls to Italy, do the accounting work and take customer orders. She will often take special orders where customers request certain designs to be placed on different artefacts or customers will give their own dimensions to a vase or pot that they would like to be made. Within the shop you will find beautifully engraved bohemian glassware, hand painted garden tables and jewellery solely crafted by three artists. Denise professes that “each piece of jewellery is unique so you have a work of art of your own”. As a franchise business, Denise regularly reports to the Italian group about her sales progress. She said: “They’re interested in knowing what got sold that month and what seems to be popular. We speak just for feedback because they begin to adapt their work to what customers are asking for.”