Couple closing art gallery to sell house and go online
PUBLISHED: 17:20 05 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:58 06 August 2019
A husband and wife team are closing a North Norfolk gallery selling 'fun, colourful, coastal art,' to expand the business online.
Andrew and Sarah Ruffhead, who run the Fish and Ships gallery from their brick and flint cottage in Burnham Market, are selling their home for £710,000. But they are keeping the business going - aiming to do more online as well as increasing the distribution in outlets both in Norfolk and the rest of the UK as well as in Spain.
They intend to downsize to a smaller house locally and spend more time in their second home in Andalucia.
They've just put their three bedroom cottage 'Seashell' on the market with property agents Sowerbys.
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Mrs Ruffhead, who met her artist husband at art college, and now works in the business doing the administration and orders, said: "We want to upgrade our website and do better SEO, Andrew will still do commissions and we want to sell in more outlets. We currently are stocked in about 12 places such as at Holkham, the Wiveton Farm Cafe, one place in the Cotswolds and four in Spain and we want to double this.
"I do think people tend to shop online now; I myself do 90% of my own shopping online but do shop in the village for food. People tend to buy fun, colourful coastal art from us, they want a souvenir to remind them of the wonderful time they've had in North Norfolk."
She said much of the business was from second home owners with bespoke, illustrated maps showing people's own favourite places in the area being popular as well as artwork depicting lobsters and crabs. Mr Ruffhead is currently working on a private commission using 80 handmade, painted fish.
"It's been a very profitable business and this isn't for sale, we are selling the house which comes with what we currently use as the studio and gallery but which could be an extra bedroom or a home office," Mrs Ruffhead added.
The couple opened Fish and Ships 12 years ago, converting a former garage into the gallery.
Fish and Ships is renowned for its whales, prawns and lobsters made from wood found on local beaches.