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SHOP TALK family photography & weddings

Stuart, Ben, and Harriett Chamberlain of Ocean Annie’s


Leigh, Ashby, and Ryan Biggs of The Island Attic

Two Couples in Scarborough Faire Make Business a Family Affair

252-256-3144 • your adventure begins. Where the road ends,

Photos by K. Wilkins Photography Story by Cathy Baldwin


Ryan Biggs and his wife

Leigh found out she was pregnant, they had a serious

conversation about finances. “Leigh was pregnant and quit her job,” says

Ryan. “We thought, do you want to go back to work full time and send the baby off to day care, or do you want to use the money we have in the bank to start up a store with a container from Bali? It really sealed the deal with us being able to have our own business… being able to have her here.”

Leigh and Ryan opened The Island Attic in Duck’s

Scarborough Faire around Easter of this year with their infant daughter Ashby in tow. Now at seven months old, Ashby goes to work with her folks every day.

Just north of Corolla, where the paved road ends, lies 12 miles of Outer Banks shoreline so remote that it is only accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicles. Nothing but unspoiled beaches, cool breezes, secluded beach cottages, and wild Spanish mustangs.

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“Customers love her,” says Leigh. “She’s happy to see people when they’re in the shop. She’s our greeter and our model—and she’s the boss!”

Just a few steps away, the young couple who own

Ocean Annie’s, Stuart and Harriett Chamberlain, are doing the same thing. Baby Ben, now a toddling one- year-old, comes to work every day with his parents.

“We have a lot of repeat guests, so they’ve

seen me pregnant and then Ben growing up,” says Harriett.

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FALL 2013

Ben’s a busy little guy, walking, touching and exploring everything in their shop. “Ben started walking at nine months,” laughs Harriett,3 “in a pottery shop where everything is breakable!”

Handling feedings, meltdowns and dirty

diapers are all a little bit tricky. “It’s awkward when I’m changing a diaper, but people are really understanding,” says Harriett.

And then there’s nap time. Both families have

figured out their own systems for getting in the precious napping hours. “I put up a sign when he’s napping that says, Baby Ben is sleeping. Please don’t ring the wind chimes!” says Harriett. “Most people don’t believe me. They think I just don’t want them to ring the chimes! I say: ‘No, there really is a baby!’ and I usually show them the camera.”

Says Leigh, “Naps are easy with Ashby. She just sleeps right next to me in her carrier. It’s really cute, people just check her out.”

The sleeping hours are like gold for their parents. “When she sleeps I try to see how much I can get done,” says Leigh.

“If you weren’t good at multi-tasking before, you

are now,” says Harriett. It’s not all work for babies Ashby and Ben. Says

Leigh, “In retail there’s so much down-time, so when there’s no one in the store I get down on the floor with her and just read and sing and dance. I definitely dance a lot more now that I have a baby.”

For the Biggs and the Chamberlains it’s all a balancing act, but these parents and business owners wouldn’t have it any other way. “We are a family-run small business!” says Leigh.

“The best part is just being able to hang out with her and not miss it,” says Leigh.

Ryan agrees, “We’re definitely not missing any moments!” NEWS, EVENTS, VIDEO & MORE NORTHBEACHSUN.COM 33

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