Crafty Rachael creates her own Japanese alter ego

Hannah Zakari, jewellery and gift boutique, Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh.
Hannah Zakari, jewellery and gift boutique, Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh.
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Business is “blooming” for Japanese-inspired designer and retailer Rachael Griffiths.

Owner of Hannah Zakari, an independent jewellery and gift boutique in the Capital, Rachael studied at the former Scottish College of Textiles, before launching her business online in 2004.

“I’ve always been quite crafty and began selling some of the jewellery I was making online,” she says. “In the process of doing that I was meeting other creative people – mainly based abroad – some of whose work I really liked. I asked if I could sell their work in my own online store and it all spiralled from there.”

The popularity of her designs at craft fairs, combined with her ongoing online success, inspired her to invest in “bricks and mortar” in 2010, after she stumbled across “the only kind of shop I would ever want” at 43 Candlemaker Row.

“People often come in and ask for Hannah, but I’m afraid she’s not a real person. I wanted the name of the business to reflect my love of Japan and its culture. Hannah Zakari comes from the Japanese word ‘hanazakari’, which translates as blossoming or blooming.”

Slightly tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the Grassmarket, Rachael feels the location suits her business perfectly, as “it’s not in your face and you have to seek it out”.

While she has a good base of regular customers, as well as tourists who return every year during the festival, many of her visitors still consider the shop to be quite a find. “At Christmas we had people coming in wondering how long we had been open. They don’t realise we have been open for almost eight years, so it’s great that people are still finding us,” she adds.

Rachael prides herself on offering unique hand-crafted pieces that range from acrylic​ ​necklaces, stylish ​stud​ ​earrings and statement jewellery. Those she doesn’t create herself are sourced from small indie designers from across the world.

She also has a selection of affordable art​ ​prints, greetings cards, notebooks, enamel ​pins and embroidered patches, along with the odd cult designer​ ​t-shirt​ and cute temporary​ ​tattoos. “Customers seem to love what we do. I think it is because everything we sell is unique and can’t be found anywhere else in Edinburgh. It’s a great place to explore everything beautiful,” she says.

Hannah Zakari, 43 Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh EH1 2QB,, Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 12noon-5.30pm; Saturday, 11am-5.30pm; Sunday, 12.30pm to 5pm.