Food & Drink

Gaia Studio – At Home at Folkestone harbour

Alex and Laura are the daughter and mother duo behind Gaia Studio.   They’ve been a part of Folkestone Harbour Marketplace since the summer of 2022.  Starting with one hut, showcasing Alex’s recycled wood furniture and homeware, they quickly grew to a three hut business by the end of 2023.  Their refill hut supplies locals with shampoo and detergents, biodegradable scourers and jars of snacks that are (never) consumed in one mouthful. Alex spoke to Folkelife about their next steps at Folkestone Harbour.

“My business has grown from a hobby.  I used to work in retail and would create pieces of furniture from reclaimed wood I’d found.  Gaming and tv tables were proving popular as friends were asking me to make them and then suggested I sell some.  So I put a couple on the internet and couldn’t keep up with demand.  I took the leap and left my secure, full-time job with sick pay and all that and decided to see where this would take me.  

“We have a shop in Westerham but came down to Folkestone Harbour to have a look at the set up here.  One hut became three within our first year here and it really felt like this is our home.  Actually, we’re looking to move down here now because there’s nowhere else I’d rather grow our business.  Folkestone works for us.  So when the opportunity of taking over the space in Platform 4 came along, it just felt right.”

workshops

“This space allows us to do what we have been thinking about for a long time.  There are three distinct areas which means that the refill shop goes in one space, the Gaia brand homeware in another, and then we have a coffee shop, seating area where we can run workshops.  People can finish their own boards and wooden items, or make candles and other cosmetics we have created. I’ve been wanting to do this for ages and this is the perfect space for us.”

Alex Gaia Studio
Gaia Studio Hut Refill
Wooden Spoons
Coffee Soap
Gaia Candle
Wooden Board Walnut

muddy stilettos ACCOLADES

“2023 was a great year for us.  We were voted Kent’s Best Sustainable Lifestyle Business which was just mental.  You can see how many votes you are getting and then they stop it for the last day or so, so you have no idea who’s in the lead and who’s going to win.  Then, as we were successful we were put into the national Muddy Stilettos awards.  I couldn’t have imagined we’d have had so much coverage, so many good words said about our work.  It’s been amazing.  Mum and I, as a mother-daughter business, want to support local, independent, business women, and these connections have helped us do that.”

friends at the marketplace

Being a part of Folkestone Marketplace for the past 2 years has been really great.  There’s a family here and we’re all supportive of each other.  We’ve made some good friends and hope to share more of their success in our space on Platform 4, or at least have them visit!  

“This is going to be a place where you can come and read, sit, enjoy, make… oh and drink fantastic coffee.  We’ve created the Gaia brand coffee which suits our whole ethos too.  Now that we’ve started, I want to make everything ourselves so that you can know where things come from.”

bark-uterie

“Anyone who’s met us already will know that the dogs are a crucial part of our lives and business too.  Zoe, my partner, wants to make sure that all dogs are welcome with us and we’re going to have dog platters along with human ones.  The charcuterie boards for humans, and the bark-uterie ones for the dogs.  Bark-uterie.  It has to be that!

“We’re looking forward to opening up and serving everyone.  You’ll be able to do workshop parties with your friends, with nibbles, drinks and creative activities.  What more could you ask for?  Sounds perfect to me!”

All photographs by Katie Rhona Photography

Discover more about Folkestone below

Floc to The Goods Yard for Whisper Beer
The Dessert Folkes – The Best Pudding In Folkestone
The Lighthouse Tasting Rooms on the Harbour Arm
Rad Burger – Radical, Exciting, Just add Mangoes

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