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‘My passion is wanting to help others’ - Book shop owner Jules Button on keeping her community going

PUBLISHED: 06:30 25 July 2020

Jules Button, of the Woodbridge Emporium  Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Jules Button, of the Woodbridge Emporium Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Charlotte Bond

Jules Button is a familiar face in Woodbridge, her brightly coloured bookshop having become a key part of the town’s Thoroughfare shopping area since it opened.

The Woodbridge Emporium is a colourful part of the town  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDThe Woodbridge Emporium is a colourful part of the town Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Whether it was by providing a plethora of universes to escape to in her books or a quiet moment through her tea, Jules’ work became more important than ever during lockdown.

While the physical shop was forced to shut, behind the scenes Jules was busier than ever.

“I was working harder, and in a different way,” explains Jules.

“Obviously all my staff had to stop coming in.

The shop also sells a range of teas  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDThe shop also sells a range of teas Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

“The first two days of lockdown I think I had gone into shock.

“In the middle of the night about three o’clock I just woke up and thought, when we do open I need to have a business still.

“How am I going to have something to reopen?

“I just thought I am going to have to reinvent a little bit what we do.”

Jules Button says her passion is helping others  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDJules Button says her passion is helping others Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Jules quickly got her website revamped, so that she could keep up with other online merchants.

“My main problem was that with everyone at home, they were ordering online and so my main competitor is Amazon,” said Jules.

However, helping keep her business going was not enough for Jules, who then sought to help her community as much as possible.

“I wanted people to have a laugh in lockdown,” said in Jules.

The Woodbridge Emporium  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDThe Woodbridge Emporium Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Jules decided to do live videos from the shop sharing songs and book reviews with those who tuned in.

“People started to come online and just want to be part of it,” said Jules.

“Several people who started following us were suffering with depression and loneliness and they would look forward to it.

“I would try and reach out to them in particular.”

Jules Button, community leader who runs Woodbridge Emporium book shop  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDJules Button, community leader who runs Woodbridge Emporium book shop Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Book hugs were another important part of Jules’ lockdown work and saw her send out books to NHS staff and key workers as well as the vulnerable, all for free.

“I ended up working from 8am until 9pm,” said Jules.

“The shop became a picking and packing area.”

With so much on her plate what is it that motivates Jules and inspires people to keep going?

Self care and well being is incredibly important for Jules Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDSelf care and well being is incredibly important for Jules Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

“It’s helping people,” said Jules.

“That’s my goal.”

One of those who inspired Jules when she was younger was Anita Roddick from the Body Shop.

“Years ago I met her and thought she was a real powerful force and very positive,” said Jules.

Jules Button, community leader who runs Woodbridge Emporium book shop  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDJules Button, community leader who runs Woodbridge Emporium book shop Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

“She knew what she wanted to do and what she wanted to bring into the world.

“She knew she wanted to help people.

“I always thought, yeah, I want to be able to help people as well.”

Jules also takes much of her inspiration from closer to home as well.

Jules Button, community leader who runs Woodbridge Emporium book shop  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDJules Button, community leader who runs Woodbridge Emporium book shop Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

“I’ve got twin daughters and they have always been my inspiration because I have been their sole parent,” said Jules

“I’ve always had to be mum, dad and provider for them.

“When things look like they are getting tough in your life you have got to reinvent it to be able to carry on earning or carry on living and providing things for them.

“They’ve been a very big force behind me and they have always been very supportive.

Jules Button, community leader who runs Woodbridge Emporium book shop  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDJules Button, community leader who runs Woodbridge Emporium book shop Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

“Now they are older, it’s now enabling me to move forward with my passions.

“My passions are wanting to help other people and support them in a safe space.”

It was her experiences helping others through weeks of lockdown as well as her passion to help others that has led Jules to look at other ways in which she can make a difference.

“One of the things it made me realise with everything was how people’s mental health was affected,” said Jules.

Jules Button, community leader who runs Woodbridge Emporium book shop  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDJules Button, community leader who runs Woodbridge Emporium book shop Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

“I have worked in that area before the book shop and I have got family who have been affected by depression and mental health issues.”

Jules has previously worked in hypnotherapy and has been studying it again during lockdown so that she can use it once more.

She is planning to reopen her wellness clinic, alongside her bookshop, to help people locally.

“I want to be more of a drop-in centre so people feel safe,” said Jules.

Jules Button, community leader who runs Woodbridge Emporium book shop  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDJules Button, community leader who runs Woodbridge Emporium book shop Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Looking to the future Jules also has other goals as she looks to ensure a balance in her life.

“I want to save up and get a narrow boat,” said Jules.

“I want to spent to spent two years cruising the internal waterways and canals.

“That’s my goal.

“I will have to see who will come and be a hired hand.”


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