The husband and wife team, Mike and Verity Ferguson, who own Smithsonia took it over from Verity's mother when she became ill 27 years ago. It was originally set up by Mother and son team ( Bennie Smith and son - hence the name Smithsonia - in a small shop in Harborne Birmingham, selling mostly jewellery, with a few small gifts and where Simon - Verity's big brother - had a small jewellery workshop at the back of the shop. The first Christmas there it was small enough for them to serve homemade mince pies to all the customers on Christmas Eve. ( Our mother made the BEST mince pies!)
Simon left a couple of years later to start up his own enamelling business and the shop relocated to Piccadilly Arcade in Birmingham city centre -a busier area - and very different in those days, with a large Woolworths at the top of the arcade and buses and cars zooming by on New Street. It is now a much more people friendly pedestrianised area.
Verity and Mike took over in 1989 and used their background in fine art to expand the range of items sold and they have continued to find beautiful and unusual products each year since.
Babies arrived and Verity continued to work, but from home, doing all the accounts and essential background work. Big sister, Amanda, came to help out one Christmas, 20 years ago. and is still here !
As the children grew up, Verity returned to the shop and the youngsters worked over holidays and especially at Christmas. This year Simon's daughter also worked in the busy run up to Christmas.
So there were some days when we had husband and wife, sisters, brother and sister in law, Mum, Dad, daughter, nieces, cousins, uncle and aunts and Grandpa popped in for coffee !!!
Even our full time members of staff, Toni and Paula, feel like family, both have worked here for over 10 years.
Oh and sadly we didn't manage the homemade mince pies, even though Verity now makes the BEST mince pies, but we did hand out chocolates !!
A truly family business......