Hundreds spent last weekend flocking to Ryde, for the Christmas markets and on going small business Saturday campaign. One business in particular shone through, coincidentally sharing their first anniversary of being open on December 9th.
Indulge Me, a small family fun shop, situated in the heart of Cross Street, in Ryde; ha a queue of dozens by the time it reached 10.30am. The light rain and the winter winds didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirits.
By 11am, when doors finally opened the shop was packed to the rafters. With small children squabbling over bars of Star Wars soap, as their parents browsed the never ending cubby holes of fruity fragranced bath bombs.
The moment you enter this store, your senses are enveloped with warm, comforting smells of years passed. Hubbabubbles, Coke Float and Watermelon- all childhood memories. Nostalgic parents squeal, just as badly as their kids, as they queue to be served with baskets overflowing.
“It’s a massive deal for us” says Kayt Clark, joint owner, and one of the main makers of their natural bath products. “We honestly didn’t expect a turn out anywhere near as big as this” she explains as she hands changed back carefully to a customer.
By 12pm the queues are still relentless, but this time with a twist. The arrival of Batman and Harley Quinn in full costume regalia, drives the hoarded of children wild. The front of the shop becomes an emergency buggy at, as the eager parents hurry to get their kids through the door. Kayt chucked and mouths ‘I think we definitely need a bigger premises by next year’.
Batman takes in a semi Mexican accent and begins to joke and play with the excitable children. Characters from Enchanted Isle Princess Party Visits are apparently a monthly occurrence. Owner of, and princess extraordinaire Natalie Louise De Grunchy, explains that she’s never seen a turn out quite like this before. Dressed as Harley Quinn she continues “I’m used to my die hard mummies who routinely follow me to events each month and a few extras that turn up when Indulge Me leaflet, but this is crazy!”
As Harley Quinn gets swallowed by the sea of small hands and hugs. Some even in their own favourite super hero or princess outfits. Batman makes his way behind the till, to pose for promotional photos for the Indulge Me team. Dressed all in black, he tries his hardest not to grin, as he’s asked all sorts of funny questions.
John Gorman, co owner and husband of Kayt, is still in a state of shock at the turn out. He begins to frantically wrap soap, “When we got our daughter to advertise our anniversary on Facebook, we didn’t think she’d pull something like this out of the hat”. Stack by stack, piles of citrus infused gin and tonic soap appears, alongside a row of layered vanilla. “We stated the first 100 customers would each receive a mystery gift, but I didn’t wrap all 100, which was clearly a bad move”.
Slowly the hordes of avid cosmetic lovers begin to lessen, but there’s no rest for the wicked here. A stunning balloon arch featuring a bottle of champagne, pouring out over the door way into an overflowing golden goblet, highlights the entrance to Indulge Me for passers by. All beautifully made of latex balloons, “In another life we were balloon artists in London” Kayt explains as she fixes part of the bubbles. “We’re still used to the cheekiness of teenagers who like to prod, poke and pinch balloons as they walk past”.
As the clock ticks closer to one, the Enchanted Isle team are throughly worn out, but still of beaming smiles. There’s no magic being ruined here. As they pose in the head turning arch, it’s clear that the people of Ryde have an asset on their hands, unlike any other. In times of ‘shrink-flatiron’, where nothing for nothing these days doesn’t really exist like it used to. The same cannot be said for Indulge Me, a free meet and greet with your favourite super hero or princess characters, along with a free bath bomb, handmade by a local independent shop. It’s clear to all that know about this hidden gem, there’s nowhere else quite like it on the Isle of Wight.