How it all started
The concept of Pineapple Barn was first born in August 2017, over a cup of tea. Since then the journey of putting together an online shop has been for me the coming together of two of my greatest loves - shopping and gifting!
A journey which has been made all the more easier and enjoyable with the collaboration with some wonderful and talented friends who have provided photography, models, houses, invaluable market research and even some products for my website (you all know who you are!). None of which would have happened without the ongoing support from my husband, children and ever so patient labrador!
Pineapples are a symbol of hospitality. welcome, friendship and status and have a fascinating history. For me, the pineapple represents sweetness, sunshine, holidays and happiness! So what better name for a lifestyle gift boutique?
The history of the pineapple
Back in colonial times, the pineapple was the prized jewel for any form of home entertaining. Then considered a rare and exotic fruit and the height of extravagance, people would place pineapples on their dining tables as a symbol of welcome and status. So sought after, pineapples would sometimes be rented by the day for decoration purposes and then later sold to more affluent clients for personal consumption.
In the early American colonies, legend also tells of sea captains, who sailed to the Caribbean Islands, whose families would spear pineapples to their iron gateposts to show and celebrate the safe return of the captain and crew and to welcome friends and neighbours into their homes.
The pineapple first made its appearance in Europe after its discovery in Guadaloupe by Christopher Columbus in 1493. In a time when fresh fruit was a rare item, the New World's pineapple soon became a celebrity in its own right and remained an uncommon and coveted commodity that only could be afforded by the country's rich and wealthy.
Did you know that the first pineapple grown in the England was in Dorney Court, Buckinghamshire? It was here that King Charles II was given the first pineapple by his royal gardener, John Rose, as depicted in the 1675 painting by Hendrik Danckerts (below). This therefore might explain why Dorney has a pub called The Pineapple.
The enduring icon of the colonial pineapple lives on in the UK today, with its attractive, elegant form having become a favoured motif for architecture, home decoration, interiors, fashion and product design.
Our number one aim at Pineapple Barn is quality. It's quite basic really, a good quality product should mean a happy customer and a bad quality product means no customer at all, or at least no repeat business. Our carefully handpicked range of gifts are designed to not only represent the best qualities of the pineapple (friendship and hospitality) but to also bring a little sunshine to your day, hopefully making you think of holidays, travel and exotic places. The brighter, the happier, the better!
A bit about me, founder of Pineapple Barn
After studying languages at Exeter, my career and travels took me to Chile where I lived for 6 years and met my husband and had our first child. We moved from Chile to London in 2002 and it wasn't until our 3rd boy reached 3 years old and footballs were endlessly being kicked into our long suffering neighbours' garden that we decided to make a move to the country.
We now live in sunny Hampshire, 10 minutes walk from the sea and on the edge of the beautiful New Forest National Park. With the forest, beach and sea all on our doorstep, and an easy commute to London, there are not too many other places in the world I would rather live.
As a mother of 4, life is pretty busy most of the time. When not working, I seem to spend most my time as mum taxi and probably drinking far too much coffee and the odd glass of wine!
Thanks for the taking the time to drop in. I do hope you like our products as much as I do!
Founder of Pineapple Barn