Fond memories have been shared about two Ealing gift shops that have closed permanently after opening 18 years ago.
Darch and Duff, which operated two stores in Northfields, Ealing, shut on Saturday (January 30) after nearly two decades in Northfield Avenue.
Shop owners Helen Trevisiol-Duff and Mary Darch have moved on after deciding they did not see the business having a future - mostly due to the explosion of internet shopping.
The pair met when they were doing a fashion and textiles degree in Cheltenham together and decided to merge their skills when a store became available in 1998.
A second store, specialising in children's items, was opened on the same street in 2001 by the duo.
A former consultant for the likes of River Island and Marks & Spencer, Ms Trevisiol-Duff, said: "Over a coffee one morning the shop came up and we both went into it together.
"We came with a fashion and design angle, it was a different approach and we are also both artists, we both felt we could bring something unique."
Online retailers doing the damage
Ms Trevisiol-Duff, who has lived in Hanwell, Ealing, for 22 years, added that soon after the store opened the street began to flourish with independent businesses.
But she said in recent years those stores began to close, and that the emergence of sites like Amazon were detrimental to their business.
On some occasions people would even come into the store, view a product and then buy it on their phone's in the store online.
The former NHS volunteer will now focus on her career as a professional artist.
Lady Lorraine Neale, who has lived in Elers Road, Northfields, since 1977, described the opening of Darch and Duff as a "breath of fresh air."
She said: "When they (Darch and Duff) came about it was a breath of fresh air because there was nothing remotely like that.
"I have seen a lot of shops come and go but Darch and Duff really was wonderful and unique."
Co-owner Mrs Darch, who has lived in Boston Manor for 30 years, spent the years before the stores opening travelling the world and manufacturing labels, but decided she wanted a business that would suit her role as a mum-of-two.
She said: "Both of us are creative and we had a vision of a shop that was going to be arty and a bit more unique, a shop customers would go in and would want to stay there.
"We went into it not knowing what to expect but very quickly we realised what we had created with the public - people enjoyed the experience and we enjoyed the whole customer experience."
Mrs Darch, who together with Ms Trevisiol-Duff has employed more than 40 people since the stores opening, will now focus on her china business selling the likes of teapots and plates.
Customer Robert White, who moved to Graham Avenue, Ealing, adjoining Northfield Avenue, eight years ago, said he will miss passing the shop's news designs every week.
The chartered surveyor added: "It is always decorated differently each week and they are so well organised - that is for me a really profound thing."