Taking a novel approach, retail entrepreneur Adele Adamczewski explains why her business sets out to help people and do good as well as make money

Adele Adamczewski is a new breed of entrepreneur. The owner of Lewes-based retailer Freight Store values community, sustainability and transparency above profit and growth. “We are constantly considering our choices and reassessing how we run the business,” she says. “How can we alter something we do so we make a better impact? This affects where and how we source products, the materials we use, even how things are packed and shipped.”

Freight Store specialises in sourcing homewares, furniture and fashion from artisan makers in the UK and Europe. Increasingly, Adamczewski works in partnership with producers to create bespoke products. “We are the bridge between the designer and the customer.”

This means that Freight Store stocks products that are not found anywhere else. “We wanted to stock a coat that was like an old-fashioned duster coat but more durable, so you could wear it in the rain. We worked with a producer to adapt a design and that’s one of our biggest sellers at the moment.”

For all occasions: the duster coat can be thrown on for a winter walk or dressed up for city smart

Sarah Weal

Over the past six years, Adamczewski has built an engaged and loyal customer base. “There is a connection between us and our customers,” she says. “A human connection.” Freight Store never tries to squeeze extra revenue out of customers: “We provide customers with darning yarn for their knitwear,” Adamczewski reveals. “We want that item to last as long as it can. That’s more important to us than selling another jumper.”

We are never just thinking about how to make more money. It’s about doing business for the greater goodAdele Adamczewski

That connection and the shop’s ethos are appreciated by the customers, who during the first lockdown continued to support the business even while the doors were closed. “We had just bought 150 Easter cakes from Italy,” she says. “We get these baked goods every year, but people usually bought them in the shop. We sent out a newsletter and they sold out within three days.”

Adamczewski, 33, set up Freight Store with her mother Helene in 2014. “Mum had her own shop for 14 years but closed it in 2009,” she says. “I trained as an architect but didn’t really enjoy office life and the hierarchy of architectural practices. 

Family first: Adele (right) set up Freight with her mother Helene (left)

Sarah Weal

“We did a pop-up in 2013; we were real greenhorns back then. But we started at the beginning, learned a lot and found some really interesting makers and manufacturers, so we decided to continue our path into retail.”

The business is thriving as a result of its novel approach to retail: in May, Freight Store moved to larger premises. “We love growing and employing people, but we have been careful not to over-expand,” says Adamczewski. “We are never just thinking about how to make more money. It’s about doing business for the greater good.

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