Business owner Karon Wallis reveals the inspiration behind her Scarborough shop - Lilly's Treasures

Behind the carefully-crafted chaos of the window displays of Lilly’s Treasures, there are stories that follow its owner’s mantra: Inspire Uplift and Delight.

Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 1:21 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 1:22 pm
Karon Wallis, centre, and Linda Tomczak, Sheila Downing, Daniel le Fey, Eva Langmead and Emma Russell

Karon Wallis and some of the crafters who sell their wares from the shop in St Nicholas Street, Scarborough, talk about their work.

Karon Wallis

A poignant, personal event prompted Karon not just to open her shop but up sticks from Nottingham and settle with her husband, hospital project manager Steve, in Scarborough.

Daniel Le Fey with some of his Sea Witch range

“I suffered a traumatic incident 10 years ago when I went through a stillbirth and nearly died twice.

“On the day of the funeral I said to my husband ‘I need you to take me somewhere that is going to put this day into context, it needs to be lovely’.

“We had never been to Scarborough, he drove me here, we parked in The Crescent, we passed the Palm Court and then looked at that view [from the side of the town hall down to South Bay] and I went ‘Oh my gosh! If I could see that view everyday everything will be okay.”

The couple first bought a holiday home in The Crescent and moved here permanently four years ago.

Emma Russell with a selection of her jewellery

Fifty-five-year-old Karon, who suffers from an autoimmune disease, rented a unit in the Market Vaults to do her craft work, then moved to Bar Street and now St Nicholas Street from where she can enjoy that view every day.

“I feel like I have come home. Scarborough has healed me emotionally and, to a point, physically.”

Karon left school with no qualifications and was 26 before she decided to go back to school – inspired by family pictures of young people wearing mortar boards. She did a degree in criminology, followed by a Masters.

Steve and Karon already had two teenage sons, when they decided to try for another child. It took 12 years for her to fall pregnant for the third time and everything was going well until six months into the pregnancy.

After Daniel was stillborn, Karon was in a dark place. She gave up her 20-year career as a social worker.

She followed the advice of her consultant who told her to “keep moving”.

Her husband bought her two puppies and she started the dream of opening her shop.

“I wanted to show people you can turn things into a positive and wanted to give others a platform – people who are making things from their kitchens and coffee tables.”

The St Nicholas Street shop, a showcase for 20 crafters, was opened three weeks before the first pandemic lockdown in March last year. The name Lilly’s is a tribute to both her grandmothers – Elizabeth and Lily, who were both known as Lily. “And because Lily means passion, rebirth and beauty.”

It is, to Karon, more than a shop.

“The shop is for browsers, lookers and determined shoppers. I have a lady who comes from Hull once a week, sometimes she buys something, other times she comes in for a chat.

“If people come in and say it is really pretty, it has made me feel better, then my job is done.”

She runs workshops and once a month hosts a session for free for Disablement Action Group (DAG).

Sheila Downing

Sheila makes mosaics – featuring curvy mermaids and seascapes – under the title Crafty Alfredo, named after one of her two lurchers. Doris is the second of her two rescue dogs.

She works in her ‘she shed’ in the garden of her home in Staxton. The mermaids are inspired by her love of sea swimming which she does up to three times a week in Filey.

She took voluntary redundancy from her job as an administrator at Scarborough Fire Station to work on her business full time.

“I had done stained glass work, went on a few courses and found mosaic was my thing.”

She also sells her crafts from the Art Room in Falsgrave and online.

Daniel Le Fey

Daniel lives in Eastborough and makes eco-products including candles, room sprays, jewellery and crystals for his Sea Witch range.

“It is really a nice vibe in Karon’s shop and the way she blends it all in is wonderful.”

He also has an online outlet and is working on his Christmas lines.

Emma Russell

Emma is a neurological occupational therapist working at Scarborough and Bridlington hospitals.

She works with those with neurological conditions and stroke patients. “Rehabilitation is about getting people to get back to doing things they used to do before. The main thing is to get them home to continue rehab there.”

Emma works from her breakfast bar and started making jewellery with modelling clay during the first pandemic lockdown.

“I became addicted very quickly. People said you should sell them and I said no-one will want them ... and he we are.

“It made me feel good – that bit of positivity.”

Her designs – sunflowers, poppies, starbursts , flamingos, rainbows, inspired by family and friends – are also sold via social media and through companies who commission Emma.

Linda Tomczak

Bunting and cushions are Linda’s forte. She is a self-confessed ‘fabric-aholic’.

She took up her needle in earnest seven years ago when she retired from Raflatac.

“My husband said ‘what are you going to do?’ I love sewing and started making bunting for friends and family – I am doing what I love.”

Linda also makes cushions to match the bunting and sells her work at craft fairs.

Eva Langmead

Eva says God inspired her applique and embroidery work. “I have always had a needle in my hand but I did not know what direction to go in until I

became a Christian.

“God directed me into hand sewing.”

Eva belongs to the Scarborough Christian Fellowship.

“I was in my 40s and felt there had to be something more to life than I was experiencing. My husband and children were going to church and I needed to know what they believed in.”

Eva lives in Scarborough with her husband Nick. She makes cushions for the shop.

Lilly’s Treasures is packed to the rafters with hand-made items – from tea trays to earrings, candles to cushions and bunting to brooches.

The basement houses a cornucopia of Christmas crafts.

Karon also has a Facebook page that keeps customers up to date with events and the shop.