"Over two years ago I got together with a small group of women and we decided to 'open a cafe/bookshop' in Sheffield city centre! Six months later the red tape and crazy rent and rates had defeated us but I remained focussed and determined to find an alternative way of becoming an independent bookseller in Sheffield.
"Having tested public reaction at local markets (and finding it very enthusiastic) I took on a small unit within a 'shopping emporium' called Birds Yard in Sheffield city centre. This was a way for local businesses to sell their products without the massive overheads of a shop. Birds Yard opened in December 2012 and is still going strong - although the future is not secure.
"My 'product' is the non-mainstream book - beautifully illustrated editions, many hardbacks but at an affordable price - books to cherish, books you wouldn't know you wanted until you saw them on my shelves.
"Since opening at Birds Yard I have also rented a small unit at the Nichols Building in Sheffield. The Nichols building sells largely vintage furniture, artifacts and clothing - as well as my new books, I don't generally sell children's books.
"I have also expanded to Handpicked Hall (no relation) Leeds - another centre for independent businesses to 'get started' and to test out whether there is a market for their product.'Handpicking' the books is what I enjoy most and seeing people's pleasure on discovering books that they may not have found themselves."
You can find Handpicked Books at http://handpickedbookssheffield.tumblr.com/